Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

Hesburgh makes the announcement; ND and SMC ‘going separate ways’

The University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College officially announced yesterday that “it is not possible” to accomplish complete unification at this time.”

The joint statement released by Sr. Olivette Whalen, C.S.C., chairman of the SMC Board of Trustees and Edmund A. Stephan, Chairman of the ND trustees cited financial and administrative problems as the principle obstacles to the scheduled merger.

The present arrangements will continue through next semester. All changes will be effective Sept. 1972.

Included in the joint statement was the announcement that ND would begin to admit female undergraduate students for the 1972-73 school year.

Observer from Dec. 1, 1971. Observer from Dec. 1, 1971.

“Since we began trying to be one institution, we have made enormous progress in things we do together. We have built a great number of bridges that we hope to keep moving,” Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame, said in a press conference immediately after the statement was released.

“For the time being,” he continued, “we are going our separate ways, going many ways together, and hoping to deepen this unification, which I seriously believe will someday come to pass.”

250 female undergrads will probably be admitted directly to Notre Dame next year, Hesburgh said, but he added that as many as 400 women might be admitted.

The president estimated that over a four-year period the female undergrad enrollment would stabilize at 1,000 with no increase in the size of the student body.

All the women will be housed on-campus in a single dorm, which has not yet been selected. Approximately 150 of the predicted 250 places will be given to incoming freshmen.

The decision to admit women directly to ND was made independent of the merger postponement.

“We had planned to do this in any case because we are trying to build up to a total of 2,500 women students counting St. Mary’s and our own,” Hesburgh said.

Because of female student interests, Hesburgh predicted that eventually the combined female student bodies would make the College of Arts and Letters nearly 50 percent female.

Major changes in the financial arrangements between the two schools were also revealed. Both institutions will now operate on a “pay as you go basis” for all unified operations. This includes the co-es class program, which will be continued.

Even though students will continue to pay tuitions directly to the college of university to which they were admitted, each school will charge the other an agreed-upon rate for the co-ex credit hours, Hesburgh announced.

Continuation of administrative and academic unifications which have already been initiated will be evaluated individually by the administrations of both school based on recommendations of the inter-institutional teams.