"Women's colleges create the atmosphere that empowers women and inspires leadership," Sister Kathleen Feeley wrote in a letter to the editor last September. As president of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland for the past 21 years, Sister Kathleen has been in the forefront of making this statement a reality.
On Saturday, Sister Kathleen presided over her last crop of graduates. She was also the commencement speaker for the 275 students who receive diplomas from the small liberal arts college in Homeland. The college she leaves behind is remarkably strong and vibrant even as the number of women's colleges continues to shrink.
Notre Dame is one of only 93 colleges in the United States programmed primarily for women. During the Feeley era, major new buildings and new courses have made the school's education more relevant to today's women. The latest is the Women's Institute, a program designed to help women develop their full potential. Another major success has been the Weekend College, which Sister Kathleen started in 1975 and which has grown in popularity ever since as an alternative to night school for employed women and men seeking undergraduate degrees. And on weekdays, the same area of the school is turned into the Renaissance Institute, where courses are offered for individuals ages 55 and older.