Mary Pat Seurkamp will retire as president of the College of Notre Dame after the 2011-2012 academic year, she announced Monday in a letter to the college's board of trustees.
"Leadership requires us to build a strong foundation for the next generation of leaders," wrote Seurkamp, who will retire after her 15th year as president. "I certainly inherited an institution with a rich history, fine academic programs and a stellar reputation upon which we were able to lead Notre Dame to the next level of distinction. I trust I leave to the next president core strengths from which new transformational steps will be taken."
Under her leadership, the College of Notre Dame of Maryland established its first doctoral program, in education, launched a college of pharmacy and beefed up undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
In recognition of its evolution from an all-women's liberal arts college to a more complex institution, Notre Dame announced in November that its name will change to Notre Dame of Maryland University. The change will take effect Sept. 9.
Notre Dame officials praised Seurkamp as a transformative leader. "Today is bittersweet for all of us at College of Notre Dame," said Patricia J. Mitchell, a 1969 graduate and chair of the board of trustees. "After nearly 15 years, Mary Pat's mark is indelible and her accomplishments remarkable."
Seurkamp was the first permanent layperson to lead the Catholic college and, as one of the longest-tenured college presidents in the state, steered a record $34 million fundraising campaign.
The college has begun a national search for her replacement, led by U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley, a trustee and Notre Dame graduate. Notre Dame hopes to choose its next leader by the spring of 2012 and have the new president start work by July 2012.