The University of Notre Dame provides a distinctive voice in higher education that is at once rigorously intellectual, unapologetically moral in orientation, and firmly embracing of a service ethos. Founded in 1842 by a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Notre Dame is an independent, national Catholic research university located adjacent to the city of South Bend, Indiana, in a metropolitan area of more than 300,000 residents approximately 90 miles east of Chicago.
Admission to the University is highly competitive, with nearly six applicants for each freshman class position. Seventy percent of incoming freshmen are in the top 5 percent of their high school graduating classes. The University’s minority student population has more than tripled in the past 20 years to some 23 percent, and women, first admitted to undergraduate studies at Notre Dame in 1972, now account for 48 percent of undergraduate and overall enrollment.
The University is organized into four undergraduate colleges — Arts and Letters, Science, Engineering, and the Mendoza College of Business — the School of Architecture, the Law School, the Graduate School, 14 major research institutes, two dozen centers and special programs, and the University Library system. Enrollment for the 2012-13 academic year was 12,126 students overall and 8,475 undergraduates.