The Nature of the Education Offered to Students


As a Catholic university, Notre Dame is inspired by the spirit of Christ to create an authentic community dedicated to the truth, the dignity of the human person, and the message of Christ. As Ex corde Ecclesiae articulates, when inspired in this way, “the community is animated by a spirit of freedom and charity; it is characterized by mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and protection of the rights of individuals. It assists each of its members to achieve wholeness as human persons; in turn, everyone in the community helps in promoting unity, and each one, according to his or her role and capacity, contributes to decisions which affect the community, and also towards maintaining and strengthening the distinctive Catholic character of the Institution.”

This understanding of Catholic education—that the whole person must be educated—has long been embraced by the Congregation of Holy Cross. From the founding of the order, Father Moreau exhorted his educators to “place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for heaven.”


Respecting both the Catholic tradition and the University’s own roots, the Mission Statement articulates that Notre Dame endeavors to be “an environment of teaching and learning that fosters the development in its students of those disciplined habits of mind, body, and spirit that characterize educated, skilled, and free human beings.”

The University of Notre Dame continues to carry out its educational mission in the spirit of Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., by fostering intellectual, moral, and spiritual growth in its students, both those who are Catholic and those of other faiths. As part of its Catholic mission, Notre Dame strives for inclusion of all members of its community, and works to create an environment of mutual respect.