Notre Dame de Namur University of Belmont representatives announced Thursday that they are working on the final plans for possible classes in Tracy this fall.
The announcement was made at a dinner for university administrators and trustees hosted by the Tracy Consortium for Higher Education at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.
The NDNU vice president for enrollment management, Jason Murray, announced during the dinner that the university board of trustees was expected to review a proposal for fall classes in Tracy.
“We still have a couple steps on our side to go through. We have an approval process with our board, and we have a little bit of finishing touches to put on a proposal,” Murray said. “But our plan, what we are thinking at this point, is that we are going to launch the intensive business completion program — that’s bachelor’s completion — and the MBA program here in the fall.”
Consortium founder Roger Birdsall invited the NDNU leaders to have dinner with his board members and local political leaders to show that the college enjoyed communitywide support.
“We want a university. We want a high-quality university. We want one with a proven track record. And we also want one that has the same beliefs and mission that we want in the Valley,” Birdsall said. “I feel we have found one. They are sitting here with us.”
The university president, Dr. Judith Maxwell Greig, and her leadership team have been meeting quietly with the city staff since early 2014 to discuss plans to expand here. Grieg told the consortium that a partnership with the city of Tracy made sense on several fronts.
“You want the youth in this community to get a good, solid education. Thinking skills, analytic skills, creativity. All the underlying skills that you need to be a well-educated person,” Grieg said. “You want them to be good citizens. Good people working for the good of humanity. It feels like that’s a good fit, what we’ve heard so far.”
Grieg said that the need in Tracy for higher education supported the university’s goals.
“We’re the first college authorized to grant a baccalaureate degree to women. So our mission has always been about providing education for people who might not have other opportunities,” she said. “Seventy two percent of the students in our freshman class are the first in their family to go to college.”
Murray said university representatives had toured potential classroom space at the Tracy Transit Station at the Downtown Plaza on Sixth Street on Thursday.
“I think we’re feeling pretty confident that that’s the direction we’re going to go,” he said.
Birdsall said he was glad the university was working hard to bring higher education to Tracy, and he encouraged citizens to attend a play put on by the NDMU drama department at the Grand on March 14. He said that community support of the production of “Once on this Island” would prove to the university that Tracy is the right place for a university.
Tickets are $15-$18 and are available at the Grand Theatre box office, 715 Central Ave., or online at www.atthegrand.org.