Historical Overview & Heritage

Historical Overview

Notre Dame University - Louaize (NDU) was founded in 1987 by the Maronite Order of the Holy Virgin Mary.

NDU first came into being under the name of Louaize Center for Higher Education (LCHE) in 1978. LCHE was a joint venture between Beirut University College (BUC), now Lebanese American University (LAU) and the Maronite Order of the Holy Virgin Mary. LCHE’s first Director from 1978 to 1984 was the current Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi. Then after, Abbot Antoine Sfeir was appointed as Director of LCHE from 1984 to 1987.

Later, inspired by a deep apostolic concern and guided by the needs of the community, the Order decided to start a new chapter in its history by founding an independent university. The legal finalization of this project was the promulgation by the President of The Lebanese Republic of the decree number 4116 on August 14, 1987, granting the Order the right to operate an independent university. Thus, NDU was born, the only Maronite Catholic university adopting the American system of higher education, not only in Lebanon but also in the entire Middle East. Three years later, in June, 1991, the University awarded its first bachelor degree to seventy-two graduates.

Along the lines set by the Vatican II Council, the Order decided to call on prominent persons from the Lebanese society to oversee the operations of the University. Consequently, a Board of Trustees was established to supervise the academic and administrative operations and to help in the planning and development of the University.|

In 1990, NDU established an Off Campus Program in North Lebanon, which in 1999 moved to a new campus located in Barsa, Koura, now known as North Lebanon Campus (NLC). The campus lies on a piece of land of 50,000 square meters donated by the village of Barsa. The first building of the Barsa Campus, totaling 10,000 square meters of floor space, was completed in June 1999.

In April 1994, NDU established the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, and on October 5, 1996, the Lebanese Government issued decree 9278 granting the official recognition of the programs that lead to the Bachelor of Architecture and the Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. In Spring 2000, NDU established the Faculty of Architecture, Art and Design. Accordingly, the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture was named the Faculty of Engineering. Moreover, realizing the need to serve the community, the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences was established in 2008. In 2013 the Faculty of Political Sciences, Public Administration, and Diplomacy became the Faculty of Law and Political Science.

After establishing itself as one of the leading universities in Lebanon, NDU’s administration, guided by the needs of the Shouf region and neighboring communities, decided to start a new chapter in its history by founding a new campus in Deir El-Kamar within the Shouf district. The proposal was approved by the Board of Trustees in its meeting of March 8, 2001. The Shouf Campus was officially inaugurated on October 26, 2001.

The foundation stone for the new campus in Zouk Mikael was laid on November 19, 1994. NDU’s current real estate holdings amount to 146,550 Square Meters and will grow significantly with the completion of new campus facilities.  True to its commitment of carrying out its mission, NDU’s community celebrated the University’s 20th Anniversary in 2007. In 2012 NDU celebrated the 25 Jubilee. This anniversary has provided a unique opportunity for NDU to reflect on its past and to look forward to the road ahead.


The University’s heritage and identity are traceable to roots in the Lebanese Synod which took place in the Monastery of Our Lady of Louaize in 1739, the motherhouse of the Maronite Order of the Holy Virgin Mary and the sponsoring society of NDU.

This Synod encouraged the mission of education within the Christian Maronite ethos that believed in Education for all. Accordingly, the Order began to spread education in Lebanon and established schools in many parts of the country.
Capitalizing on its being Catholic in spirit and Maronite in tradition and focusing on the Synod’s mission and directives, NDU as such has always sought to play its appropriate role in the Middle East.

As a Catholic university, NDU promotes the dynamic discussion of religious ideas. This dialogue strives to include the myriad voices of the Catholic tradition, past and present, as well as the voices of faculty, staff and students of all backgrounds. Such a Catholic undertaking helps the University community understand and celebrate the differences among the various voices, identify what they have in common and engage them in dialogue with the Catholic tradition.

Also, as a Catholic university, NDU is inspired by the Christian message of love of God and love of neighbor. Its administrators, faculty, staff, and students dedicate themselves to the pursuit of academic excellence in an environment of respect, care, dialogue and justice. In addition, NDU is a community which seeks to develop the love of truth and the desire to integrate and affirm the harmony between faith and reason. The University has synthesized the search for truth by offering curricula rooted in the arts and sciences guided by the University’s spiritual and Catholic heritage.  Students, at NDU, enjoy a transparent and understanding relation with their professors. It is this unique environment that helps professors draw out their students’ potentials and enhance their talents.

Drawing on these traditions, NDU seeks to endorse a Catholic presence through its student services, campus ministry, course curriculum and administration, and continues to dwell on how this Catholic heritage brings meaning to its faculty, staff, students and the entire NDU community

Presidents of Notre Dame University-Louaize

Name of the President


Abbot Boutros Tarabay

1987 - 1993

Bishop Francois Eid

1993 - 1999

Abbot Boutros Tarabay

1999 - 2005

Father Walid Moussa

2005 - Present