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placeholder  September 7, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
College Information Guide

University of Notre Dame offers California initiative

Gregory Crawford

Don't look to the skies for a Golden Dome, but the University of Notre Dame is making its presence known in the Bay Area.

The university has tasked Gregory Crawford, vice president and associate provost, with establishing a base for the university in California.

With 8,000 alumni in California — about 3,500 in the San Francisco Bay Area — the university, with its main campus near South Bend, Indiana, is well-known. Think Knute Rockne and "Rudy," if you will, but be prepared to go long.

Crawford, who served as the dean of the College of Science for seven years, has been a leader in the Tech Forum, formed in 2009, which brings together entrepreneurs and innovators among the Notre Dame alumni in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the East Bay.

The university has identified six areas and goals for its physical presence in California.

Admissions is a key area, Crawford said, with many California high schools ranked among the best in the nation. The state of Illinois provides the largest number of students to the university; California is second.

California students bring with them a taste from-the-cradle of innovation that helps set them apart from their counterparts from other states.

"They bring an aspect to campus," he said, "an innovative, entrepreneurial mindset."

Development staff members are in place in Southern California and are to be hired in Northern California.

The university wants to improve its career services in the Bay Area, with an emphasis on internships and job placement. Crawford said he has met with leaders in the field "from the Fortune 500 to start-ups" and that Notre Dame now has more than 100 placements in the Bay Area.

While Notre Dame students can typically spend a semester abroad or in Washington, DC, they will soon be able to spend a semester in Silicon Valley.

Among the most ambitious projects will be master's degree offerings, which could start as early as fall 2016. Programs in entrepreneurship, patent law and data analytics would be rolled out, one per year.

"Notre Dame wants to be like (founder) Father Sorin said, a force for good in the world," Crawford said. One way the university seeks to do that is through bringing its research to California companies, and seeking more opportunities for industry-sponsored research.

Crawford is no stranger to the Bay Area. "Two decades ago, I started my career at Xerox Park," he said, a Palo Alto research center. Academic opportunities took him to Brown University and to the University of Notre Dame.

The university is looking to lease space, most likely between Palo Alto and San Francisco, this fall.

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