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Sydney campus plan for Perth Catholic university

One of Australia's fastest-growing universities, the privately owned Catholic University of Notre Dame, is considering an offer from the Sydney Archdiocese to provide a mothballed inner city site for a east coast campus.

Notre Dame vice-chancellor Peter Tannock (pictured) told the Australian Financial Review that the offer had come directly from Cardinal George Pell, who has publicly stated his ambition to increase the reach of the Church's educational activities.

Dr Tannock said the plan was for the university to take over the old St Benedict's school site in inner-city Chippendale, near Sydney University and Central station.

"About a year ago, we were looking at establishing a study centre in Sydney because we recognise that for many of our students that's where the jobs are," Dr Tannock said.

"Cardinal Pell said he was happy with the study centre idea but [asked] why not think about developing a campus to cater for students already in Sydney as well as our own?" Dr Tannock said.

Dr Tannock said he was anxious not to "drag out the process" and expects to have made a decision about Cardinal Pell's proposal by June or July, after consultations with Notre Dame's parent institution in the US.

Notre Dame Australia started enrolling undergraduates in 1994, and currently has almost 4000 students. It is the second private university to be set up in Australia, after Bond on Queensland's Gold Coast. It has a strong Catholic focus and teaches theology as a mainstream course.

Catholic university plan for Sydney (Australian Financial Review 3/5/04 - payment required)

Education reform spells windfall for Notre Dame (CathNews 10/12/03)
Notre Dame University
St Benedict's Broadway
Conversation: Fr Terry Purcell, custodian of our oldest parish church - 'Cardinal told me to go back to school ...' (Catholic Weekly 2/5/04)

4 May 2004