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The College of Notre Dame of Maryland was the first Catholic women's college in the country to award the four-year baccalaureate degree. The School Sisters of Notre Dame were pioneers in insisting that women be educated at a time when few had opportunities, particularly for college-level instruction.
Although physical education was always a part of the curriculum, the construction of Leclerc Hall, first known as the Gymnasium building, demonstrated a commitment to athletics and exercise year-round. The pool was central in this effort.
At the laying of the cornerstone, Reverend Risacker highlighted the significance of the building to the college's mission: "The work which will take place here will be a spiritual work, even though it be a gymnasium. And that is true, dear people, because the Sisters of Notre Dame, realizing, as all good educators realize, the old adage or the old saying 'mens sana en corpore sano,' that education consists in putting a well-developed and healthy mind into a well-developed and healthy body."
The LeClerc pool is used for swimming instruction of students in the Women's College, noncredit swimming and exercise courses in programs like the Renaissance Institute and Camp Notre Dame, as part of the fitness/recreational facilities for students and paying members, and for practice and some meets of the Notre Dame Gators NCAA Division III swim team (note: the pool was not built to NCAA standards).
Engelmeyer, Bridget Marie, Fred Shoken, and George Andreve. College of Notre Dame of Maryland. National Register of Historic Places nomination form. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1980.