The Congregation of Holy Cross (Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters) has been involved in education here since its first arrival 161 years ago. The first Holy Cross religious to die here, in 1855, was a teacher, Brother Benedict Fitzpotrick, C.S.C. sent by Fr. Sorin from America to join the first group.
The work of serving the scattered Christian community in this part of Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Arakan in Burma, always had education of the children as an integral part . Mission schools, at the primary and later at high school level, taken or established by the Holy Cross Brothers and Sisters, were open to all children of all religious faiths, a work which continues until today.
In 1949 Notre Dame College for boys and in 1950 Holy Cross College for girls were opened in Dhaka. This brought Holy Cross education to the intermediate level, between high school and degree studies. The Holy Cross Brothers have three like colleges now, two in Dhaka, and one in Dinajpur. In this context significant interaction can be found among all religious faiths and traditions of Bangladesh.
We are now responding to urging for many years and from many quarters to begin a university in this Holy Cross tradition of academic excellence, value education, discipline and formation. Serious consideration has arisen in recent years. The Bangladesh Catholic Bishops’ Conference desired this, while many alumni of our schools, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian urged us to establish such a university.
We began to think it might be possible after looking at the present reality and considering all that would be required to begin a private university in a small way. Many immediately came forward to help and to guide us. The Governing Body of Notre Dame College generously donated the necessary land at the south end of the campus, providing a significant part of the required reserve fund as a loan. The Holy Cross Fathers put up 400,000 dollars for this fund. Organizational work was begun. Once the required application was submitted in detail to the government, permission was secured to begin. It was decided that the university would be co-educational, English-medium, value-based, service-oriented, student-centered.
We hope to begin by September 2014 in temporary facilities until we can construct our own academic building. Holy Cross Brothers and Sisters, with members of other Religious communities, are involved in the planning and organization, along with many from every faith, to help us inaugurate this project. We will look to a network of Holy Cross Colleges and universities throughout the world to enlarge our horizons.