The University of Notre Dame's Department of Physics is now the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The physics faculty, the College of Science Council, the Dean, and the Academic Council all considered and approved the change in name that became official on April 20. The primary goal of the name change is to advertise to prospective students that astronomy is an important component of the department and a welcome place for them to study this field.
The Notre Dame Department of Physics was founded in 1920 when the College of Science was reorganized into departments. A separate Department of Astronomy existed from 1926 to 1939, although no separate degree was offered. The book, 1865-1965 Centennial of Science at Notre Dame, notes that "courses were taught, and prizes were awarded for achievement in the field of astronomy" as early as 1868. The inclusion of Astronomy in the College of Science reminds us of its more than 150 year history at Notre Dame.