Cardinal Newman was established in 1858 as Ursuline High School, a school for young women. That school was destroyed when Union soldiers burned Columbia in 1865. The school reopened in Valle Crucis, North Carolina and remained there until 1887, when it moved back to Columbia. The first male graduated in 1951. The school became a diocesan school in 1957 and was renamed Catholic High School of Columbia. The school moved to Forest Acres, a suburb of Columbia, in 1961 and was renamed Cardinal Newman High School in honor of John Henry Newman.[better source needed]
In its efforts to provide Catholic education to as many students possible, Cardinal Newman School began its operation of a middle school (grades 7 and 8) in 1989. The building, which formerly served as the Ursuline Convent, was thoroughly renovated and welcomed more than a 100 students.
The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools, South Carolina Independent School Association, Palmetto Association of Independent Schools, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the National Catholic Educational Association.
Cardinal Newman fields 24 different sports teams. Cardinal Newman Varsity Men's Basketball won the 2018-19 SCISA AAA State Championship compiling a 25-5 overall record. Ranked 5th overall in the final South Carolina High School Basketball rankings by MaxPreps.