There are few moments so monumental in a higher education institution's history as when it has grown from a college into a university. This year, Lourdes celebrated this historic occasion as it officially transitioned from Lourdes College to Lourdes University.
"Our transition to Lourdes University recognizes the incredible quality and dedication of our faculty, staff and students," shares President Robert Helmer, PhD, JD. "The new Lourdes University will be a place where people from all over our country will come to study and to work."
Founded in 1958 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Lourdes has experienced unprecedented growth over the last few years and has been continually recognized for its commitment to excellence in academics.
"I remember when Lourdes Junior College was preparing for its first North Central accreditation," reflects Sr. Ann Carmen Barone, OSF, Vice President for Mission & Ministry. "I remember how excited Mother Adelaide was while planning a special college building that would connect to Lourdes Hall.
"She was determined that Padua Hall, renamed Mother Adelaide Hall after her death, have a planetarium, stained glass windows to invite students to see themselves as citizens of the world, and 'real' college quality science labs. She would be pleased to see the new dining hall but I think she'd be even more pleased to see Lourdes grow into a university."
Since 2002, enrollment at Lourdes has doubled and the University has added a new academic building, apartment-style residence halls and collegiate athletics. For seven consecutive years (2004-2011), Lourdes has been named among Princeton Review's list of best colleges, was thrice named a "Military Friendly School" by GI Jobs Magazine and was included as one of the "Great Colleges to Work for®" by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
"Mother Adelaide used to say 'make the place better for your having been there,'" adds Sr. Ann Carmen. "Lourdes College students have done that well. Lourdes University students will have more opportunities to diversify and deepen their academic experience.
"They will deal with a 'universe' of new ideas that will be validated through increased opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. And the city will be enriched by their presence and their efforts to be a Franciscan community of learning, reverence and service wherever they live and serve."
Students at Lourdes University will benefit from a number of new offerings this year, such as a new dining hall, graduate programs in business, liberal arts and nurse anesthesia and intercollegiate athletic programs including baseball, men's volleyball and women's basketball.