Our Lady of the Lake University
|Our Lady of the Lake College|
|Roman Catholic (Congregation of Divine Providence)|
|Campus||Urban, 72 acres (0.29 km2)|
|Colors||Blue and white|
|NAIA - RRAC|
Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), known locally as the Lake, is a private Catholic university in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded in 1895 by the Sisters of Divine Providence, a religious institute originating in Lorraine, France, during the 18th century. The Texas chapter of the institute still sponsors the university. Our Lady of the Lake University was the first San Antonio institution of higher education to receive regional accreditation and its Worden School of Social Service is the oldest Social Work school in Texas.
Our Lady of the Lake University offers Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, and two doctoral degree programs across its main campus and its satellite campuses in The Woodlands and in the Rio Grande Valley. The university's athletic team, the Saints, compete in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
In 1895, construction began on the main campus of what would become Our Lady of the Lake College. By 1896, high school educational programs were under way. The first college program began in 1911 as a two-year curriculum for women. In 1919, the curriculum was expanded to four years and the institution was admitted to membership in the Texas Association of Colleges. Graduate study began in 1942 and was coeducational from its inception; all programs became fully coeducational in 1969. In 1975, the name of the institution was changed from Our Lady of the Lake College to Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio.
Our Lady of the Lake University was the first San Antonio institution of higher education to receive regional accreditation. It has been accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1923. In 1927, it became the third Texas school to be approved by the American Association of Universities.
As part of its mission to provide education to those with limited access, the university introduced the Weekend College concept at the San Antonio campus in 1978. OLLU began offering "weekend degree" programs at Lone Star College - North Harris in 1986. The Houston program would move to the Lone Star College University Center in 2012, and construction would be completed on its own stand-alone campus, located off Beltway 8 near Interstate 45, in 2018.
University president Tessa Martinez Pollack resigned on March 1, 2013. She began her presidency in 2002. Her resignation followed what the San Antonio Express-News characterized as "months of tumult in which students and faculty protested Pollack's decision to eliminate a dozen degree majors, including religious studies and Mexican American studies, which some considered at the core of the Catholic school's mission and identity." Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP served as interim president until Diane Melby was appointed to the post in July 2015.
On May 27, 2021, Melby announced her intention to retire after the 2021–22 school year in an open letter to the OLLU community. A search committee for her successor was formed, and Abel A. Chavez was chosen as the university's 10th president. Chavez will begin his tenure in July 2022.
On May 6, 2008, a fire was reported on the campus at 7:44 p.m. CDT. The fire affected all four floors of the main building. The fire quickly changed from a three- to four-alarm fire after an hour's time with five pumper trucks battling the blaze. No injuries or deaths occurred. The fire consumed the roof and one spire had collapsed. Much of the damage to the building was due to the amount of water poured into the building to contain the blaze. While the firefighters struggled with the fourth floor, some of the university's IT staff went in and protected the servers that were located on the first floor of the same building. Operations were coordinated from the Library building located across 24th Street from Main. A bomb threat the day before the fire had caused some concern that the incident was arson-related. Firefighters suspect that the fire started on the fourth floor of the Main building due to an electrical short.
The community quickly rallied to raise funds for reconstruction, and the project was completed in fall 2010. It hosted its first class since the fire in January 2011.
Our Lady of the Lake University currently offers Bachelor's degrees in 33 areas of study, Master's degrees in 14 areas of study, and two doctoral degree programs. Classes are offered through traditional weekday, weekend and online formats. Our Lady of the Lake University also offers classes on its satellite campuses in The Woodlands, near Houston, and in the Rio Grande Valley in La Feria, Texas.
Our Lady of the Lake (OLLU) athletic teams are the Saints. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) since the 2008–09 academic year. The Saints previously competed as an NAIA Independent during the 2007–08 academic year.
OLLU competes in 17 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball; and co-ed sports include competitive cheer and competitive dance.
OLLU began its athletics program in 2007 with volleyball and men's soccer; followed by women's soccer, men's tennis, and men's golf in 2008; later softball, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's cross-country in 2009, and finally baseball and men's and women's track and field in 2014. The university added women's golf, women's tennis, competitive cheer and dance for the 2020–21 school year, and is currently in the process of forming a competitive drumline.
In 2021–22, the women's basketball team won their eighth RRAC regular-season title and fourth conference tournament title, going undefeated in conference play. They also made their ninth appearance in the NAIA National Tournament, losing to Wayland Baptist in the opening round. OLLU's softball team finished with the best overall record in the conference, and advanced to the championship game of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round's Gulf Shores bracket. The Saints' women's 4x100 relay team also made an appearance in the national championships.
On February 12, 2022, university play-by-play announcer Michael Thompson fell down the bleachers at a women's basketball game after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the hospital and died shortly thereafter.
The campus has the following fraternities and sororities: two multicultural sororities Delta Xi Nu and Theta Nu Xi, Latina sorority Kappa Delta Chi, service sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha, and Christian fraternity Sigma Theta Epsilon.
OLLU previously hosted weekend classes at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch, Texas, near Dallas. The Dallas Weekend College (DWEC) began operations in fall 1994 and moved to Brookhaven in 1997.
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