OLLU History


Our Lady of the Lake University was founded in 1895 by the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, a religious order begun in 18th century Lorraine, France, by Blessed John Martin Moye. The order continues as the sponsoring organization of the University. Members of the Congregation arrived in Texas in 1866, where they initially established themselves in Austin, and then in Castroville in 1868.

In 1895, construction began on Main Building on what was to become the Our Lady of the Lake campus. By 1896, high school level 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, in 1923, became the first San Antonio institution of higher education to receive regional accreditation. Our Lady of the Lake University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Our Lady of the Lake University.

In 1927, the University became the third Texas school to be approved by the American Association of Universities.

Living up to its mission of providing 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 in Houston in 1986 and in Harlingen in 2008.

On May 6, 2008, a fire ripped through the top of the Main Building and destroyed the roof and the fourth floor.  Thankfully, no one was injured in the four-alarm blaze but the damage left the University without one of its major facilities that had long served as a welcoming place for students and the community at large. Read more about the fire and the rebuilding process on the "From Fire to Future" pages.

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.