EARLY HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF THE LAKE UNIVERSITY
The Sisters of Divine Providence were formed in 1762 in Lorraine, France, by Father John Martin Moye. Father Moye organized a small group of women to go out into the rural villages of France and provide education to those who had no access. These women were without resources, but relied on Providence to conduct their ministry. Father Moye called this his "Project."
The “project” thrived and eventually developed into the Congregation of Divine Providence (CDP). In 1866, two of the Sisters from Lorraine traveled to Texas to establish schools in the new diocese of Texas. With trust in Providence and few other resources, the Sisters began 24 Texas Catholic schools by 1886 and a branch of the CDP in Texas.
In 1895, the Sisters were given a gift of land at the west end of San Antonio adjacent to Lake Elmendorf. The only stipulation was that they had to commit to constructing $75,000 in buildings on the property within 10 years. The Sisters began construction on what is now the Main Building of Our Lady of the Lake University. The school was first an academy for girls. College courses were added in 1911 to train the Sisters as teachers in the schools the CDPs had established.
Eventually, lay women were admitted. In 1942, graduate courses were added and male students were admitted. The college became fully coeducational in 1969. In 1923, OLLU became the first San Antonio institution to receive regional accreditation. Since then it has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Living up to its mission of providing education to those with limited access, the University introduced the Weekend College concept for working adults in 1978. A Weekend College site was opened in Houston in 1986 and in the Rio Grande Valley in 2008. Today, OLLU offers weekday, weekend and online study options.