Backstory and Context
In the early 18th century Jesuits first arrived among the earliest settlers in New Orleans and Louisiana. Loyola University was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1904 as Loyola College on a section of the Foucher Plantation bought by the Jesuits in 1886. A young Jesuit, Fr. Albert Biever, was given a nickel for street car fare and told by his Jesuit superiors to travel Uptown on the St. Charles Streetcar and found a university As with many Jesuit schools, it contained both a college and preparatory academy. The first classes of Loyola College were held in a residence behind Most Holy Name of Jesus Church. Fr. Biever was the first president. The first of Loyola's permanent buildings was undertaken in 1907, with Marquette Hall completed in 1910.
In 1911, the Jesuit schools in New Orleans were reorganized. The College of the Immaculate Conception, founded in 1847 in downtown New Orleans, split its high school and college divisions and became solely a secondary institution, now known as Jesuit High School. Loyola was designated as the collegiate institution and was chartered as Loyola University on July 10, 1912. Loyola grew steadily over the years on its uptown campus. By the end of its first decade, the university not only included the College of Arts and Sciences, but also a School of Law (1914), a School of Dentistry (1914), and a College of Pharmacy (1919).
Several years later, a School of Music was added to the growing curriculum. At the time, the university's campus consisted mainly of Marquette and Bobet Halls, with large athletic fields extending back towards the end of the campus at Freret St. Loyola has the distinction of transmitting the first radio broadcast in the Deep South, when WWL radio began operation as a laboratory experiment on March 31, 1922.
With the discontinuance of the football program in the 1930s, more space became available for construction of new facilities. Stallings Hall, built as a dedicated building for the College Of Business Administration, and the Memorial Library (now known as the "Old Library") were constructed in the post World War II years, accommodating the growth of the student population. Norman Francis entered the Law School in 1952, becoming the first African-American admitted to the university.
More expansion continued in 1964, with the addition of the Joseph A. Danna Student Center; Albert Biever Hall, a student residence hall named after the first university president; and a central heating/cooling plant. Built soon after in 1967 was Henrietta Buddig Hall, a student residence that is Loyola's tallest building at twelve stories. The last building to be added in the 1960s was the J. Edgar Monroe Science Building (now known as Monroe Hall), the largest academic building erected to date. The College of Pharmacy closed in 1965. The School of Dentistry closed in 1970.
During the 1970s, Loyola began to make many changes, especially regarding Jesuit governance and in the academic curriculum, reflective of many universities during the same period. Reflecting the precedent for reform established by Vatican II, governance of the university shifted from a Jesuit regulated Board of Regents to a combined lay and clerical Board of Trustees. During this period, the Common Curriculum was developed to give students a wide breadth of knowledge in certain core areas, including Science, Math, History, and English studies. A broader trend was seen in the growth of the university during this period, seeing it gradually transform from a regional, largely commuter college to a higher national profile school that attracted students from across the United States.
In 1984 Loyola purchased the facilities of St. Mary’s Dominican College, a nearby Catholic women's college which was closing down, and transformed it into the Broadway campus (after the name of its street location). Today, the Broadway campus includes Loyola's School of Law, Cabra Residence Hall, and a Department of Visual Arts.
Expansion in recent years has seen the addition of Mercy Hall, purchased in 1993, a former girl's preparatory academy; construction of Carrollton Hall, an upperclassman residence; and the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, the latter two completed in 1999. In 1996, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities granted exclusive branding rights to Loyola University Chicago to call itself Loyola University. This resulted in Loyola New Orleans' current trademark, Loyola University New Orleans.
In August 2005, Loyola closed its campus and evacuated its students in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. The campus sustained minimal wind damage including broken windows but floodwaters did not breach any buildings. Due to the devastation of the city of New Orleans, Loyola canceled classes for the fall 2005 semester. Following cleanup, classes resumed with the start of the spring 2006 semester on Monday, January 9, 2006. Despite the displacement of the entire student body during the fall 2005 semester, 91 percent of Loyola’s undergraduate students returned for the spring 2006 semester. Loyola held commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2006 on April 28–29, becoming the first New Orleans college to do so post-Katrina.
On April 10, 2006, President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J. unveiled Pathways - Toward Our Second Century, Loyola's strategic post-Katrina plan. The plan restructured the University's colleges and eliminated several academic programs and faculty positions to reduce operating costs and revitalize the University. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved and passed the plan on May 19, 2006. In response, the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences produced a vote of no-confidence in both President Wildes and Provost Walter Harris. In fall 2006, Loyola welcomed the class of 2010, the first post-Katrina freshman class, with 555 new students. Since the storm, Loyola has completed all physical repairs that were caused by the hurricane; and its enrollment is on a steady rise to pre-Katrina numbers.
The student-run online news service, Pack News, was established in 2012. Pack News marks the return of video-based journalism since the broadcast program was eliminated in 2007 with the university-wide Pathways elimination program after Hurricane Katrina. Local chapters of the Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity, which opened in 1932, and the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which opened in 1983, were closed during 2012. There have been seventeen presidents since the establishment of Loyola College in 1904, including Michael F. Kennelly, S.J. (1970–1974), William J. Byron, S.J. (2003-2004 [acting]), and Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J. (2004–present).
Loyola is located in the historic Audubon Park District on St. Charles Avenue. Its original campus, now called the Main Campus, was founded on a tract of land purchased by the New Orleans Jesuits in 1889. The purchased portion of land was much larger than the current day campus; in fact, the original land purchase contained the land now occupied by both Loyola and Tulane universities and Audubon Place. Through the next twenty years, portions of the original land purchase were sold to different entities to raise money for the new university, resulting in the current Main Campus area of 19 acres.
By the 1950s, most of the original campus had been developed and the university looked around for areas where it could expand. In the 1960s, J. Edgar Monroe, a major benefactor of the university, donated to Loyola a large undeveloped tract of land in Metairie where the university could either expand or move its entire location. After reviewing its options, including the sale of the original campus to Tulane University, the university decided to remain on St. Charles Avenue, subsequently selling off its property in Metairie in ten years as a condition of the donation.
The Louis J. Roussel, Jr., Performance Hall on the Loyola campus, which stages symphony concerts, is named for the late New Orleans businessman Louis J. Roussel, Jr. The closure of St. Mary's Dominican College in 1984 provided an opportunity for Loyola to expand its campus. After renovation of the closed college and some new construction, the Broadway Campus was opened in 1986, with several university offices and programs, the school of law most significantly, moving to the new campus.
Loyola's first campus, the Main Campus is located on St. Charles Avenue across from Audubon Park and adjacent to Tulane University, which also fronts St. Charles. The St. Charles Streetcar passes in front of the main campus. According to The Princeton Review Loyola students get along well with members of the local community. It is ranked #11 out of 371 Best Colleges for Great Town-Gown Relations.
The Main Campus contains the majority of the undergraduate academic divisions on campus, as well as serves as the hub of campus activities. Fronting St. Charles is Marquette Hall, the oldest campus building, which serves as the iconic image of the university. Several quadrangles organize the campus proceeding from the front of campus to its northern border at Freret Street, including the Academic quad, the Plaza De Los Martires De La Paz, or Peace Quad, named after the Salvadoran martyrs of 1989, and the Residential Quad. Other notable buildings include the Joseph Danna Student Center, J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, Bobet Hall, J. Edgar Monroe Hall, the Music and Communications Building, and Branch Knox Miller Hall.
Named after the Jesuit explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette, S.J., Marquette Hall is one of the most prominent buildings on campus. Begun in 1907, it was finished in 1910. After its completion, most of the classes of the college and later, the university were conducted in the building until the construction of Bobet Hall in the late 1920s. The university's first library, the Bobet Library, was located on the third floor of Marquette Hall until the Memorial Library was constructed in the 1950s. When the dentistry school began its operations, the fourth floor of Marquette was used partly as a cadaver dissection area, and an external winch was used to hoist the cadavers up the four floors. Today, Marquette primarily functions as an administrative building, but some classes are still conducted there. Also, the main theatre used by the Theatre Arts program is housed on the third floor of the building.
J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library
The J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe library is the main university library, constructed in 1999, replacing the Memorial Library built in 1950. The 150,000-square-foot library includes 377,000 books and periodicals and online access to 36,000 journals and 27,000 e-books. Its music collection includes over 20,000 scores and recordings, and the special collections and archives include material concerning Jesuits in New Orleans and the U.S. South. The library has won numerous awards in its existence, including the Association of College & Research Libraries’ 2003 "Excellence in Academic Libraries Award and the 2004 H.W. Wilson Award for Professional Development. More so, the library ranks 5th in the “Best College Library” category of The Princeton Review's 2010 edition of The Best 361 Colleges.
Weekend uses of campus
In previous years the Japanese Weekend School of New Orleans, a Weekend Japanese school program, held its classes at Loyola University's main campus. Kindergarten and elementary school students used Monroe Hall and Junior high school students used Marquette Hall.
The former campus of St. Mary's Dominican College, the 4-acre site was purchased by Loyola in 1984. Broadway Street forms its downtown border, and fronts St. Charles Avenue. The campus is located in the Greenville neighborhood, a former plantation and town annexed by New Orleans in the 19th Century. Greenville Hall, a Registered Historic Place built in 1889, forms the focus of the small campus, along with the College of Law building.
Loyola University New Orleans' Law Library is located in the College of Law building on the Broadway Campus. It contains over 286,000 volumes and microfilm for the support of the students and faculty of the College of Law. Due to the unique tradition of civil law in Louisiana, the library has substantial collections from civil law jurisdictions from around the world, including France, Scotland, and Quebec.
"French Jesuits, Missions in Louisiana". 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-12-28
R. Bentley Anderson (2005). Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans interracialism, 1947-1956. Vanderbilt University Press.