Our Lady of the Lake University

Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), known locally as the Lake,[2] is a 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 school of Social Work in Texas.

Our Lady of the Lake University
OLLU logo
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Congregation of Divine Providence)
EndowmentUS$30.1 million
PresidentDiane Melby
Location, ,
United States

29.4263°N 98.5444°W / 29.4263; -98.5444
CampusUrban: 72 acres (0.29 km2)
ColorsBlue and White          
Sports14 teams


In 1895, construction began on the main campus of 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 in Houston in 1986.

University president Tessa Martinez Pollack resigned on March 1, 2013. She began her presidency in 2002. Her resignation follows what the San Antonio Express-News characterizes 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."[3] Sister Jane Ann Slater CDP served as Interim President until current president Diane Melby was appointed in July 2015.

2008 fire

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.[4] Firefighters suspect that the fire started on the fourth floor of the Main building due to an electrical short.[5]

The community quickly rallied and help raise funds to reconstruct the building and reconstruction was completed in Fall 2010 and 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 weekend classes on campuses in The Woodlands, near Houston and in the Rio Grande Valley in La Feria, Texas.


Our Lady of the Lake (OLLU) teams, known as the Saints, participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.


  1. ACCU Member Institutions Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 11 (Thursday, February 12, 1998)". Government Publishing Office. February 12, 1998. p. E137. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  3. Jennifer R. Lloyd (February 8, 2013). "OLLU's president out as of March 1". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  4. MySA.com: Metro | State
  5. MySA.com: Metro | State
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