The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady announced on October 4, 2016 that Our Lady of the Lake College will change its name to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. The announcement was made by Sr. Barbara Arceneaux, Provincial for the Sisters. Founded in 1923, Our Lady of the Lake College is the only Catholic Franciscan institution of higher education in the southeastern United States. Supporting activities for the name change will begin with today’s announcement and full implementation of the name will be complete in 2017.
Expansion of programs in recent years, including doctoral level degree programs, has prompted the College to adopt a name change to University that reflects the advanced programs being offered at the institution. In addition, the change to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University honors both the ministry’s founding sponsors and its Franciscan ideals and values as expressed through education and formation. Curricula in all academic disciplines emphasizes Franciscan formation, a distinct experience for graduates, especially those seeking preparation for healthcare professions.
“There are a number of reasons why we are excited to announce a new name that recognizes our institutional maturity…our university status,” states Dr. Tina Holland, President. “But I am most excited about the opportunity to declare the proud heritage entrusted to us by our Sisters, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Our new name is a clear reflection of our commitment to enhance our Franciscan identity.”
Our Lady of the Lake College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate degrees.
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University will maintain its three established comprehensive schools: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Health Professions and the Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing. Today, the University has an enrollment of 1,600 students and a full-time faculty of 76. In keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, the University is devoted both to academic excellence and service to the community and welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.
The service learning program has become a nationally recognized cornerstone of the curriculum. During 2014-2015 academic year, students provided 61,587 hours of service locally. In early 2011, the College was named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Carnegie Engaged Campus. In addition to this prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification, the College has been named seven times to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Since 2012, the College has earned the enhanced "With Distinction,” an honor bestowed on only 120 colleges and universities in the nation and the only institution in Louisiana.
Our Lady of the Lake College was initially founded as a nursing school in conjunction with the establishment of Our Lady of the Lake Sanitarium in the Capitol Lake area of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Today ─ over ninety-three years later ─ the institution has grown to offer a broader range of programs while maintaining its focus on healthcare.
“Academics has been a growing component of our organization and the perpetual learning environment maximizes the positive impact we have on individuals and the greater community. With almost a century of ministry, we seek always to honor the past and give our best in the present in order to embrace the future and its many possibilities. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University represents that total philosophy,” said Scott Wester, President and CEO Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
The new name does not change the institution’s historic relationship with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. Rather, according to Holland, “By highlighting our university status and our Franciscan identity, we believe we are better positioned to serve and support the Sisters’ healthcare ministry within the many higher education alternatives.”
“An important impetus for the new name is that the first cohort of students will graduate with Doctor of Nursing Practice-Nurse Anesthesia (DNP) degrees in December of 2017,” she adds.
About Our Ministry
The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is a non-profit, Catholic healthcare ministry primarily serving in Louisiana through its hospitals, network of ambulatory services and physician practices, long-term care, elderly housing, health and wellness services, and a clinically integrated network, in addition to the university. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge is the flagship and largest of the health system hospitals.