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Archives Info: University History


University 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. 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. Weekend College, now part of the University's array of non-traditional scheduling options, was the first program of its kind in the region offering adult students an option for completing a degree while maintaining full-time employment. OLLU began offering Weekend Degree programs in the Houston area (now in The Woodlands) in 1986, and in the Rio Grande Valley 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. In 2010, the completely restored and renovated Main Building rose from the ashes and was reopened during a triumphant celebration. Today the building is again the heart of campus offering a state-of-the-art educational facility within a beautifully restored historic structure that has received city, state and national preservation awards.

The fire also sparked a renewal on campus that resulted in the University’s new strategic plan titled “Rooted in Providence: To Grow, To Graduate and To Lead.” Already with 3,100 students, OLLU is recruiting more nationally and internationally to increase the Lake’s “footprint” and grow to a population of 4,000 students.

Ultimately, the University’s objective through the strategic plan is to provide the kind of educational experience for students that places OLLU among the top Catholic universities in the nation.


From "About OLLU",

Administrative Timelines


University Presidents
H. A. Constantineau 1911 – 1940
John L. McMahon 1941 – 1973
Gerald P. Burns 1973 – 1978
Sr. Elizabeth Anne Sueltenfuss 1978 – 1997
Sally Mahoney 1997 – 2001
Robert E. Gibbons 2001 – 2002
Tessa Martinez Pollack 2002 – 2013
Sr. Jane Ann Slater 2013 – 2015

Dwayne A. Banks (Interim)
 [Appointment by the BOT; due to health related issues, per University bylaws]

Diane E. Melby 2015 – 2022
Abel A. Chavez 2022 – present
Chief Academic Officers
Howard Benoist, Vice President for Academic Affairs 1986 – 1999
James Gearity, Provost 1999 – 2001
Antonio R. Rigual, Provost 2001 – 2003
Maria Shelton, Provost 2003 – 2004
Howard Benoist, Interim Provost 2004 – 2006
Jacquelyn Alexander, Vice President for Academic Affairs 2006 – 2008
Helen Streubert, Vice President for Academic Affairs 2008 – 2013
Robert Bisking, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs 2013
Marcheta Evans, Vice President for Academic Affairs 2013 – 2016
Marcheta Evans, Provost / Vice President for Academic Affairs 2016 – 2019
Lourdes Alvarez, Provost / Vice President for Academic Affairs 2019 – 2022
George Williams, Interim Provost / Vice President for Academic Affairs 2022 – present

Contact Information

Visits by Appointment Only
Monday - Friday 9:30am - 4:30pm


CDP Convent Rm. 110
Dr. Jason Paul Bourgeois



Please make an appointment, call or e-mail in advance, and inform us of your research needs.



Past University Archivists


Sr. Generosa Callahan 1971 – 1988
Sr. Frances Jerome Woods 1988 – 1992
Sr. Maria Carolina Flores 1993 – 1996
Vicky Marlette 1996 – 1998
Dora Guerra 1998 – 1999
Sr. Maria Carolina Flores 1999 – 2000
Sr. Casilda Hyzak 2000 – 2001
M. Antoinette Garza 2001 – 2011
Anna Beyer 2011 – 2013
Leonora D. Laney 2013 – 2018
Sr. Mary Christine Morkovsky 2018 – 2020
Jason Paul Bourgeois, Ph.D.  2020 – present


University Archivist



University Archivist  




Jason Paul Bourgeois, Ph.D.