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University of New Orleans
Established 1958
Type Public coeducational
Chancellor Timothy P. Ryan
Staff 785
Undergraduates 8,628[1]
(Fall, 2008)
Postgraduates 2,800[1]
(Fall, 2008)
Location New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
30°01′39″N 90°04′02″W / 30.0275°N 90.0671°W / 30.0275; -90.0671Coordinates: 30°01′39″N 90°04′02″W / 30.0275°N 90.0671°W / 30.0275; -90.0671
Campus Urban
Sports teams Privateers
Colors Reflex Blue & Silver         
Mascot Lafitte, an Alligator & Pierre the Pirate

The University of New Orleans, often referred to locally as UNO, is a medium-sized public urban university located on the New Orleans Lakefront within New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is a member of the LSU System and the Urban 13 and is currently headed by Chancellor Timothy P. Ryan.

University Center, UNO main campus



The University of New Orleans, originally called Louisiana State University in New Orleans, was legally established by Act 60 of the 1956 Louisiana Legislature, in the wake of a citizens’ movement to bring tax-supported higher education to the metropolitan area. Greater New Orleans, with more than a fourth of the state’s population, was without a public college or university until that time. As a branch campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LSUNO was conceived as a liberal arts college for commuting students, which might within a few years develop into a true urban university.

An ideal campus site became available on New Orleans' Lakefront when the US Navy relocated its air station on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in late 1957. The Orleans Levee Board leased the closed base to the LSU Board of Supervisors. A quick renovation of barracks, service clubs, and other existing facilities made it possible to begin classes in September 1958, a year ahead of the original schedule. The inaugural convocation was held in a vacant aircraft hangar. This event marked the opening of the first racially integrated, public university in the South. A total of 1,460 students, all freshmen and double the number originally anticipated, arrived for this occasion.

By September 1961, when the new school had become a full four-year institution, the enrollment exceeded 3,000, and the faculty had grown from the original 63 to 150 members. A Junior Division had been established for the academic administration of freshmen, and senior academic divisions had been established in liberal arts, in sciences, and in business administration. Dr. Homer L. Hitt, the first employee and the chief administrative officer, had been promoted from Dean of LSUNO to Vice President of LSU in Charge of LSUNO.

The campus' first permanent buildings, the Liberal Arts Building and the Sciences Building, along with a central utilities plant, were completed and in operation by the time of the first commencement in the spring of 1962. The architectural style, established by campus master planners and initially featuring numerous open galleries, covered balconies and breezeways, was described as a modernist adaptation of traditional Louisiana architecture. The first commencement was held in a circus tent temporarily erected on the campus for that purpose. The initial class of graduating seniors numbered 115.

In the summer of 1962, the senior academic divisions were designated colleges. In 1963, a school of education was established, as well as an evening division and a graduate division. The Vice President in Charge was designated Chancellor, following the establishment of an LSU System of Higher Education. This signaled the end of LSUNO’s status as a branch of the Baton Rouge campus. The school of education became the College of Education in 1964. In 1966, the graduate division became the Graduate School.

To the original 178-acre (0.72 km2) site, a 17.5-acre (71,000 m2) strip along its western boundary was added in 1963. This land was also acquired from the Orleans Levee Board, and it brought the total campus area to 195.5 acres (0.791 km2). Still more land was obtained in 1964, half a mile (800 m) east on the Lakefront, when the United States Army abandoned its Camp Leroy Johnson facility and the Levee Board made this site, too, available to the University. A 50-acre (200,000 m2) parcel of this 150-acre (0.61 km2) site was released to the Gulf South Research Institute in 1965. The remaining 100-acre (0.40 km2) East Campus subsequently became the location of a Special Education Center, various outdoor sports facilities, and the multipurpose Senator Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena.

In September, 1969, when the enrollment exceeded 10,000, LSUNO became the second-largest university in Louisiana. By this time it had developed into a large academic complex embracing multiple colleges, schools, and institutes, offering graduate work in many different fields and awarding both masters and the Ph.D. degrees. Moreover, a residence hall for both men and women had been completed. In February, 1974, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved a name change, and LSUNO became the University of New Orleans. The new name more accurately defined the institution as the metropolitan campus of the LSU System.

By the fall of 1983, UNO had an enrollment exceeding 16,000 and had five senior colleges: Liberal Arts, Sciences, Education, Business Administration, and Engineering, in addition to its Junior Division and Graduate School. It also had a School of Urban and Regional Studies; a School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration; a School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering; and various centers, institutes and divisions for specialized research. A new Metropolitan College offered courses at off-campus locations in the evening hours, as well as credit and non-credit work in the evening on the campus. It also administered the nation’s largest summer program in Europe, UNO Innsbruck, which had been a continuing success since the early 1970s. In an administrative reorganization in 1988, the Junior Division was replaced by a system that enrolled all incoming students in one of the senior colleges or schools.

Currently, the UNO main campus contains twenty-three permanent buildings plus a dormitory, a housing complex for married students and a complex of contemporary, apartment-styled, student-housing units. Land has been set aside for a new dormitory complex and fraternity and sorority houses. The Chemical Sciences Building opened in 1997, a state-of-the-art Recreation and Fitness Center opened in 2001, and the Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center (named for UNO's founding Chancellor) opened in 2003. The Alumni Center is built around a red brick smokestack, one of the few reminders of the naval air base that became the UNO main campus. Completion of Kirschman Hall, which will house the College of Business Administration, is expected in Spring 2005. A six building, University-sponsored Research and Technology Park is adjacent to the main campus. The East Campus, approximately one mile from the main campus, houses athletic fields, the Alumni and Development Center, and the Senator Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena, and is the location for a planned Teleplex Building that will house both of New Orleans’ public television stations, a public radio station, and video broadcast training space for UNO students. UNO owns satellite campuses in downtown New Orleans, in suburban Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and in Slidell, in neighboring St. Tammany Parish. UNO’s Ogden Museum of Southern Art is located in the Warehouse/Arts District within downtown New Orleans. UNO is in the process of revising its Master Plan to include additional, state-of-the art student housing, a new University Center, Phase Two of the Research and Technology Park, new landscaping and student-centered outdoor learning spaces.

The University of New Orleans has grown to become a major urban research university. Categorized as an SREB Four-Year 2 institution, as a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Intensive, and as a COC/SACS Level VI institution, its students now enjoy a broad range of academic programs nearly one-quarter of which are at the masters or doctoral level. In addition, extracurricular activities, including NCAA Division One intercollegiate athletics, an extensive program of intramural sports, and frequent exhibits and programs in music, drama, ballet, and the fine arts round out the student experience. Culturally, socially, economically, and intellectually, the University of New Orleans is one of the major assets of the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. The University has conferred over 66,000 degrees since the first graduating class of 118 in 1962.[2]

Fast Facts

  • UNO's colors are Royal Blue (PMS Reflex Blue) and Silver (PMS 877)
  • The mascot is the Privateer
  • Approximately 12,000 students attend: 9,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate
  • About 9.1 percent of UNO students come from the 49 other U.S. states and 97 other countries
  • Located on the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, only 15 minutes from the French Quarter, UNO occupies a 195-acre (0.79 km2) campus within New Orleans' Lakefront, one of the finest residential areas of the city
  • 526 full-time and 172 part-time faculty members. Approximately 80 percent of the faculty hold doctorates
  • The student-faculty ratio is 18:1 (full-time student to full-time faculty 16:1)
  • Average class size is 22
  • ACT Code = 1591 SAT Code = 6379
  • Financial Aid Title IV Code = 002015[3]
  • UNO's on-campus apartments: Privateer Place.


UNO has six colleges within the university:

  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Science
  • Metropolitan College


The university has six campuses in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

  • Lakefront Campus, the main campus, located at the Lake Pontchartrain end of Elysian Fields Avenue on the former site of NAS New Orleans
  • Research and Technology Park adjacent to the main campus on the former site of the Pontchartrain Beach amusement park
  • East Campus at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Leon C. Simon Boulevard; includes the Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena and Maestri Field at Privateer Park, UNO's basketball and baseball facilities former site of Camp Leroy Johnson
  • Downtown Center
  • Jefferson Center
  • Slidell Campus


The future of athletics at New Orleans is in question. The athletic department faces a $1 million dollar annual shortfall. An increased athletic fee was proposed to make up the short fall but was voted down by students in April 2009. The university competed in 15 sports before Katrina and the subsequent drop in enrollment. It now fields seven sports teams. NCAA Division I requires schools to field at least 14 teams. The university faces the options of dropping all athletics at the university, changing divisions or raising millions for the department in the private sector.[4]

University of New Orleans announced on January 20th, 2010 that it is in the process of transitioning to Division III, and has voluntarily withdrawn its membership from the Sun Belt Conference.

New Orleans, was a founding member of the conference in 1976, but was authorized by the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors in December to withdraw from the Sun Belt by July 1, 2010.[5]

Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005, the University suffered damage due to Hurricane Katrina. The main campus is on relatively high ground and the damage was caused mostly by winds, rain-driven-water, and human activity during the storm. (The University was used as an evacuation point and staging area by the National Guard.) A levee breach on the London Avenue Canal occurred just a few blocks south of the main campus and caused the flooding of the first floor of the Bienville Hall dormitories, the Lafitte Village couples apartments, and the Engineering Building.

UNO was the first of the large, damaged universities in New Orleans to re-open, albeit virtually, by using web-based courses starting in October 2005 .[6] The university was able to offer classes in the fall semester immediately following Hurricane Katrina at satellite campuses; the main campus re-opened in December 2005.

Because of hurricane damage and reduced enrollment, Chancellor Ryan declared "financial exigency". This allowed the university to restructure its departments, colleges, and programs. Restructuring involved the elimination of several programs of study and layoffs of some faculty and staff members. [2] Lower enrollments since the storm have complicated the rebuilding process.[3][4]

Budget Cuts

On July 9, 2009 Chancellor Timothy P. Ryan announce that 30 staffers will lose their jobs, mainly from the Metro College. 9 senior staff positions were also elimated as well as 20 vacant positions for faculty and 50 vacant staff positions. UNO also cut subsidy to UNO athletics and other various support centers on campus. Also UNO forced about 20 staffers to take an early retirement. Also UNO announced the closing of its Downtown Center.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b UNO enrollment summaries
  2. ^ University of New Orleans website
  3. ^ University of New Orleans website
  4. ^ [1] As Costs of Sports Rise, Students Balk at Fees
  5. ^
  6. ^ University of New Orleans reopens online - Networks - Breaking Business and Technology News at
  7. ^ "House District 77". Retrieved October 18, 2009. 

External links



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