Lewis University is a private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university located in Romeoville, Illinois, United States . The enrollment is currently around 6,800 students. Lewis offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, 22 graduate programs, and accelerated programs for working adults.
Lewis University was founded in 1932 by the Chicago Archdiocese and Bishop Bernard J. Scheil as the Holy Name Technical School. The school gets its name from philanthropist Frank J. Lewis who funded the construction of many of the school's buildings. During these early days, aviation technology courses were chosen as the special emphasis of instruction, becoming the origin of today's highly regarded Department of Aviation and Transportation Studies. The school was incorporated in 1934 under the name Lewis Holy Name Technical School. In 1935, it became Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics, a name which is engraved in stone on the building now known as the Oremus Fine Arts Center.
During World War II, normal classes were suspended as the campus was given to the United States Navy to train pilots. The campus is adjacent to the Lewis University Airport. Regular classes resumed in late 1944 and the college soon adopted a more traditional arts and science curriculum. Women were admitted for the first time in 1949. Three years later the school's name was changed to the Lewis College of Science and Technology. The school's name was shortened to simply Lewis College in 1962 and finally received its current name of Lewis University in 1973.
In 2004 and 2005, Lewis enrolled more than 5,000 total students. Lewis’ strengths as an institution of higher learning have been evidenced through various sources. The University has been cited as one of the best colleges in the region for the last two consecutive years by both The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. The University is included in the top tier of U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of the best Midwest master’s-level universities, most recently placing 58 out of a total of 144 institutions. The Princeton Review named Lewis one of the “Best Midwestern Colleges,” with Lewis being ranked among a select list of 23 Illinois colleges and 158 Midwest institutions.
In 2010, Lewis University offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The ninth largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. The University also offers degree programs at two classroom sites in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Lewis University is a NCAA Division II school that is part of the Great Lakes Valley Conference and the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
The men's volleyball team won the 2003 NCAA Division I/II National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Championship by defeating Brigham Young University, but it later voluntarily gave back its title after an internal investigation found ineligibility issues that were kept private from the NCAA. This disgrace hurt the program for a few years, but they have slowly climbed their way back into the Top-10 rankings of DI-II schools.
Lewis also competes intercollegiately in Rugby as a member of the CARFU.
Prior to joining the NCAA, Lewis was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), winning the NAIA Baseball World Series 1974-76 and finishing as runners-up in 1966 and 1980.
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