Coordinates: 42°30′10″N 90°40′53″W / 42.502805°N 90.681401°W / 42.502805; -90.681401
Loras College is a four-year Catholic college in Dubuque, Iowa with an enrollment of approximately 1,600 students. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It is one of four four-year post-secondary institutions in the City of Dubuque and one of three Catholic colleges in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Loras College, a liberal arts college, was founded in 1839 by the Most Rev. Mathias Loras, first bishop of Dubuque, who established Saint Raphael's Seminary to educate young men for the priesthood with the expressed intention of also providing an opportunity for higher education to the citizens of the area. The college has functioned under several names: Saint Raphael's Seminary, Mount St. Bernard's College and Seminary, St. Joseph's College, Dubuque College, and Columbia College. The present name was adopted during the school's centennial in 1939. That same year, the national Catholic honor society, Delta Epsilon Sigma was founded at the college, by Father Fitzgerald. From the time of its founding, the college has devoted its faculty and facilities to an undergraduate program; it conferred the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.
In 1963, when The Catholic University of America decided to discontinue its branch program of graduate study on the Loras campus, Loras College, realizing the growing need in the locale for study beyond the baccalaureate degree, initiated its Graduate Division offering the Master of Arts degree in some fields.
The College became coeducational in the fall of 1971. In 1973, the Associate of Arts and the Associate of Science degrees were introduced. The Division of Community Education was initiated in 1975.
Both the Undergraduate College and the Graduate Division of Loras College are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The teacher education program, both at the graduate and undergraduate level, is accredited by the Iowa Department of Education. The undergraduate teacher education program is also accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The American Chemical Society has approved the undergraduate chemistry program. Loras College is also approved by the Association of American Universities and New York Board of Regents. The Council of Social Work Education has accredited the social work major at the baccalaureate level.
Loras’ athletic teams are known as the Duhawks, a name bestowed upon the football team by a Detroit Free Press scribe in 1924 converging Dubuque and hawks . The school fields 22 men’s and women’s varsity teams in the NCAA Division III. They are a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC). Loras’ colors are Royal Purple and Gold, colors exemplified by the home football uniform of purple jerseys, gold pants and gold helmets with purple face masks. The Loras men's soccer team played in the Final Four NCAA Division III championships in 2012.
Loras sits on a 65-acre (263,000 m2) campus located atop several hills in Dubuque. The grounds are bounded by Loras Boulevard on the south, Kirkwood Street on the north, Henion Street on the east, and Alta Vista Street on the west. The campus is surrounded by residential neighborhoods on all sides, some of which are among the most historic in the city. The college consists of 23 buildings, 2 athletic fields, a stadium, and 5 tennis courts. Because of its high location, several of the buildings provide excellent views of Downtown Dubuque and the Mississippi River.
Some of the more notable buildings include:
The college has been expanded over the years. The Alumni Campus Center was built in 1992, and added a new library in 2001. The Academic Resource Center contains a collection of approximately 355,000 items and 11,000 magazine subscriptions. In addition to its broad general collection, the library contains a rich heritage in its special collections of rare books, as well as the photographs and manuscripts in the Center for Dubuque History located in the lower level of the library. The library is also an official document depository for both the United States government and the state of Iowa. The previous library, Wahlert Memorial Library, was remodeled into classroom space.
The college has purchased Cox Street which runs through campus from the city of Dubuque for $50,000. The school has since shut the street down and replaced it with a pedestrian friendly walk way to improve pedestrian safety and help upgrade the area aestheticly.
Additionally the Physical Plant on campus will be moving to an off campus location and replaced possibly with fast-food and other student friendly businesses.
A notable graduate of Loras College was Father Aloysius Schmitt. He was one of those killed on board the USS Oklahoma during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Other notable graduates of Loras College include:
Although not a graduate, Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Red Faber attended Loras in 1909. Faber set a college record by striking out 24 St. Ambrose batters in a 1909 game before moving on to a 20-year Major League career with the Chicago White Sox. Faber-Clark Field on Loras’ lower campus bears his name today. Film actor Don Ameche was known to have attended during the 1920s.
Although not frequently mentioned due to his controversial religious ideas later in life, Creation Spirituality founder Matthew Fox attended Loras in 1958. He was eventually ordained as a Dominican priest but then silenced for a year (forbidden to teach theology) by Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) of the Holy See in 1988. In 1993, he was expelled from the Dominican order and effectively from the Catholic Church at the order of Cardinal Ratzinger. In 1994, he became an Episcopal priest.
Another controversial graduate is William Schnoebelen, who obtained a degree in music and education from Loras in 1971. Schnoebelen went on to found With One Accord Ministry, an organization which strongly denounces Catholicism and Catholic teachings (among other things).