Lourdes students are excited about future university statusWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Student input will play a big role as Lourdes College embarks upon a seven-year strategic plan to expand and become a university.
Savannah Frelin, a sophomore from Toledo, is pursuing an education degree at Lourdes.
“I am very excited and interested to see Lourdes grow into a university. The new plans to start having athletic teams and dorms on campus will really benefit the student body,” Frelin said.
In addition to university status, Lourdes wants a residence hall and student athletic teams.
Enrollment at Lourdes has more than doubled in the past four years to about 2,200, half of which are full-time students between the ages of 18 and 22. The college expects to have 3,000 students by 2015.
“It’s the natural growth of institutions to self-define what they shall become,” said Robert Helmer, president of Lourdes College.
Helmer said there is no defined process for a college to become a university in Ohio. It falls to each individual institution to determine what makes it a university. The growth of graduate courses and students at Lourdes is one reason for the desire to become a university, he said.
“We now have 227 students studying to get their master’s degrees,” he said.
The master of organizational leadership at Lourdes is a business degree that places less emphasis on finance and more on diversity, ethics and leadership skills. This master’s program is popular with the business community in this region, Helmer said.
Lourdes offers two master programs in education and a Master of Science in nursing. The college will add a Master of Arts degree in theological studies next year and one in liberal studies in the near future.
“We expect to double the amount of graduate students in the seven years of the strategic plan,” Helmer said. “Research that goes with those master’s programs is another hallmark of a university.”
Each of the schools at Lourdes, which are all overseen by deans, will become colleges when the school becomes a university. Those schools include arts and sciences, nursing, school of professional studies for business, education, social work and leadership studies, in addition to a graduate school.
International studies abroad are something that is also vital to a university, Helmer said.
Faculty members from Lourdes traveled to Hungary this past summer. A group of 30 university faculty and students from Hungary spent the day at Lourdes on Oct. 16.
Helmer said Lourdes plans to build a student residence facility. Size, location and amenities have been discussed with the intent to move into the planning stages soon.
“We expect to have as many residents as 10 percent of 3,000 students in seven years,” Helmer said.
“Another aspect of gaining university status is there will be more degree programs, such as the master of education. I want to continue with my educational goals at the college I love so much,” Frelin said.
She earned academic scholarships in her first two years, which has allowed the married mother of two children to pursue her education. She is involved in campus activities, such as Democrats of Lourdes College, Future Educators of America and Non-Traditional Student Union.