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Etching of Louisiana SeminaryLouisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College had its origin in certain land grants made by the United States government in 1806, 1811, and 1827 for use as a seminary of learning. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana near Pineville, Louisiana. The institution opened January 2, 1860, with Col. William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. The school closed June 30, 1861, because of the Civil War. It reopened on April 1, but was again closed on April 23, 1863, due to the invasion of the Red River Valley by the federal army. The losses sustained by the institution during the war were heavy.

The seminary reopened October 2, 1865, only to be burned October 15, 1869. On November 1, 1869, the institution resumed its exercises in Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was changed to Louisiana State University.

Louisiana State Agricultural & Mechanical College was established by an act of the legislature, approved April 7, 1874, to carry out the United States Morrill Act of 1862, granting lands for this purpose. It temporarily opened in New Orleans, June 1, 1874, where it remained until it merged with Louisiana State University in 1877.

The first Baton Rouge home of LSU was in the quarters of the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind. In 1886, the federal garrison grounds (now the site of the state capitol) were formally declared the domicile of the University. Land for the present campus was purchased in 1918, construction started in 1922, and the move began in 1925; it was not, however, until 1932 that the move was finally completed. Formal dedication of the present campus took place on April 30, 1926.

After some years of enrollment fluctuation, student numbers began a steady increase, new programs were added, curricula and faculty expanded, and a true state university emerged.

In 1978, LSU was named a sea-grant college, the 13th university in the nation to be so designated and the highest classification attainable in the program. LSU is one of only 25 universities to be designated as both land grant and sea grant.

Significant Dates

Louisiana General Assembly passes legislation for state institution of higher education, creating the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana (l'Universite' de l'Etat de la Louisiane).

(November) The institution's main building is completed near Pineville, Louisiana. Col. W.T. Sherman accepts position as superintendent.

(January 2) Seminary opens with five professors and 19 cadets (total would eventually be 73).
(March) Name changed to Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy (le Lycee Scientifique et Militaire de l'Etat de la Louisiane).
General Assembly agreed to support as many as 150 cadets with scholarships for boarding expenses. These cadets were referred to as "beneficiary" cadets.

(January) State militia takes control of the federal garrison known as the Baton Rouge Arsenal. Only later would Louisiana officially secede from the Union. Col. Sherman resigns.
(April) Student and faculty begin resigning in order to enlist in the Confederate cause.
(June 31) Seminary closes.

(April 1) Seminary reopens under the Rev. W.E.M. Linfield as acting superintendent.

(April 1) Prof. William A. Seay becomes superintendent.
(April 23) Seminary closes after invasion of Red River Valley by federal forces under Gen. Banks. Military equipment donated to the Confederate Army, but library and other items destroyed by order of Gen. T. Kilby Smith of the U.S. Army. Structure saved thanks to Gen. W.T. Sherman.

(April) The Civil War ends.
(October 2) Seminary reopens and Col. David F. Boyd is superintendent.

(October 15) Pineville campus building burns.
(November 1) Classes resume in Baton Rouge at Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind.

(March) Seminary changes official title to The Louisiana State University (l'Universite' de l'Etat de la Louisiane).

The Reveille is first published but has no regular schedule.

Last class to graduate until after Reconstruction. Five classes had graduated up to this point.
Supervisors passed an executive motion to place "beneficiary" cadets on "indefinite leave" when the state failed to appropriate funds for their scholarships. Enrollment after dismissal: 45. Only three professors remain.

Louisiana State Agricultural & Mechanical College is opened and domiciled at the University of Louisiana (New Orleans) while waiting to occupy the Chalmette campus.

Title change of A&M college to Louisiana A&M College. The institution is racially integrated at the Chalmette campus.

Acts 103 and 145 of 1876 combine LSU and Louisiana A&M College.

Reconstruction ends.
(June) Merger of LSU and Louisiana A&M College prompts the final title change to Louisiana State University and A&M College. LSU becomes a land-grant institution.
(October 5) Classes resume.
Title of superintendent changes to president.

City of Baton Rouge offers land for dairy farm (Perkins Road).

David F. Boyd resigns. Gov. Wiltz appoints a new faculty and Col. William Preston Johnson appointed president.

LSU confers bachelor degrees for the first time since 1874.

Col. Johnson resigns and James W. Nicholson is appointed president.

J. Nicholson returns to teaching and resigns position. David F. Boyd returns from Alabama A&M and assumes presidency.
W.C. Stubbs hired from Alabama A&M to begin experimental sugar station (Kenner).

(September) Department of the Interior transfers title of Baton Rouge Arsenal to the state.
D.F. Boyd conducts repairs on new campus without reimbursement from the Board of Supervisors and resigns to teach. LSU moves to new campus. Thomas D. Boyd is named interim president and withdraws his name so that David may be rehired. "Beneficiary" cadet program reinstated.

James W. Nicholson renamed president.

The Boyd brothers depart: Thomas to the State Normal School (Natchitoches); David resigns.

LSU plays first football game, a 34-0 loss to Tulane.

James W. Nicholson resigns. Thomas D. Boyd returns as president. LSU adopts the tiger as the official mascot.

Audubon Sugar School transferred to LSU, requiring two years of study in Baton Rouge and two years of work in New Orleans.
(January 14) First issue of the new, permanent Reveille printed.

Col. David F. Boyd dies.

First edition of The Gumbo (the University yearbook) published.

LSU gets title to the Pentagon Barracks and campus for educational use only.

Olivia Davis transfers to LSU to become its first female student, she graduates in 1905.

First women (17) enroll as freshmen, among them Annie Boyd, Col. Boyd's daughter.
Law school opens.

Formation of the Colleges of Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and Education.

Graduate department opens.

National Defense Act passes requiring military training. LSU issues the olive drab uniform in November (uniforms would soon change to West Point gray).

US enters World War I.
Prof. James W. Nicholson dies.

Nine LSU friends (including Deans Atkinson and Dodson) purchase Gartness Plantation.
Dances at LSU banned.
(November 11) Armistice signed and Central Powers concede defeat.

Col. T. Boyd elected president of Association of State Universities.

Col. T. Boyd elected president of Association of Land Grant Colleges.

Board of Supervisors choose Olmsted Brothers' campus plan, but later (c. 1923) accept Theodore Link's plan. Construction of present buildings begins.

(November 1) Col. Thomas D. Boyd offers resignation at age 70, but the death of Link prevents Boyd from leaving. Wogan & Bernard finish the late Theodore Link's plan.

LSU receives first live mascot named "Little-Eat-'Em-Up" as a gift from an alumni in South America. The tiger was a black bobtailed tiger. He was quickly deposed after the football season for "failure to act."
(Thanksgiving Day) Tulane vs. LSU was first game on new campus at the temporarily named Tiger Stadium, a name it still retains. LSU lost.
Division of Continuing Education opens.

(September 23) Students enroll on the new (present) campus (1,712 students). Dances allowed again.

(April 30) Present campus is dedicated.
(June) Col. T.D. Boyd offers resignation.

Campbell Hodges chosen as president, but Dean Thomas W. Atkinson retained pro term status.

LSU receives Class A accreditation by the Association of American Universities.
Huey Long elected governor.
College of Business Administration is formed.

(June) Board of Supervisors terminates Gen. C. Hodges for failure to appear. Atkinson is appointed president.

Student body adopts alma mater still in use today.
(June 1) Whangdoodle published, openly criticizes faculty. Pres. Atkinson expels editor K.K. Kennedy one week shy of graduation from law school.
Gov. Long begins interfering in LSU affairs. Gov. Long increases band from 28 to 125 pieces.
(November 5) Atkinson resigns due to failing health.
(November 17) Board meeting held at the Executive Mansion votes James Monroe Smith from SLI (Lafayette) into presidency.

LSU School of Medicine (New Orleans) opens down the street from Tulane Medical School.
Establishment of Graduate School of Library Science, College of Chemistry & Physics, and School of Music.

Col. Thomas D. Boyd dies and is buried at Magnolia Cemetery.

Junior Division (the underclassman college) opens.

The Northeast Center established in Monroe. It is the first branch school of LSU.
(December) The Reveille Seven expelled for exposing Sen. Long's censorship of the paper at "his" school.

LSU Press founded.
Graduate School created (replaces Graduate department)
(July) The Southern Review first published.
(September 8) US Sen. Huey Long is shot by Dr. Weiss and subsequently dies on September 10.

Mike I (formerly known as Sheik) arrives by rail from the Little Rock Zoo. Students block-off campus; classes canceled.

School of Social Welfare opens.

President Smith resigns due to scandal.
(June 27) Paul Hebert assumes interim presidency.
Lake Charles Junior College opens under LSU direction (name changes in 1940 to John McNeese Junior College) with Dean Joe Farrar as head.

Gen. Campbell Hodges named president, again, and appears for service.
US enters World War II.

LSU Band invites first coed member.

Gen. Campbell Hodges resigns. William B. Hatcher assumes presidency.

World War II ends and GIs return to take advantage of Montgomery GI Bill of Rights.

Pres. Hatcher dies, Fred C. Frey acts in presidential capacity until Dr. Harold W. Stoke is finally appointed president.
Former Prof. Robert Penn Warren wins Pulitzer Prize for his novel, All the King's Men.

(September) Francis T. Nicholls Junior College opens in Thibodaux under Dean Charles Elkins.

McNeese Junior College gains autonomy as a four-year institution.
LSU Board of Education enrolls black students into graduate program.

Dr. Stoke steps down and Gen. Troy H. Middleton is appointed president. University College is formed.

A.P. Tureaud, Jr., LSU's first black undergraduate student, was admitted under court order to the 3-2 undergraduate pre-law and law degree program, which was unique to LSU. He transfers before the end of the fall term.

Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, strikes down racial segregation in public schools.

Legislature approves LSU branch in New Orleans.
(June 29) Mike I dies. Mike II ascends to the throne after February birth in New Orleans Zoo.
Nichols State separates from LSU.

(November) LSU leases vacated Naval Air Station (New Orleans) from Orleans Parish Levee Board.

(February 1) Board of Supervisors approve the official seal of a mother pelican with three young.
(May) Mike II dies of pneumonia. Mike III, from Seattle Zoo, ascends to the throne.
(September) Classes begin at LSU-New Orleans under Dean Homer Hitt.

LSU-Alexandria opens on land deeded in 1945.

Gen. Middleton resigns and John A. Hunter is named president.

(June) Six black students enroll in undergraduate studies.

(February 6) By act of Legislature, LSU System established, Hunter becomes president of the LSU System.
Cecil Grady Taylor becomes first chancellor of LSU (main campus in Baton Rouge). School of Environmental Design is formed.

The Sea Grant Program is passed by the US Congress.

LSU-Eunice opens under Dean Anthony Mumphrey.
LSU-Shreveport opens under Dean Donald Shipp.

School of Veterinary Medicine opens.

LSU School of Medicine (Shreveport) opens.

Graduate School of Education opens.
Professor T. Harry Williams wins the Pulitzer Prize for his biography Huey Long.

John Hunter resigns as president of the LSU System and Martin Woodin accepts presidency.
Center for Agricultural Sciences & Rural Development established.

Chancellor Taylor resigns and Paul W. Murrill becomes chancellor.
New state constitution officially creates the LSU System.

(August 12) Mike III dies. Mike IV (b. May 15, 1974) ascends to the LSU throne from his home in Busch Gardens of Tampa, Florida.

Hebert Law Center becomes an autonomous unit in the LSU System.
First class graduates from the School of Veterinary Medicine.

LSU becomes the 13th university to be named a sea-grant institution. (LSU is one of 25 universities to have land- and sea-grant status.)

Law School changes name to Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

(January) Chancellor Murrill resigns and Otis B. Wheeler is named acting chancellor.
(June) James H. Wharton becomes chancellor.
John Kennedy Toole posthumously wins the Pulitzer Prize for his fictional work, A Confederacy of Dunces. (The book was published by LSU Press in April 1980.)

Center for Agricultural Sciences & Rural Development changes title to LSU Agricultural Center.

(March 16) Allen A. Copping becomes third president of the LSU System.

LSU is ranked a Research I institute by the Carnegie Foundation.

Chancellor Wharton resigns.
(Jan. 4) LSU-Shreveport Chancellor E. Grady Bogue becomes interim chancellor of LSU-Baton Rouge.

(July) Williams E. "Bud" Davis becomes chancellor.

(April) Mike IV retires for health reasons to the Baton Rouge Zoo. Mike V (b. Oct. 18, 1989) ascends to throne April 30.

(March 3) Mike IV is put to eternal rest after 20 years and 9 months, of which he reigned as LSU mascot for 14 years.

(November 1) Chancellor William E. Davis resigns chancellorship.
(November 9) William L. Jenkins appointed the sixth LSU chancellor.

LSU receives 114th patent.

Williams L. Jenkins resigns as LSU chancellor and is appointed president of LSU System.
(April 16) Mark Emmert is appointed chancellor of LSU.

The LSU's baseball team and women's track and field team each captured a national title. The women's track team earned its 12th national championship and the baseball team won its fifth championship title.
(April 2000-April 2001) LSU's Diamond Jubilee, commemorating 75 years on the current Baton Rouge campus.

(January) LSU Football Team wins 2004 Nokia Sugar Bowl and captures the 2003 BCS National Title.
(June) Mark Emmert resigns as LSU chancellor. William L. Jenkins appointed interim chancellor.

Page last updated: September 28, 2004

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