About the University of
New Orleans Online
UNO students, faculty and staff dedicate themselves to solving problems, advancing technologies and learning more about how the world works.
A mission of excellence and growth
The University of New Orleans is a comprehensive urban research university committed to providing educational excellence to a diverse undergraduate and graduate student body. The University is one of the region’s foremost public resources, offering a variety of world-class, research-based programs, advancing shared knowledge and adding to the region’s industry, culture and economy. UNO, as a global community asset, serves national and international students and enhances the quality of life in New Orleans, the state, the nation, and the world, by participating in a broad array of research, service learning, cultural and academic activities.
The University of New Orleans will be recognized as one of the preeminent urban research institutions in the nation, noted for its commitment to excellence in teaching and in student success; its location in a culturally vibrant city; its innovative and relevant undergraduate, graduate, professional and research programs; and its role as a primary engine of social, economic, intellectual and cultural development in the New Orleans region and beyond.
Points of pride:
- The University of New Orleans opened its doors in 1958 as the first fully integrated public university in the South.
- The University has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University (high research activity), one of fewer than 100 public universities that holds this prestigious designator.
- For six straight years, UNO has appeared on U.S. News & World Report’s least debt list (schools whose graduates have the least amount of debt) among national universities.
- Our master’s degree program in hotel, restaurant and tourism administration has a 100% industry-specific job placement rate over the history of the program. No other hospitality program in the nation can make that claim.
- UNO faculty represent a talented group of individuals with exceptional academic and professional credentials. Over 80% of full-time instructional faculty hold the doctorate or terminal degree in their field.
- The College of Education and Human Development has prepared more educational personnel in the metro New Orleans area than any other institution.
- UNO awards more than $41 million in financial aid and scholarships annually. Financial assistance is awarded to nearly 77% of our students.
History of UNO
The University of New Orleans (originally called Louisiana State University in New Orleans) was 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.
An ideal campus site was acquired when the United States Navy abandoned its air station on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in late 1957. 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. This 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, 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.
In the summer of 1962, the Vice President in Charge was designated Chancellor. This signaled the end of LSUNO’s status as a branch of the Baton Rouge campus.
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 several colleges, schools, and institutes, offering graduate work in many different fields and awarding both the master’s and doctoral degrees. 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.
UNO suffered damage across campus during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but quickly resumed classes 42 days after the storm passed—unique feat among area institutions during the fall of 2005. While enrollment dropped significantly, the university was able to streamline operations and refocus efforts on key programs that are nationally noted or ranked while still providing the best possible education for the people of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures hit us hard, but the story of UNO is about overcoming odds and building success at every turn. Since the storm, we have done just that.
The University of New Orleans has grown to become a major 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, our students now enjoy a broad range of academic programs, nearly one-quarter of which are at the master’s or doctoral level.
On December 6, 2011, the University of New Orleans officially became part of the University of Louisiana system. The University has conferred over 80,000 degrees since the first graduating class of 116 in 1962.