The University of New Orleans
PresidentPeter J. Fos
ProvostDr. James E. Payne
Admin. staff698[2]
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA
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Former namesLouisiana State University in New Orleans (LSUNO)[2]
Sports teamsPrivateers
ColorsReflex Blue & Silver[1]
MascotLafitte, an alligator
Pierre the Pirate
WebsiteScript error
All enrollment figures are from the 14th class day of the Spring 2012 semester.

The University of New Orleans, often referred to locally as UNO, is a medium-sized public urban university located on the New Orleans Lakefront within New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is a member of the University of Louisiana System and the Urban 13 association. In the fall of 2011 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges gave approval for the University of New Orleans to join the University of Louisiana System, concluding the five-month transition from the LSU System since ACT 419 of the 2011 Louisiana Legislative Regular Session was signed into law in July 2011. Soon after the transition was approved, the UNO Presidential Search Committee selected UNO alumnus Dr. Peter J. Fos (Class of 1972) as president.


The University of New Orleans, originally called Louisiana State University in New Orleans (LSUNO), was legally established by Act 60 of the 1956 Louisiana Legislature, in the wake of a citizens’ movement to bring taxpayer-supported higher education to the metropolitan area. Greater New Orleans, with more than a fourth of the state’s population, was without a public college or university until that time. As a branch campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LSUNO was conceived as a liberal arts college, which might within a few years develop into an urban university.

An ideal campus site became available on New Orleans' Lakefront when the US Navy relocated its air station on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in late 1957. The Orleans Levee Board leased the closed base to the LSU Board of Supervisors. 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. The inaugural convocation was held in a vacant aircraft hangar. This event 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, the 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.

The campus' first permanent buildings, the Liberal Arts Building and the Sciences Building, along with a central utilities plant, were completed and in operation by the time of the first commencement in the spring of 1962. The architectural style, established by campus master planners and initially featuring numerous open galleries, covered balconies and breezeways, was described as a modernist adaptation of traditional Louisiana architecture. The first commencement was held in a circus tent temporarily erected on the campus for that purpose. The initial class of graduating seniors numbered 115.

In the summer of 1962, the senior academic divisions were designated colleges. In 1963, a school of education was established, as well as an evening division and a graduate division. The Vice President in Charge was designated Chancellor, following the establishment of an LSU System of Higher Education. This signaled the end of LSUNO’s status as a branch of the Baton Rouge campus. The school of education became the College of Education in 1964. In 1966, the graduate division became the Graduate School.

To the original Script error site, a Script error strip along its western boundary was added in 1963. This land was also acquired from the Orleans Levee Board, and it brought the total campus area to Script error. Still more land was obtained in 1964, half a mile (800 m) east on the Lakefront, when the United States Army abandoned its Camp Leroy Johnson facility and the Levee Board made this site, too, available to the University. A Script error parcel of this Script error site was released to the Gulf South Research Institute in 1965. The remaining Script error East Campus subsequently became the location of a Special Education Center, various outdoor sports facilities, and the multipurpose Senator Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena.

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 multiple colleges, schools, and institutes, offering graduate work in many different fields and awarding both masters and the Ph.D. degrees. Moreover, a residence hall for both men and women had been completed. 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. A new Metropolitan College offered courses at off-campus locations in the evening hours, as well as credit and non-credit work in the evening on the campus. It also administered the nation’s largest summer program in Europe, UNO Innsbruck, which had been a continuing success since the early 1970s. In an administrative reorganization in 1988, the Junior Division was replaced by a system that enrolled all incoming students in one of the senior colleges or schools.

Currently, the UNO main campus contains twenty-three permanent buildings plus a dormitory, a housing complex for married students and a complex of contemporary, apartment-styled, student-housing units. Land has been set aside for a new dormitory complex and fraternity and sorority houses. The Chemical Sciences Building opened in 1997, a state-of-the-art Recreation and Fitness Center opened in 2001, and the Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center (named for UNO's founding Chancellor) opened in 2003. The Alumni Center is built around a red brick smokestack, one of the few reminders of the naval air base that became the UNO main campus. Kirschman Hall, which houses the College of Business Administration, opened in Spring 2005. A sixth building, University-sponsored Research and Technology Park is adjacent to the main campus. The East Campus, approximately one mile from the main campus, houses athletic fields, the Alumni and Development Center, and the Senator Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena. It is also the location for a planned Teleplex Building that will house both of New Orleans’ public television stations, a public radio station, and video broadcast training space for UNO students. UNO owns satellite campuses in downtown New Orleans, in suburban Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and in Slidell, in neighboring St. Tammany Parish. UNO’s Ogden Museum of Southern Art is located in the Warehouse/Arts District within downtown New Orleans. UNO is in the process of revising its Master Plan to include additional, state-of-the art student housing, a new University Center, Phase Two of the Research and Technology Park, new landscaping and student-centered outdoor learning spaces.

The University of New Orleans has grown to become a major urban 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, its students now enjoy a broad range of academic programs nearly one-quarter of which are at the masters or doctoral level. In addition, extracurricular activities, including NCAA Division One intercollegiate athletics, an extensive program of intramural sports, and frequent exhibits and programs in music, drama, ballet, and the fine arts round out the student experience. The University has conferred over 70,000 degrees since the first graduating class of 118 in 1962.[1]

Student lifeEdit


There are more than 120 registered clubs and organizations active at UNO, including 15 fraternities and sororities.[2] UNO Student Government, is the official student government association. Registered organizations are separated into categories of either religious, honorary, political, professional, social, service, organizations, or special interests.


Script error is the UNO weekly newspaper and is published every Thursday.[1] UNO also owns and operates WWNO, a local radio station.[2] WWNO began transmitting in 1972.[2]

Greek lifeEdit

The Greek community at The University of New Orleans is composed of 16 organizations, governed by three councils.[3]

Panhellenic Association[4] National Pan-Hellenic Council[5] Interfraternity Council[6]


University rankings
Forbes[7] 618
U.S. News & World Report[8] 205–270
Washington Monthly[9] 258

UNO also offers a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.


The university has four campuses in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

  • Lakefront Campus, the main campus, located at the Lake Pontchartrain end of Elysian Fields Avenue on the former site of NAS New Orleans
  • Research and Technology Park adjacent to the main campus on the former site of the Pontchartrain Beach amusement park
  • East Campus at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Leon C. Simon Boulevard; includes the Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena and Maestri Field at Privateer Park, UNO's basketball and baseball facilities former site of Camp Leroy Johnson
  • Jefferson Center


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File:Lafitte the InstiGator.jpeg

The University of New Orleans currently has 9 varsity sports teams, and is a Division I member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). UNO originally attempted to reclassify to Division II's Gulf South Conference.[1] On February 1, 2011, Provost Joe King submitted the Division II proposal to the LSU Board of Supervisors.[2] Previously, UNO competed at the Division II level from 1969-1975.[3] On March 9, 2012, New University President Peter J. Fos announced that UNO plans to remain a member of NCAA Division I, with potential homes being the Sun Belt or Southland Conference.[4] On August 21, 2012, UNO announced that it would be joining the Southland Conference, effective the 2013-2014 academic year.[5]


  • Baseball
  • Men's and Women's Basketball
  • Men's Golf
  • Men's and Women's Cross Country
  • Men's and Women's Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Men's and Women's Track & Field

Fight SongEdit

The official fight song of The University of New Orleans is "Let's hear it for UNO."[6] The song was adopted after a competition in 1981. The winner was Lois Ostrolenk.[6] Before this, the melody from William Tell Overture was used. A variation of the overture is still played to honor this tradition.[6]

Club SportsEdit

The University of New Orleans has many club sports provided by the Recreation and Intramural sports department. Club sports are available to all students who have an interest.

  • Cricket
  • Karate
  • Sailing
  • Paintball
  • Table Tennis
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Running
  • Sand Volleyball
  • Football (Scheduled to become a full NCAA sport in c. 2015)
  • Inline Hockey
  • Skim Board
  • Rock Climbing
  • Dance
  • Cheer
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Quidditch

Research and Technology ParkEdit

File:FEMA - 37156 - University of New Orleans Research Park.jpg

The University of New Orleans Research and Technology Park is a research park whose tenants collaborate with the University to conduct research, provide training, and create education opportunities.[7] Tenants have many university services provided to them, such as child services, the university library and recreational facilities.[8]

Hurricane KatrinaEdit

On August 29, 2005, the University suffered damage due to Hurricane Katrina. The main campus is on relatively high ground and the damage was caused mostly by winds, rain-driven-water, and human activity during the storm. (The University was used as an evacuation point and staging area by the National Guard.) A levee breach on the London Avenue Canal occurred just a few blocks south of the main campus and caused the flooding of the first floor of the Bienville Hall dormitories, the Lafitte Village couples apartments, and the Engineering Building.

UNO was the first of the large, damaged universities in New Orleans to re-open, albeit virtually, by using web-based courses starting in October 2005. [9] The university was able to offer classes in the fall semester immediately following Hurricane Katrina at satellite campuses; the main campus re-opened in December 2005.

Hurricane Katrina reduced enrollments at all colleges in New Orleans, but the University of New Orleans was particularly hard hit. This echoed the damage to New Orleans as a whole, since UNO serves as a leader in educating students from New Orleans. Since the hurricane, the student enrollment is on a steady increase toward pre-Katrina numbers. In 2011, State Senator Conrad Appel of Jefferson Parish, with the support of Governor Bobby Jindal, tried to combine UNO with the historically black Southern University at New Orleans as a way to save higher education dollars. His plan was withdrawn in both houses of the legislature because of a lack of support from his colleagues.

Notable alumniEdit

Notable facultyEdit

  • Polly Thomas, Education Professor and perennial candidate for the District 9 seat in the Louisiana State Senate
  • Philip James DeVries, Biology Professor, MacArthur Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow, among other honors.


External linksEdit

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Template:Public universities in Louisiana

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