As the flagship institution of the state, the vision of Louisiana State University is to be a leading research-extensive university, challenging undergraduate and graduate students to achieve the highest levels of intellectual and personal development. Designated as a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, the mission of Louisiana State University is the generation, preservation, dissemination, and application of knowledge and cultivation of the arts. In implementing its mission, LSU is committed to:
- offer a broad array of undergraduate degree programs and extensive graduate research opportunities designed to attract and educate highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students;
- employ faculty who are excellent teacherscholars, nationally competitive in research and creative activities, and who contribute to a world-class knowledge base that is transferable to educational, professional, cultural, and economic enterprises; and
- use its extensive resources to solve economic, environmental, and social challenges.
(Mission Statement approved December 2006)
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College originated in grants of land made by the U. S. government beginning in 1806. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy near Pineville, Louisiana. The institution opened January 2, 1860, with General William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. Because of the Civil War, the school closed June 30, 1861, and reopened on April 1, 1862, with Col. William Linfield as acting superintendent. He was succeeded in 1863 by Professor William A. Seay. Because of the invasion of the Red River Valley by the Federal Army, the institution was closed again on April 23, 1863. The Seminary reopened October 2, 1865, with Col. David F. Boyd as superintendent.
The Seminary was destroyed by fire on October 15, 1869, and reopened on November 1, 1869, in Baton Rouge, where it has remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was changed to Louisiana State University.
The Louisiana State Agricultural& Mechanical College, established by an Act of the Legislature in 1874, opened in New Orleans on June 1, 1874, where it remained until it merged with Louisiana State University on January 2, 1877. The two state institutions began their first joint session on October 5, 1877, under the name of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College.
The first Baton Rouge home of LSU was the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind. In 1886, the institution moved to the federal garrison grounds (now the site of the state capitol). Construction of the campus at its present site started in 1922, and the move, which began in 1925, was not completed until 1932. Formal dedication of the present campus took place on April 30, 1926.
LSU's chief academic divisions were founded as follows: Law School, 1906; the Colleges of Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Education, and Engineering, 1908; the Graduate School, 1909; Continuing Education, 1924; the College of Business Administration (renamed the E. J. Ourso College of Business Administration in 1996; renamed the E. J. Ourso College of Business in 2005), 1928; the Graduate School of Library Science (renamed the School of Library & Information Science in 1981), the College of Chemistry & Physics (renamed the College of Basic Sciences in 1982), and the School of Music (renamed the College of Music & Dramatic Arts in 1998), 1931; Junior Division (incorporated into University College in 1999), 1933; the School of Social Welfare (renamed the School of Social Work in 1983), 1937; University College (incorporated into General College in 1974 and reinstated in 1999), 1951; the School of Environmental Design (renamed the College of Design in 1979; renamed the College of Art & Design in 2001), 1965; the School of Veterinary Medicine, 1968; and the Graduate Division of Education (merged with the Graduate School in 1982), 1970. In 1977, the Hebert Law Center (formerly the Law School) was made an autonomous unit of the LSU System.
In 1978, LSU was named a sea-grant college—the 13th university in the nation to be so designated, and the highest classification in the program. In 2005, LSU was designated as a space-grant college.