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Highlights from the History of LSU

  • LSU was founded by the Louisiana General Assembly in 1853 under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy and was located near Pineville, La., with the first session beginning on Jan. 2, 1860.

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

  • Three of LSU's Presidents were military generals, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (1860-61), Civil War General who was appointed the General of the Army of the United States under President Ulysses S. Grant; Maj. Gen. Campbell Hodges (1941-44), Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and as military adviser to President Herbert Hoover; and Lt. Gen. Troy Middleton (1951-61), who was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for actions in the Meuse-Argonne offensive during World War I and was a leader during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

  • Lt. Gen. John Lejeune, 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, attended the preparatory program at LSU from September 1881 to April 1884. He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with three stars. He is the namesake for the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and for the USS Lejeune.

  • The land for the current LSU campus was purchased in 1918, construction started in 1922, and the move to the campus began in 1925. It was not, however, until 1932 that the move was finally completed. The campus was dedicated April 30, 1926.

  • The LSU lakes were developed from swamps in the 1930s as a public works project.

  • Fifty-seven of LSU's more than 250 principal buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

  • The Daily Reveille (LSU's student newspaper) was first published in 1872.

  • In 1904, R. Olivia Davis transfers to LSU to become its first female student. She graduates in 1905 with a master's degree in mathematics.

  • In 1906, the first women enroll as freshmen. Among them is Annie Boyd, daughter of Thomas Boyd, LSU's president from 1896-1927.

  • LSU's "tiger" nickname was drawn from the Civil War fame of two Louisiana brigades who fought so fiercely that they became known as the "Louisiana Tigers."

  • LSU’s presence produced $1.2 billion in direct and indirect sales during the 2008 fiscal year in the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area.

  • LSU's landscaping was called "a botanical joy" in its listing among the 20 best campuses in America in Thomas Gaines's book The Campus as a Work of Art.

  • LSU is home to the Southern Review, one of the world’s most prestigious literary journals, established in the 1930s by Robert Penn Warren, Cleanth Brooks and Charles Pipkin.

  • If you look at the rebuilding efforts under way in the metro New Orleans area, you will see numerous examples of projects spearheaded by students and faculty from LSU’s College of Art & Design. They are building new homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, designing schoolyards in Orleans Parish, and drafting a blueprint for the redevelopment of the Jefferson Parish lakefront.

  • LSU was one of three universities nationwide to receive the 2006 President’s Higher Education Community Service Award Winners For Excellence in Hurricane Relief Service, presented for its exemplary service following Hurricane Katrina.

  • Founded in 1935, the LSU Press is one of the oldest and largest university presses in the South and among the outstanding publishers of scholarly books in the country. LSU Press is the only university press to have won a Pulitzer Prize in both fiction and poetry.

  • LSU Press author, Claudia Emerson, was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her book, Late Wife. LSU Press’s first Pulitzer came in 1981, when John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces became the first book published by a university press to win the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. In 1986, Virginia native Henry Taylor’s The Flying Change won the Press’s second Pulitzer and its first in poetry, followed by Lisel Mueller’s Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

  • LSU's Residential Colleges allow students to live and learn with other students who share their interests. Options include business and engineering, agriculture, honors, information technology, global studies, and freshman residential colleges.

  • LSU’s Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhanced Services Laboratory (FACES) and its director Mary Manhein have been featured numerous times in the national media and have been consulted by Scotland Yard for their efforts in identifying human skeletal remains. Manhein has handled more than 1,000 forensic cases and has been called on by law enforcement agencies all over the United States for more than 27 years.

  • LSU is the one of the few universities in the country to offer a minor in French with an emphasis on Cajun French.

  • LSU is the only university in the United States with a live tiger mascot on campus.

  • Mike VI, LSU's live tiger mascot, is visited by more than 100,000 people annually.

  • Military Memorials

  • The LSU Memorial Tower, or the campanelle – Italian for little bell - was one of the first structures completed on the present campus. It was built in 1923 and dedicated in 1926 as a memorial to those who gave their lives during World War I. It was paid for by the American Legion state wide and given to the university.

  • The LSU War Memorial, which sits in front of the Memorial Tower on the LSU Parade Ground, was dedicated on Oct. 8, 1998, in memory of those who gave their lives in military conflicts from World War II through the present day. The LSU Alumni Association raised the money necessary to construct the memorial and then devoted it to the university. Former President George H.W. Bush was the guest speaker for the formal dedication ceremonies.

  • The LSU Memorial Oak Grove, which is located just south of the present day Student Union, was dedicated in 1926. There are 30 trees, each dedicated to a fallen soldier who gave his life in service to the United States. One tree is dedicated to The Unknown, representing all who are missing in action and are remembered for their bravery.

  • The LSU Aircraft Memorial, a T-33 "T-Bird" jet located just outside of Tiger Stadium on South Stadium Road, was dedicated on Dec. 6, 1966, by Capt. Frank S. Hagan, squadron commander of the Arnold Air Society. It has remained on display for 35 years and stands as a war memorial to all LSU graduates who have lost their lives while defending the nation during the jet age.

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