June/July 2011
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Member Highlight: Lourdes College

Lourdes College has a somewhat unusual history for a local institution of higher learning. Most of our region’s community colleges are publicly funded county schools formed in the 1960s. Lourdes College, which also began as a junior college in 1958, at first served only Franciscan Sisters. From a tiny institution for religious women, the college has grown to be a fully accredited, four-year, coed college. Lay women were admitted to adult continuing education classes starting in 1968 and to regular college classes the next year. Men were admitted in 1975, and in 1982 Lourdes was authorized to grant four-year degrees. The college offers undergraduate degrees in Arts and Sciences, Nursing, and Professional Studies, and has a graduate program. Now with athletic teams and residence halls, the school provides a complete college experience. But as an independent Catholic College, Lourdes maintains a focus on Franciscan values of learning, reverence, and service. Lourdes College has more than 2,000 students.

Dr. Robert C. Helmer has been president of Lourdes College since 2004. He said, “ Lourdes is proud to be a member of TMACOG. The organization is an invaluable resource when it comes to keeping our region vibrant, safe, and accessible for both residents and visitors, while also ensuring that we stay competitive in the global market.”

Staff and faculty at Lourdes are concerned with environmental issues and have sought out TMACOG as a resource of speakers for campus events. Last year the college was a recipient of a GLISTEN grant (the Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship through Education Network). The program proposes to harness the expertise and innovation of college faculty and undergraduate students in eight states and two Canadian provinces to promote stewardship of the Great Lakes.

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