OUR HISTORY - A 151-year legacy
A 151-year legacy of education
WHEN FATHER ARNOLD DAMEN, S.J., ARRIVED IN CHICAGO TO FOUND THE CITY'S FIRST JESUIT PARISH, he recognized a need for higher education to serve a booming immigrant population. He answered that call by bringing the great tradition of Jesuit education to Chicago, and St. Ignatius College - which would later become Loyola University Chicago - officially opened its doors on September 5, 1870.
For a century and a half, Loyola has continued to go where the need is greatest, evolving to meet new challenges. In its early years, the University opened its doors to minority students when other colleges had quota systems to restrict their attendance. In 1914, the University welcomed women to attend its newly established School of Sociology - itself an innovation in Catholic higher education - leading to a large growth in enrollment. And in the civil rights era, Loyola actively reached out to African American students. Its men's basketball team, with four Black starters, broke color barriers in college sports with the historic "Game of Change" in 1963 en route to winning the NCAA Championship.
Over time, the physical presence of Loyola expanded as well, with a move to a lakefront campus on the city's northern edge in the early 1900s. Future growth saw the addition of a downtown campus, the development of the Health Sciences Campus in the western suburbs, and the establishment of the Romer Center in 1962.
In modern years, Loyola has continued to improve access to higher education, becoming one of the nation's first medical schools to openly admit DACA-status students and founding Arrupe College to serve students from low-income backgrounds. The University has also been an innovator in the areas of health sciences and sustainability, continuing to expand academic offerings and garnering national recognition.