A history of leadership, innovation, and service

Loyola University Chicago was established by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) as St. Ignatius College in 1870, the year before the Great Chicago Fire. The first campus was on Chicago's near South Side, where St. Ignatius High School is now located. Loyola was moved to what is now the Lake Shore Campus on Chicago's North Side in 1908.

A group of prominent Chicago lawyers established the Lincoln College of Law in early 1908, hoping to affiliate with St. Ignatius College. That hope was realized later that same year, when St. Ignatius College was reorganized into Loyola University and the Lincoln College of Law became the Loyola University Law Department, which later became Loyola University Chicago School of Law.


  • Lincoln College of Law joins Loyola University as the first professional school
  • William Dillon named first dean (1908-1917)
  • First class of 30 enrolls in courses still taught today
  • Initial courses are offered in part-time, evening program
  • Innovative electives introduced
  • Extensive practice court program, the seeds of today's advocacy program, launched

1917–1937 • OPENING DOORS

  • Enrollments rise after end of World War I under Dean Arnold D. McMahon (1917-1925)
  • Full-time day division, three-year curriculum established
  • Women students admitted
  • American Bar Association accredits the school in 1925
  • Dean John V. McCormick (1925-1937) launches graduate program


  • Renewed emphasis on the law profession's social, moral and ethical values under Dean John C. Fitzgerald (1937-1959)
  • The law school relocates from Chicago's Loop to the University's Water Tower Campus
  • Returning service people rush to enroll after WWII


  • Student publications, moot court among new co-curricular activities under Deans John C. Hayes (1959-1967) and William Lamey (1967-1970)
  • Dramatic enrollment increases, including more women, leading to physical expansion of space under Dean Charles R. Purcell (1970-1975)
  • Trial Practice Program established
  • Law school relocates to Maguire Hall at 1 E. Pearson Street
  • Community Law Center clinic and Street Law Program create new student opportunities under Dean Charles W. Murdock (1975-1983)


  • Dean Nina S. Appel (1983-2004) builds lasting legacy, including new centers and institutes
  • New degrees in specialty areas are launched, including Master of Jurisprudence (for professionals), Master of Laws (for attorneys), and doctoral degrees
  • School and law library open spectacular new facilities at 25 E. Pearson Street, now known as the Philip H. Corboy Law Center
  • Diane Geraghty serves as interim dean until David N. Yellen joined the school as dean from 2005-2016
  • Online degrees and programming launched, cementing the School of Law's leadership in online education     
  • Michael J. Kaufman named interim dean and then appointed dean in March 2017 following a national search. He serves through June 2021.
  • Zelda B. Harris serves as interim dean from July 2021 until Michèle Alexandre joined the school as dean in July 2022.