Louisiana Christian University has made great strides in recent years in academics and athletics and has earned accolades as a Top 30 Christian college, as well as high marks for safety and diversity.
Next move: becoming Louisiana’s newest university.
President Rick Brewer has made a proposal to both the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, who fully supported and took before the full Board of Trustees of LCU, to update the name of the institution to Louisiana Christian University.
The Executive Board is comprised of 67% LCU alumni, and the full Board is more than 50% alumni.
“It was wholeheartedly and unanimously supported,” Brewer said. “This is in keeping with our mission of being Christ-centered. It’s a logical move. We are not throwing away our past. We are recognizing this school has always been Christian.”
Louisiana University and Louisiana Baptist University were names already in use in Louisiana.
“When I became president in 2015,” Brewer said, “I told the Board I came to lead a great Christian college to become an even greater Christian university.”
That is coming to fruition.
Executive Director of Louisiana Baptists Steve Horn said Dr. Brewer and his team have done a great job in expanding the academic landscape of Louisiana Christian University. The rebranding to a university will allow prospective students to discover the college is more than simply an undergraduate school.
“To put in another way, LCU is a Louisiana school, which is unapologetically Christian, whose expanded academic offerings raise it to a university level,” Horn said.
The official announcement will be made to the Louisiana Baptist Convention on Nov. 16. The name ‘Louisiana Christian University’ has been filed and reserved with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Brewer said today’s students want to attend a university and often associate “college” with a community or technical college. The “definition” of a university is an institution of higher learning that has several colleges and graduate programs.
LCU is classified as a Master’s Level III institution by SACSCOC, our accrediting body. Current student enrollment is about 1,250.
Louisiana Christian University includes dozens of bachelor’s degrees and announced the proposal for its fifth graduate program last week. Currently, LCU offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Master of Social Work (MSW).
Last week, the proposal for a Master of Business Administration offered in the Ray and Dorothy Young School of Business was announced, with a projected start date of fall of 2022.
Brewer also said the Vision 2025 Strategic Plan includes the launching of the institution’s first doctoral program, a Doctorate in Education (EdD).
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Cheryl Clark said the move from a college to a university more accurately reflects what the institution is today.
“It reflects who we are, affirms our strategic plan, and positions us for long-term success,” Clark said. “Being a university speaks of the breadth and depth of learning already happening for both our undergraduate and graduate students, aligns our name with our comprehensive academic offerings in both liberal arts and applied sciences, including our expansion to master’s programs, and enables us to attract and recruit more students.”
Louisiana Christian University’s journey began in 1906 with an enrollment of nineteen students and has grown to nationally ranked, comprehensive Christian institution graduating over 15,000 students with undergraduate and graduate degrees.
“The move to university will increase our prominence and marketability nationally and internationally,” Clark said. “Because university status is more widely understood by international, graduate, and non-traditional students, we will expand our recruitment opportunities. Ultimately, we think that university status will strengthen our reputation and open new doors for us to connect more people with our Christian educational mission, our commitment to academic excellence, our dedication to outstanding teaching and student learning, and our focus on preparing students for lives of learning, leading and serving.”
Members of the Board of Trustees and alumni are encouraged by this proposed update.
“It brands LCU as a Christian University,” said Board of Trustee member Anthony Bunting, LCU Class of ‘87. “Although LCU is known as a Christian-based college, it will provide an opportunity to emphasize and promote it to the world as a university soundly built upon biblical principles and those principals are shared with students—something they don’t get at other universities.”
Trustee member Joanne Hamby graduated from LCU in 1969, after having grown up in the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home.
“I have a different perspective on LCU’s name change than most of my Wildcat friends,” she said. “I am grateful that Louisiana Baptists were there for me 60 plus years ago. I also realize entities must change to be relevant in today’s world. I love the proposed name change of the place that I hold dear to my heart.”
Dennis Phelps, LCU Class of 1977, who is director of church, minister and alumni relations for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, said this will position the institution for an even greater future.
“A name change cannot alter the heritage, values, or memories of Louisiana Christian University,” Phelps said. “Louisiana Christian University retains the geographical identity (“Louisiana”), boldly and clearly declares the unique mission assigned by our LBC congregations (“Christian”) and confirms our academic credentialing and increased offerings of genuine liberal arts graduate degrees (“University”). We look back as alumni with profound gratitude for being part of Louisiana Christian University’s heritage. We look forward with anticipation to the deepened academic future of Louisiana Christian University for our children and grandchildren. Her future is in front of us. And we are ready!”
Mark Klein, promotions manager for KSLA-TV, and Class of 2015 alumnus, echoed Hamby’s excitement.
“The name LCU shows me that the school’s leadership is willing to think big, while still holding true to their mission of being an institution that’s unashamed of the Gospel,” Klein said. “My hope is that this next chapter as Louisiana Christian University allows them to continue their goal of preparing graduates with an even larger reach than they’ve been blessed with over the last 100+ years. I’m proud of my time at LCU, and this change doesn’t detract from my four years at the school, but it adds so much potential for the classes yet to come.
“Plus, ‘LCU – Later’,” Klein recited the school’s motto with hand gesture, “It still works!”
Longtime Trustee J.D. Perry said he has seen LCU through its lowest season and is incredibly optimistic about all the positive changes he has witnessed under the leadership of Brewer, who began as president in the spring of 2015.
“My last trustee meeting,” Perry said, “we became a university under the tremendous leadership of Dr. Rick Brewer. What a story of the success. To God be the glory.”
Media Release | Nov. 3, 2021 | Louisiana Christian University | Pineville, La.
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth B. Clarke, Director of College Communications