What Would Your Major be in 1919

Loyola’s course offerings have expanded immensely over a century

Times Picaynunne ad, Dec 1919 Colleges of study
Loyola University, New Orleans

If you were a student at Loyola University in New Orleans in 1919, you would most likely be a young, white male interested in becoming a pharmacist, dentist, doctor, or lawyer.  These were the four tracks of education represented at that time, however classes in Auto Mechanics during the evening hours showed the beginning of the expansion of Loyola’s course offerings.  This included a full “motor department” with various automobiles for the students to practice their mechanical and electrical skills on campus.  A certificate was provided after the course, which lasted about eight months and classes were offered most nights of the week.

Loyola University yearbook, 1920

Loyola officially became a university in 1912 and was offering a small variety of evening classes by 1919.  The College of Law was founded in 1914.  New courses were added including Philosophy, Sociology, Spanish, English, Accounting, and Auto Mechanics.  It was not until about ten years later that music classes were offered.  Night courses allowed adults working full time to earn skills or a university degree.  Females were gradually allowed to apply to take classes.  The first two females graduated Loyola University in 1913, but the first female law student graduated from the College of Law in 1920.  Civil Rights leaders also graduated from Loyola with law degrees.

New class offerings, both day and night, led to a sharp increase in the number of students to the point new buildings were constructed on campus.  Community donations and the Jesuit order helped accomplish these expansions, including the first (male only) dormitory in 1921 at a cost of only $35 per month.  Tuition was only $100 for the entire school year!  The athletic fee was $5 per year.  Tuition now is one thousand times more expensive than in 1919.

Current student demographics from Loyola University highlight that the student body is now almost 70% female and half of undergraduate students are minorities of various ethnic backgrounds.  In 1919, there were significantly more male students in attendance at Loyola, but the bulletin from 1919 is clear that “both sexes are admitted on equal terms”.    

Loyola has been breaking down walls that blocked females and students of color from the same educational benefits males had in the past.  Loyola University New Orleans now ranks above the national average for diversity of students and staff.  In 2017, Dr. Sybol Anderson joined Loyola as the chief diversity officer for Loyola University New Orleans.  In 2018, Tania Tetlow, J.D., became the first female president.  Their backgrounds in promoting diversity in the student body and coursework is paving the way for a bright future for Loyola University students! 

Times Picayunne ad, December 21, 1919

Brasted, Chelsea. “With Tania Tetlow, Loyola Gets 1st Female, 1st Non-Jesuit President.” NOLA.com, May 19, 2018. https://www.nola.com/news/education/article_6ebf6e9a-6869-59e3-9ec2-54c29d61f57b.html.  (Image 3)

“How Diverse Is Loyola University New Orleans?” College Factual, September 13, 2019. https://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/loyola-university-new-orleans/student-life/diversity/.

“Loyola University New Orleans.” Our History | Centennial | Loyola University New Orleans. Accessed November 20, 2019. http://www.loyno.edu/2012/history.  (Image 2)

Maria Isabel Medina. 5. Growth and Transition: A Meaningful Role for Women and Minorities in Law at a Time of Dramatic Expansion in Law Schools. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2016. https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.loyno.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edspmu&AN=edspmu.MUSE9780807163191.11&site=eds-live&scope=site.

“Times-Picayune.” Times-Picayune, 1920, p. 11. Times-Picayune 1837-1988, infoweb-newsbank, Accessed 20 Nov. 2019.

“Advertisement.” Times-Picayune, 1919, p. 7. Times-Picayune 1837-1988, infoweb-newsbank, Accessed 20 Nov. 2019.  (Image 1)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.