Ursuline College in Louisville came into existence in 1938 to expand and continue the programs of Sacred Heart Junior College (SHJC). SHJC was opened in 1921 by the Ursuline Sisters to meet the demand for high education for young women.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the growing enrollment of the college resulted in the opening of two resident halls on campus. In 1965 Ursuline College and neighboring Bellarmine College for men began a program that resulted in the merger of the two institutions in 1968.

On May 15, 1968 the 1,100th woman graduated from Ursuline College, and the new co-educational college came into existence. For three years it was known as Bellarmine-Ursuline College; today it is Bellarmine University.

Historic Timeline for Ursuline College

1921 – Sacred Heart Junior College and Normal School, accredited by the University of Kentucky, opens to meet the demand for higher education for women

1925 – Sacred Heart Junior College moves into its first building, St. Ursula Hall. The first commencement ceremony of Sacred Heart Junior College is held. The first college newspaper, The Collegian is published

1933 – The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

1937 – The college serves as a refugee center during The Great Flood. Sisters and students take care of 275 people for three weeks

1938 – Ursuline College comes into existence as a four year program to expand and continue the programs of Sacred Heart Junior College

1939 – The Student Government is formed. First commencement ceremony of Ursuline College graduates is celebrated. Ground is broken for Brescia Hall, a science and classroom building

1941- School song is written by famous author and song writer, Rev. Daniel A. Lord, S.J. and sung for the first time

1949 – Ursuline College receives full membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

1955 – Marian Hall is constructed as a dormitory, dining facility, library and chapel for students attending Ursuline College. Administrative Offices are located there

1956- Marian Hall opens. Then Senator John F. Kennedy visits campus and speaks at assembly

1958 – New gym is constructed and adjoins St. Ursula Hall

1959- – Parents’ Association formed

Mid-1960s – Administrative Offices and several departments move into former Sacred Heart Academy building

1962 – 25th Year as a Senior College is celebrated. Former boys’ orphanage, Woodcock Hall building and property abutting the east end of campus is bought. Building is renovated and renamed Julianne Hall, to meet housing needs for resident students.

1963 – First speech therapy majors graduate. College becomes a member of the Kentucky Independent College Foundation.

1965 – Ursuline College for women and Bellarmine College for men begin “coordination program” as a mutual pooling of resources to offer the best instruction and facilities at each institution while avoiding a duplication of services. The Courier Journal states it is a better break for college students and an experiment worth watching. Several sources say the idea of shared resources and the exchange of students is “Ahead of Its Time.”

1968 – The 1,100th woman graduates from Ursuline College. Ursuline College and Bellarmine College merge to form a co-ed college, called Bellarmine-Ursuline College for three years before the name reverts to Bellarmine College then is permanently changed to Bellarmine University.

Ursuline College Fields of Study

  • Business
  • Education
  • Fine Arts
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Medical Technology
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Special Education
  • Theology

Presidents of Ursuline College

1938 – 1944
Mother Roberta Zehe, B.A.
1944 – 1950
Mother Rosalin Schaeffer, M.A.
1950 – 1956
Mother Columbia Ishanski, M.A.
Mother Cosma Coponi, B.A.
1962- 1964
Sister Concetta Waller, Ph.D
1964 – 1968
Sister Angelice Seibert, Ph.D.

Deans of Ursuline College

1938 – 1940
Sister Dominica Hettinger, Ph.D. First Dean of Ursuline College who played a major role in strengthening Sacred Heart Junior College and establishing Sacred Heart Model School.
1940 – 1947
Sister Angela VanNatta, M.A.
Sister George Marie Long, M. A.
1952 – 1959
Sister Raymond Carter, Ph.D.
Sister Madeleine Andriot, Ph.D