Ursuline College is celebrating 142-years of educating women and we, the Ursuline community, have much to be grateful for despite what mother nature delivered campus this past July. Let’s take a look back at our legacy from the beginning.
The College was founded in downtown Cleveland, Ohio near East 6th and Euclid Avenue in 1871. Now in at its fifth location, Lander Road in Pepper Pike, the College has grown in community and space as well as changed scenery from an urban to suburban landscape.
A portion of the property for the Pepper Pike campus was purchased in 1929 while additional land was bought in 1949. The College has approxiamtely 78 acres and adjoins property owned by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland.
Many of the early buildings, including The Mullen Academic Building, the Fritzsche Center, the Dauby Science Center and Grace Hall, were designed by local architect, Peter Van Dyke. Several other buildings were built over time including Murphy Hall, Wasmer Gallery Besse Library, Pilla Student Learning Center and Smith Hall. The serenity of the campus is reflected in the architecture of the buildings and the beautiful lake that shines in the middle of the campus.
The O’Brien Athletic Center was completed in 1974 and it included a recreational gymnasium and swimming pool, classrooms, locker room and a lounge. When the College started an athletic program in 2000, a training room and another locker room were added along with the renovation of space for a fitness center and offices for coaches.
Ursuline entered a new athletic era as a member of NCAA Division II in July 2013 – a status the College held for six days until a tornado swept through campus July 20. Thankfully there was no human injury or loss of life. The gymnasium was the storm’s victim, as it collapsed the entire West wall of the building and tore off much of the roof. There was also significant damage to the fitness center, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, and the swimming pool and the pool roof.
Undaunted, the College continues to move forward. Athletes arrived on campus in mid-August and the entire student body arrived shortly after to begin the Fall 2013 semester. Upon returning to campus, students were able to eat in the newly renovated Pilla Dining Center.
The months of August and September have been remarkably upbeat in the midst of very unusual conditions. Temporarily scattered in many gymnasiums and work out facilities in the area, coaches and athletes are excited for the future as their dreams of a brand new athletic facility begin to take shape. The future looks bright for Ursuline College and its athletic program.
There is much work to be done. Once the settlement is known from the insurance company, the College will decide what to build and how much money must be raised.
For more information, please keep up with the blog. To find out how to help or to donate to the Ursuline College Rebuilding Fund, visit ursuline.edu/rebuild.
Kevin Gladstone is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Ursuline College.