The full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, but students, scholars, and sports fans around the US know it as just LSU. Founded in 1853, LSU was originally a military college (its first superintendent was William Tecumseh Sherman, who would resign and return to the Union when Louisiana seceded at the beginning of the Civil War). After surviving the Civil War, the college was destroyed in a fire and moved to its current location, Baton Rouge, where it became LSU in 1877. Today, LSU is the flagship of the Louisiana State University System, and is ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report as a top-tier university, and one of the top 75 public universities in the US.
Academic ProgramsLSU is central to research and learning in Louisiana, especially in STEM and professional fields; the university awards 25% of all bachelor’s degrees in the state, almost as many graduate degrees (22%), and an incredible 61% of all doctoral degrees in Louisiana. Two of LSU’s professional schools, including the Ourso College of Business and the Herbert Law Center, are among the most decorated and highest-ranked schools in their field, while the two LSU Health Sciences Center campuses are key players in Louisiana’s healthcare system. And LSU’s students can be assured of success thanks to the Center for Academic Success, one of only two designated Centers of Excellence by the National College Learning Center Association, marking LSU as one of the best universities in the nation for student support.
As a major, R1 Carnegie Classification research institution (the highest order of research), LSU is a land, sea, and space-grant university noted not only for its cutting-edge studies, but for it economic impact and service. LSU’s scholars and researchers have accomplished significant discoveries and development in areas as different as agriculture, marine biology, energy, and communications; LSU is also the #1 Landscape Architecture program in the nation. LSU has also earned Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification due to its work in the Baton Rouge area, and the state of Louisiana in general, from service learning to medical and legal outreach.
Student LifeWith more than 30,000 students, LSU is highly diverse, with sizable African-American and Hispanic/Latino student populations. A high percentage of Pell Grant recipients indicates a high level of economic diversity, but LSU’s affordable tuition ensures that LSU graduates have a far lower student debt rate than the national average – only a 4.3% default rate, 400% lower than average. Students have more than 350 official student-led organizations and clubs to build community and develop their professional networks, including honor societies, recreational clubs, and cultural/ethnic groups. Nearly 40 fraternities and sororities make for one of the most vibrant Greek scenes in the US.
LSU is nationally known for athletics, with the LSU Tigers competing in 21 NCAA Division I varsity sports – 9 men’s sports, and 12 women’s sports. The Tigers are one of the most successful championship-winning teams in the nation – #6 for overall national championships wins, including baseball, basketball, and football. Tiger Stadium has the distinct nickname “Deaf Valley” for the legendary loudness of the crowd. On the flip side, LSU is one of the most literary of universities; the Southern Review, founded by iconic poet Robert Penn Warren, is one of the most respected literary journals in the world, while the LSU Press is a nationally-renowned scholarly publisher.