Louisiana State University began in 1860 as a small, all-male military school near Pineville. The institution survived the Civil War, Reconstruction politics, and budgetary difficulties to become a nationally and internationally recognized leader in research and teaching. A devastating fire destroyed the campus in 1869, and the school moved to Baton Rouge, where it has remained. Successive moves to larger campuses in 1887 and 1925 created greater opportunities in academics, student life, and athletics. Academics began with classical and engineering courses. New majors in the arts, literature, engineering, agriculture, and the sciences evolved, along with research in those fields. Student life changed from military regimentation to coeducation and students’ freedom to live off campus and make their own decisions. Intercollegiate athletics began in 1893 with baseball and football games against Tulane, and the LSU Tigers have since won numerous championships. These evolutionary steps all helped to create Louisiana’s flagship university.
Author Bio: Author Barry Cowan selected images from the LSU Archives and the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections in the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections at Hill Memorial Library. Cowan is the assistant archivist in the LSU Archives and is the coauthor of Historic Photos of LSU Football. He has also contributed articles to the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and KnowLA: Encyclopedia of Louisiana History, Culture, and Community and writes a column in LSU Alumni Magazine.
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