The History of Webster University
In the early days of the American frontier, poor children were forgotten when it came to education. The Sisters of Loretto, a Catholic religious organization founded in 1812, set out to offer a solution.
The Loretto Community dedicated itself to providing education to those who normally might not possess an opportunity to obtain one. It’s this mission that remains at the heart of Webster University today.
The Sisters of Loretto laid the cornerstone for Webster University on Nov. 1, 1915. Originally named Loretto College, the school was one of the first Catholic women’s colleges west of the Mississippi River. It was progressive for its time, providing higher education to women when it was not generally made available.
Loretto College opened with eight Sisters of Loretto teaching class for five students. Two students populated the first graduating class in 1919.
Five years later, in 1924, the school changed its name to Webster College to avoid confusion with Loretto Academy, a school operated by the Loretto Community on Lafayette Avenue in St. Louis. The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited Webster College the same year.
In the 1970s, few European universities offered a flexible, American-style education. Webster College sought to be one of the first. In 1978, Webster opened a campus in Geneva, Switzerland, capitalizing on the global perspective the city would add to a student’s education.
In 1999, Webster University´s Thailand Campus was open. Adding a global perspective that stretches across the Webster curriculum.