OUR LADY OF VICTORY COLLEGE
OUR LADY OF VICTORY COLLEGE. When the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur opened their first convent and school in Texas on October 1, 1873, at the invitation of the Bishop of Galveston, Claude Marie Dubuis, they had been in the United States for only ten years. The order had sent a small contingent of sisters to Buffalo, New York, in 1863. By 1885, when they were invited to establish a school in Fort Worth by Bishop Nicholas A. Gallagher and the pastor of St. Stanislaus Church, Rev. Jean Marie Guyot, the sisters had founded schools in Corsicana, Denison, and Sherman. St. Ignatius Academy in Fort Worth was quite successful, and by 1908 the sisters had chosen a twenty-six-acre site for a new and enlarged school on South Hemphill Street. Our Lady of Victory College and Academy opened officially on September 12, 1910, with seventy-two students, thirty-one of whom were to board in the recently completed five-story building. The curriculum included English, German, Latin, and French, science, religion, art, elocution, and physical education. In 1911 the school was chartered by the State of Texas and empowered to grant degrees. Three years later it was affiliated with the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and in 1921 with the University of Texas.
The first college-level courses were offered to the order's novices in 1922, a year after Our Lady of Victory had begun to serve as the location of the motherhouse of the Western Province of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. In 1929 the college became affiliated with the Southern Association of Universities and Colleges; in the following year laywomen were admitted to the college, and a regular junior college curriculum was implemented. In 1931 Our Lady of Victory College was approved for membership by the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities. In addition to classics, mathematics, and languages, by 1944 the college offered chemistry, zoology, biology, botany, and bacteriology. St. Joseph's School of Nursing was affiliated with Our Lady of Victory from 1935 to 1956. By the latter year several new buildings had been added to the campus, including a Home Economics Annex and a Campus House with recreational and dining facilities.
In 1954 Thomas K. Gorman, Bishop of Dallas-Fort Worth, had approved a request by the order's superior, Mother Theresa Weber, to establish a new, enlarged college for women in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. Within a few months, however, the decision was made to establish an entirely new, coeducational, liberal arts university that would resurrect the title University of Dallas. The new college, which opened on a 1,000-acre site in Irving in September 1956, had four sisters of St. Mary of Namur on its first faculty. The new Our Lady of Victory College remained in operation through the 1957–58 academic year and was then, in effect, incorporated into the new university.
Sister Teresa Anne Davis, The Development of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Dallas, Texas, 1869–1949 (M.A. thesis, Catholic University of America, 1950). Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 2, 1984. Texas Catholic, October 8, 1960. Donald W. Whisenhunt, The Encyclopedia of Texas Colleges and Universities (Austin: Eakin, 1986).