"Indeed, there is a spirit that walks these hills." — President Donald Cowan
The charter of the University of Dallas dates from 1910 when the Vincentian Fathers took that name for the Holy Trinity College they had founded five years earlier. Holy Trinity College closed in 1928 and the charter was placed with the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. In 1955, the Western Province of the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur obtained it for the purpose of operating a new institution in Dallas that would absorb their junior college in Fort Worth, Our Lady of Victory. The Sisters, together with laymen Eugene Constantin, Jr. and Edward R. Maher, Sr., induced Bishop Thomas K. Gorman to have the diocese assume sponsorship of the new institution with ownership by its Board of Trustees.
Bishop Gorman announced that the University would be a four year co-educational institution welcoming students of all faiths and races, and offering work on the undergraduate level with a graduate school to be added as soon as practicable. The University opened its doors to 96 degree-seeking students in September 1956, on a 1,000 acre tract of rolling hills northwest of the city of Dallas which is now part of Irving/Las Colinas.
Members of the Cistercian Order and the Sisters of Saint Mary, together with three Franciscan fathers and a number of laymen, comprised the original faculty of the University of Dallas. Dominican priests joined the faculty in 1958 and established Albert the Great Priory. The School Sisters of Notre Dame came in 1962. Today the faculty has become largely lay and counts numerous distinguished scholars among its members.
Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools came in 1963 and has been reaffirmed regularly. Significant honors have been won by University graduates since the first graduating class in 1960, including Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson awards for graduate studies. In 1989, UD became the youngest school in the century to be awarded a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
A $7.5 million dollar grant from the Blakley-Braniff Foundation established the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts in 1966. The Constantin Foundation similarly endowed the undergraduate college and in 1970 the Board of Trustees named the undergraduate college the Constantin College of Liberal Arts.
The Graduate School of Management, established in 1966, offers one of the largest MBA programs in the Southwest. Influential programs in art and English also began in 1966. In 1973, the Institute of Philosophic Studies, the doctoral program of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts was initiated. The School of Ministry began in 1987. The College of Business, incorporating Graduate School of Management and undergraduate business, opened in 2003.
On June 11, 1994, the University dedicated permanent facilities for its Rome Program that began in 1970. The 12-acre Eugene Constantin Campus, also known as Due Santi, is located near Albano, Italy (15 kilometers from the heart of Rome).
Today the University enrolls more than 3,000 students from all over the United States and the world, divided roughly into 1,300 undergraduates and 1,700 graduate students. The University continues to thrive and contemplates the future with confidence. As the late President Donald Cowan often said, “Indeed, there is a spirit that walks these hills.”