Loras College Removes a Statue of Its Slave-Owning Founder

Loras College, a liberal arts institution affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church in Dubuque, Iowa, is named for Bishop Mathias Loras. The college was originally called the St. Raphael Seminary but was renamed to honor the first Catholic Bishop of Dubuque.

The college enrolls slightly more than 1,400 students, according to the latest data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 3 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Recently the college learned from a researcher who studied the bishop’s financial ledgers that Loras purchased an enslaved woman named Marie Louise in Mobile, Alabama. Loras enslaved the woman from 1836 to 1852.

The college removed a statue of Bishop Loras from a prominent place on campus and has put the statue in storage. A scholarship fund has been created to honor Marie Louise.

In a statement, Jim Collins president of Loras College, wrote that “Bishop Loras’ abhorrent conduct is antithetical to the mission, vision, values, and Catholic identity of this institution. Further, there is no evidence that Bishop Loras ever expressed remorse for his actions.”

The college has decided not to consider a name change. President Collins explains that “the educational experience beloved by our alumni, students, and faculty is not defined by the man. The ideals to which we aspire are and have always been far greater. The college will retain its name while we focus our energy and resources on accelerating and expanding efforts to advance human dignity, diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, and especially among our leadership, administration, and faculty. We know there is much work to do.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Report Established by State Senator Art Haywood Uncovers Racism in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

"Ultimately, Pennsylvania's leaders and institutions should respect the dignity of all students," says Senator Art Haywood. "The work to ensure that dignity is intact for Pennsylvania's Students of Color continues with this report in hopes that one day the work will no longer be required."

Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman Appointed President of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

"I appreciate the support I have received from my faculty and trainee colleagues here at UC San Diego along with colleagues from around the world," says Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman. "Together we will work to advance our field and our reach, improving patient outcomes and eliminating health disparities."

Rate of Black Homeownership in America Remains Virtually Unchanged Since 2012

The National Association of Realtors has found that although homeownership rates in American are steadily increasing, the rate of Black homeownership has experienced significantly less growth than White, Asian, and Hispanic homeownership since 2012.

Safiya George Named President of the University of the Virgin Islands

“As a servant leader, I am confident I will be an effective President for the University of the Virgin Islands and will remain humble and grounded with a sincere desire to improve outcomes and the lives of students, faculty, staff, and the community," says Safiya George, who will assume the role of president of the University of the Virgin Islands this summer.

Featured Jobs