Holy Names University was originally established by the Sisters of the Holy Names, a Roman Catholic backed teaching order brought down to Oakland, California to establish a school in 1868. Then known as the Convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heath, it was an all girls school meant for teacher training.
Time has passed since then and as the world changed, so did Holy Names. The educational environment blossomed and graduate programs were introduced by the mid-1900s, which also saw the first time men were admitted to the school, though not in an undergrad capacity until 1971 when it officially became Holy Names College (graduating to university status in 2004).
Today, Holy Names operates on a lush 60 acre campus in the wooded Oakland Hills (it was moved from its original Lake Merritt location in 1957), offering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees to about 1200 coeds (actually, 2010 had an all-time high for the school with 1218 total students, filling their residence halls to its 350 person capacity). Commended for its diversity, Holy Names brings in students from 22 states and 21 nations, offers adult education programs (with great returning student programs), and encourages students to have at least one semester abroad during their time there.
Holy Names offers 19 Bachelor programs, another 8 Master’s, and five more degree completion programs, with popular subjects trending towards Business and Psychology. Their mission of providing a “liberal education rooted in the Catholic tradition” has helped them maintain consistently high rankings in college circles and they have received the highest accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Close relationships with educators are a valued ideal at Holy Names, with a low 13:1 student faculty ratio, as well as teachers who overwhelming hold the highest degrees in their fields (91%).
Online programs do exist in congruence with class work in many areas, all to allow for students to take the classes they need to graduate in timely fashion. Some majors involve more online work than others, as with the Dual Master’s Degree in Forensic Mental Health Nursing, where 61 credits are completed through a hybrid of once a month going to class Thursday-Sunday (primarily for the 31 credits towards the MSN half) and online courses that cover the 30 forensic credits (towards the Master of Forensic Psychology). They have an extensive degree completion program for adults, which meet on evenings and weekends to help with an adult’s busy work/life schedule, helping them finally get Bachelor degrees in popular majors like Business and Psychology, or even moving from an RN to a Bachelor of Nursing degree (accelerated formats for most classes are available and clinical are conducted at agreed upon areas close to the student). Often these adult education and accelerated formats will also use hybrid formats, but more often assignments and information are delivered through the Internet, rather than comprehensive online classes and intensive web interactions. There is no entirely online degree program currently offered.
The close-knit community afforded by its forested location creates a “supportive environment that allows for rigorous learning and personal development”, one that the school uses for to train students for “leadership and service”, Catholic attributes necessary in a “complex world”.