Since 1871, Ursuline College has been dedicated to deepening the intellectual and spiritual lives of its students.
The history of the College is a part of the history of the Ursuline Sisters who came to Cleveland in 1850 from their native France to establish the first religious teaching community in Cleveland.
Recognizing the special need for an institution of higher education for women, Mother Mary of the Annunciation Beaumont, the first superior of the Cleveland Ursulines, and the foundress of Ursuline College, obtained a charter from the state of Ohio to establish a college "to confer, on the recommendation of the faculty, such degrees and honors as are conferred by colleges and universities in the United States." Ursuline College thus became one of the first Catholic women's colleges in the United States organized and chartered explicitly for the purpose of college education.
Ursuline College was also the first chartered Catholic college for women in Ohio. Enrollment was open to the public of all races and creeds who qualified scholastically. As the city expanded, a move from downtown Cleveland to other locations was necessary. On the Overlook campus, (1926-1966) enrollment more than tripled.
The relocation of the College in 1966 to the new site in suburban Pepper Pike culminated a ten-year planning program inaugurated by Mother Marie Sands, O.S.U., then President of the College.
In 1968, the College was separately incorporated as an independent, non-profit organization with the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland continuing to serve as the institution's religious sponsor. In January, 1969, the Board of Trustees for the College was formed.
In July, 1975, the Division of Nursing of Saint John College of Cleveland transferred to Ursuline College and became the Ursuline Center for Nursing. Today, it is one of the three academic schools: Breen School of Nursing, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Graduate Studies and Professional Studies.
In 1982, Ursuline College began offering graduate programs with the inauguration of a Masters of Arts in Educational Administration. Today, the College also offers graduate study in Art Therapy and Counseling, Education, Historic Preservation, Liberal Studies, Ministry, Business Management and Nursing.
Also in 1997 Ursuline College began offering an accelerated nursing degree program for working adults (UCAP). Ursuline College also has an accelerated degree program for students who already have a bachelor's degree but are interested in earning a BSN degree. Over the years
, Ursuline College has anticipated the changes in women's careers and developed programs to meet their evolving needs. With a mission
rooted in tradition, women are heard and valued at Ursuline College.