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Holy Names University

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Title: Holy Names University  
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Subject: Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, California, Holy Names Hawks, Fresno Pacific Sunbirds, Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
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Holy Names University

Holy Names University
Motto Honor. Nobilitas. Virtus.
Motto in English Honor, Nobility, Virtue.
Established 1868
Type private, non-profit, coeducational since 1971
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic (Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary)
Endowment $11.2 million[1]
President Dr. William Hynes, Ph.D.
Academic staff 210
Students 1,353
Undergraduates 890
Postgraduates 463
Location Oakland, California, US
Campus urban: 60 acres (24 ha)
Former names Convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
College of Holy Names
Athletics NCAA Division IIPacWest
Nickname Hawks
Mascot Hawks
Affiliations ACCU

Holy Names University is a private, coeducational university located in Oakland, California. It is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and is administered by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.


Convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Oakland's Lake Merritt, 1884
The university was originally established as the Convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1868 by six members of the Sisters of the Holy Names, a teaching order from Quebec, Canada. They were invited to Oakland by Father Michael King, pastor of Saint Mary's Church to establish a school for girls and to provide means to train future teachers.

The original site of the convent was on the shores of [4] The school took its present name on May 10, 2004 and became known as the "newest Catholic university in California."[5]


Holy Names University is located on a wooded, sixty-acre site in the Oakland Hills about 2.5 miles southeast of the Montclair district.[6] To the north of campus lies the neighborhood of Woodminster, and the City of Oakland's 500 acre Joaquin Miller Park. To the southeast, Holy Names' campus is flanked with the Crestmont neighborhood to the east, and the Redwood Heights neighborhood is to the west across the Warren Freeway. Redwood Regional Park, part of the East Bay Regional Park District, lies about 2.2 miles east on Redwood Road.


San Francisco Bay Area architect Milton T. Pflueger, younger brother of the renowned architect Timothy L. Pflueger, designed the mid-century modern campus buildings, which were constructed from 1955-1958,[7] and dedicated in 1957.[8] Milton Pflueger designed many campus buildings at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, but Holy Names is the only complete campus he designed.[8] The first buildings constructed included Michael and Maureen Hester Administration, the Paul J. Cushing Library, the Tobin Gymnasium, and McLean Chapel.[8] The hillside location inspired a linear plan, with low-roofed buildings nestled along the slope.[7] The site features panoramic views across the San Francisco Bay from San Jose on the San Francisco Peninsula to Mount Tamalpais on the Marin Peninsula.[8]

The Valley Center for the Performing Arts was constructed in 1994,[2] in the former location of the tennis courts. It houses two separate theatres; large audiences up to 390 can be accommodated in the Regents’ Theatre, while smaller groups use the Studio Theatre with movable seating for up to 125 participants.[9]


McLean Chapel, Holy Names University
HNU maintains small class sizes, with a student to faculty ratio of 13:1, and 90 percent of the faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.[10] In 2006, for the third year in a row, US News and World Report rated Holy Names University a "best value" among universities that do not offer doctorates on the West Coast. Fifty-one percent of the incoming freshmen in the fall of 2006 were first generation college students and the student body represents 36 nations. U.S. News and World Report also ranked HNU as the most diverse university in the West in 2013. This same year, Holy Names University earned the highest diversity index score of all the colleges and universities included in the magazine’s multiple diversity rankings.[11]

The university offers nineteen undergraduate degree programs,[12] and five adult degree completion programs,[13] including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree awarded by Samuel Merritt University, in a partnership whereby HNU offers the liberal arts and science courses and Samuel Merritt offers the nursing courses.[14] It added an LVN to BSN degree in 2010.[15]

HNU offers seven master's degree programs[16] in addition to a teacher education program leading to a California teacher's credential.[17] Graduate degrees offered include several business degree concentrations[18] (MBA with concentrations in energy and environment, finance, management and leadership, marketing, or sports management), counseling psychology (MA), education (EdD and credentials), English (MA), music (MA), and nursing (MSN/MBA, MSN).[19] The university added a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology in 2006.[20]

Library Services

The Paul J. Cushing Library is a two-story facility with a distinctive vaulted ceiling and exceptional daylight on the main level. Its architectural design mirrors the campus chapel. The library provides the Holy Names community a full suite of electronic and traditional books and journals, as well as a wide range of gadgets and devices faculty and staff can check out. Library team members offer instruction to every department. The library regularly offers special events such as art exhibits, book talks, film showings, and lunchtime piano recitals. A popular spot for studying, the library averages more than 6,000 walk-ins per month.


HNU Athletics was established in 1994 and is an integral part of the university, having positive impacts on hundreds of students in its nearly two decades; realizing success through intercollegiate competition, academic pursuits, and an emphasis on the full development of one’s potential. The Hawks compete in the Pacific West Conference which is the largest NCAA Division II conference in the Western region. The university offers 14 varsity athletic teams:

  • Women's Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball
  • Men's Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, and Volleyball

Center for Social Justice and Civic Engagement

Fifty-one percent of the incoming freshmen in the fall of 2006 were first generation college students and the student body represents 36 nations.[10] U.S. News and World Report also ranked HNU as the most diverse university in the West in 2013. This same year, Holy Names University earned the highest diversity index score of all the colleges and universities included in the magazine’s multiple diversity rankings.

Recent Commencement Speakers

The HNU commencement ceremony is held annually in the Corrigan Courtyard. Recent speakers include (in chronological order) Menbere Aklilu, Dr. Keith Devlin, Gwen Ifill, Sr. Helen Prejean, Nicole Taylor, and Dr. Gary Yee.


  • Dean Peterson, Director of The Missoula Symphony Chorale and Hellgate High School Choirs
  • Agnieszka Winker, Founder of The Winkler Group; McCall and ADWEEK “Woman Advertiser of the Year” and author of Warp Speed Branding [22]
  • Paul Conyers-Norris, Business Development manager, Petrochem Insulation, 2009-2010 Back to Back Dodgeball Champion, HNU men's volleyball all-time leader in assists. Married to former HNU Women's Volleyball player Erica Norris. He chose to take her last name.
  • Belo Cipriani, author of Blind: A Memoir; Cipriani is also Holy Names University's 2012–2014 writer-in-residence.
  • Soraya Wright, Vice President of Global Risk Management at The Clorox Company
  • Zac Sewitsky, regional finalist on TLC's "America's Next Great Stenographer" and author of One of the Pack: My Winter with the Alaskan Gray Wolves

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2011. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 17, 2012. p. 22. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Holy Names University - HNU History
  3. ^ Flickr - photo of Henry Kaiser accepting commemorative plaque from Alumni circa 1957
  4. ^ Julia Morgan School for Girls - Where a Girl's Imagination Can Soar!
  5. ^ Holy Names University's Founders' Day
  6. ^ Google Maps
  7. ^ a b Dinkelspiel Cerny, Susan (2007). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Gibbs Smith.  
  8. ^ a b c d Pflueger, Milton; John Pflueger (1986). Time and Tim Remembered. Pflueger Architects.  
  9. ^ Oakland 2010 Mayoral Forum, Hosts
  10. ^ Holy Names University - HNU At a Glance
  11. ^
  12. ^ Holy Names University - Undergraduate Programs
  13. ^ Holy Names University Degree Completion Programs for Adults
  14. ^ Holy Names University - HNU/Samuel Merritt University Generic Nursing Program
  15. ^ Holy Names University - Degree Completion Programs for Adults > LVN/BSN
  16. ^ Holy Names University - Graduate Programs
  17. ^ Holy Names University Teaching Credential - Multiple and Single Subject
  18. ^ Holy Names University MBA Program
  19. ^ "Graduate Programs". Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  20. ^ Holy Names University Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology In 2014, HNU will offer a RN-MSN program.
  21. ^ UK Parliament - Alphabetical List of Members
  22. ^ The Winkler Group Team

External links

  • Official website
  • Official athletics website
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