| Southern University at New Orleans was founded as a branch unit of Southern University and A&M College by the Louisiana Legislature in 1956. On September 21, 1959, SUNO opened its doors with 158 freshmen, one building, and a motivated faculty of fifteen. The University’s leader was Dr. Emmett W. Bashful, who remained chancellor until 1987.
Over the years several events have affected SUNO. In 1960, the Louisiana Legislature adopted Amendment 26, an act which prescribed that SUNO should remain an extension of Southern University; and in 1975, management of SUNO was transferred from the Louisiana State Board of Education to the newly-created Southern University System Board of Supervisors.
The other events which dramatically affected the University were Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Levee breaches from around New Orleans caused the University to be inundated with more than eleven feet of water. Despite projections that fewer than half of the pre-Katrina enrollment of 3,600 students would return to campus, SUNO welcomed more than 2,000 students back to school.
By 2010, SUNO had distinguished itself as Louisiana’s fastest growing four-year institution in the post-Katrina era by replenishing more than 90% of its pre-Katrina enrollment. Armed with a new Lake Campus, new academic programs, and new buildings with more in development, Southern University at New Orleans continues to serve as example of citywide, community, and institutional resilience.