St. Ursula Academy's history reaches back to December 1854 when four Ursuline nuns arrived in Toledo, Ohio from neighboring Cleveland. Four days after their arrival, classes began in the convent on Cherry Street when the nuns opened their doors to 200 children of all ages and grade levels. In 1859 the nuns moved into a new convent and academy located on Cherry and Erie Streets.
Records show that the early curriculum included courses in English, German, French, history, art, music, natural sciences, mathematics, cooking and sewing. Mainly residential, the school included two departments: elementary and collegiate. The collegiate department consisted of six classes to be completed in six years, two preparatory and two collegiate. The excellence of the educational program secured a charter from the Ohio Department of Education with the privilege of granting degrees on the highest level. The first St. Ursula Academy commencement was held on July 8, 1873 with the exercises lasting the entire day.
At the close of the nineteenth century, the St. Ursula Academy Alumnae Association came into being with the first officers elected in January of 1900. The organization initiated a series of cultural and social activities, which brought together the graduates and their former teachers. From its inception the Alumnae Association was an active member of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae.
The turn of the century also marked the purchase of property on Collingwood Boulevard, where the school relocated in 1905 after a local architect, Mr. E.O. Fallis, created plans for a new convent and academy. St. Ursula Academy opened its doors at the Collingwood location on September 4, 1905. The first commencement exercises in the auditorium took place on June 25, 1906.
In 1919, the St. Ursula Academy Student League, the forerunner of the present Student Council, was organized to unify religious, social, and intellectual activities at the Academy.
With the growth of Mary Manse College, which opened its doors in 1922, the Ursuline Community decided once again to move the school, this time to a property on Indian Road purchased from Frank J. Linnenkugel. The architectural firm of Britsch, Macelwane, Lubeck and Poseler was chosen to design the new building. Ground breaking took place on July 16, 1958 and the building was officially opened for classes in 1959. The building was dedicated on December 10, 1959. To further meet the needs of its students, St. Ursula Academy expanded it campus in 2000, with the addition of the Mary Ann LaValley Activities Center, which added four new classrooms, athletic offices, a state-of-the-art field house, fitness center and a dance studio.
From residential to day school, from Cherry Street to Collingwood to Indian Road, St. Ursula Academy has developed and flourished during its long history in Toledo, but its focus remains the same: to educate young women of today for tomorrow.