Facts at a Glance

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The University

California Lutheran University is a selective, comprehensive institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences and professional fields. Mentored by dedicated and accomplished faculty members, students pursue their passion and discover their purpose as they seek to grow as individuals.

California Lutheran College was founded in 1959 on a ranch donated by Richard Pederson, the son of Norwegian immigrants. The college opened its doors to 330 students in September 1961 and held its first Commencement in May 1964.


The mission of the university is to educate leaders for a global society who are strong in character and judgment, confident in their identity and vocation, and committed to service and justice. 


  • Total:3,615
  • Undergraduate:2,513
  • Graduate:1,102

Students come from 40 states and 59 countries and represent a diversity of faiths and cultures. Of traditional undergraduate students, 48% live on campus. Average class size for all programs is 14.


The 225-acre campus is located midway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, just 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean nestled against the hills in Thousand Oaks. Off-site centers are located in Woodland Hills, Westlake Village, Oxnard and Santa Maria. Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is located in Berkeley. More about our locations

Affiliations and Accreditations

  • Cal Lutheran is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  • The Graduate School of Education is authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to offer credentials.
  • The Graduate School of Psychology's Doctor of Clinical Psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.
  • The School of Management is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
  • Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools.

More about accreditation

Cal Lutheran is a member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the Council of Independent Colleges. Its program in Financial Planning has been registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.

Cal Lutheran is one of 26 colleges and universities affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The university’s intercollegiate athletic programs compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, NCAA Division III.

Cal Lutheran has been designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, which makes the university eligible for grants to benefit its growing Latino population and other students.


  • Full-time:182
  • Part-time:247

Of the full-time faculty members, 88% have earned their doctorate or terminal degree.

Staff and Administrators

  • Full-time:362
  • Part-time:


Administrative Leadership

  • President: Lori E. Varlotta, PhD
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Leanne Neilson, PsyD
  • Vice President for University Advancement: Regina Biddings-Muro, EdD
  • Vice President for Talent, Culture and Diversity: Cristallea K. Buchanan. MS
  • Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance: Rick Ysasi
  • Vice President for Mission and Identity: Melissa Maxwell-Doherty '77, MDiv '81
  • Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students: Melinda Roper, EdD
  • Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success: Matthew Ward, PhD

Academic Leadership

  • Dean of the School of Management: Gerhard Apfelthaler, PhD
  • Dean of the School for Professional and Continuing Studies: Lisa Buono, EdD
  • Dean of the Graduate School of Education: Michael Hillis, PhD
  • Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology: Rick Holigrocki, PhD
  • Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences: Timothy C. Hengst, MA
  • Dean of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary: The Rev. Alicia Vargas, PhD
  • Chair of the Faculty Senate: Michael Hart, DMA

Academic Programs

Cal Lutheran offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs through the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Psychology, School for Professional and Continuing Studies and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. There are 40 majors and 43 minors offered in the traditional undergraduate program. The Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program offers degrees in eight majors. Graduate programs include doctorates in educational leadership, higher education leadership, clinical psychology and theology; and master’s degrees in education, psychology, business, economics, information technology, public policy and administration, and divinity. More program information

Athletic Programs

Cal Lutheran’s intercollegiate athletic teams compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) and the NCAA Division III. Men’s teams compete in baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo. Women’s teams compete in basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo. Junior varsity teams compete in men’s and women’s basketball, men's and women’s soccer, baseball and women's volleyball. CLUsports.com


  • Lori E. Varlotta, PhD, 2020-Present
  • Chris Kimball, PhD, 2008-2020
  • John R. Sladek, PhD, 2006-2007
  • Luther S. Luedtke, PhD, 1992-2006
  • Jerry Miller, DD, 1981-1992
  • Mark Mathews, DBA, 1972-1980
  • Raymond Olson, DD, 1963-1971
  • Orville Dahl, EdD, 1959-1962


  • 1959 — California Lutheran College founded
  • 1961 — First students arrive
  • 1964 — First class graduates
  • 1972 — First master’s degrees granted
  • 1986 — Renamed California Lutheran University
  • 1994 — KCLU Radio launched as a community service
  • 2006 — First doctoral degrees granted
  • 2014 — Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary welcomed
  • 2016 — Designated Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education


Parking is free throughout campus. Street parking is by permit only Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitor parking is available in the parking lots on Mountclef Boulevard north and south of Olsen Road.


California Lutheran University
60 West Olsen Road 
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360-2700

Telephone Numbers

  • Undergraduate Admission Office: 805-493-3135, Fax: 805-493-3645
  • Graduate Admission Office: 805-493-3127 or 888-CLU-GRAD


Additional Information