Facts at a Glance

Founded in 1959, California Lutheran University is a private liberal arts institution based in Thousand Oaks, California.

Designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, Cal Lutheran attracts students to its undergraduate and graduate programs from across the nation and around the world with diverse backgrounds, cultures and faiths.


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Mission and Purpose

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

The specific and primary purpose is to establish and maintain an independent post-secondary institution of higher education that attracts a diverse community of teachers, learners and staff and is shaped by Lutheran educational values, specifically those associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or its successors.


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


  • 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). Its program in Financial Planning has been registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.
  • Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools.
    Learn more about our accreditation


  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
  • Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
  • Council of Independent Colleges
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, NCAA Division III
  • Hispanic-Serving Institution designation by the U.S. Department of Education


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 46 majors and 45 minors offered in the traditional undergraduate program. The Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program offers degrees in six 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.
Learn more about our programs

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.
Go to CLUsports.com


Administrative Leadership

  • Interim President: John Nunes, PhD
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Leanne Neilson, PsyD
  • Vice President for University Advancement: Regina Biddings-Muro, EdD
  • Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students: Melinda Roper, EdD
  • Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success: Matthew Ward, PhD
  • Vice President for Administration and Finance: Rick Ysasi

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 College of Arts and Sciences: Timothy C. Hengst, MA
  • Dean of the Graduate School of Education: Michael Hillis, PhD
  • Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology: Rick Holigrocki, PhD
  • Dean of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary: The Rev. Alicia Vargas, PhD
  • Chair of the Faculty Senate: Michael Hart, DMA



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*88% of full-time faculty have earned their doctorate or terminal degree

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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.


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


  • 2024-Present — John A. Nunes, PhD
  • 2020-2024 — Lori E. Varlotta, PhD
  • 2008-2020 — Chris Kimball, PhD
  • 2006-2007 — John R. Sladek, PhD
  • 1992-2006 — Luther S. Luedtke, PhD
  • 1981-1992 — Jerry Miller, DD
  • 1972-1980 — Mark Mathews, DBA
  • 1963-1971 — Raymond Olson, DD
  • 1959-1962 — Orville Dahl, EdD

Visiting Campus


Cal Lutheran's Thousand Oaks campus, between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, is complemented by satellite centers in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Westlake Village, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California.

View all locations


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

See campus map

Contact Information

Mailing Address

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



  • Undergraduate Admission:
    805-493-3135, Fax: 805-493-3645
  • Graduate Admission: