UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
Main building, University of Deseret, 1884
Originally named the University of Deseret, the University of Utah is the
oldest state university west of the Missouri River. Founded in Salt Lake
City on 28 February 1850, the school's first term - for men only - in November
of 1850. The second term was opened to both women and men. At the end of
the third term in 1852, classes were discontinued because of lack of funds.
The University was partially reopened primarily as a business school in
1867, and reestablished completely by 1869. The University was housed several
places in Salt Lake City until 1884, at which time the school moved to the
site of West High School. The first official commencement was held in 1886
when ten normal and two bachelor degrees were conferred. By 1900 enrollment
had grown to 400 students, and B.A. and B.S. degrees were offered in classical,
scientific, and normal programs.
The institution's name was changed from the University of Deseret to the
University of Utah in 1894, and Congress granted sixty acres of Fort Douglas
land on the east bench to the school. Classes opened on this site 1 October
Thirty-two more acres of land from Fort Douglas were annexed to the campus
in 1904, and during the 1920s new classrooms and an athletic stadium were
constructed. Programs established the early part of the twentieth century
included authorizing masters degrees, opening a two-year medical school,
organizing an extension division, and establishing a law school.
During World War I, a Department of Military Science and Tactics was developed.
Military drill was compulsory for able male students and women had to participate
in some form of war- preparedness work. The student army training corp was
organized and regular ROTC instruction began. Enrollment increased from
1,029 in 1918, to 1,638 in 1920, and continued to increase from 2,910 in
1922, to 3,600 in 1932.
In the 1930s, sixty-one additional acres from Fort Douglas were deeded to
the university. New buildings included a field house and central library,
partially constructed with Public Works Administration funds. The Great
Depression of the 1930s saw budget cuts of as much as fifty percent. Faculty
and staff salaries were reduced, and normal advancements in rank and salary
were eliminated. Needy students secured assistance from the Federal Emergency
Relief Administration and the State Emergency Administration. A placement
bureau was organized to serve employers and graduating students.
Professional courses in social work were introduced in the 1930s which led
to the establishment of the Graduate School of Social Work. The advanced
training of nurses developed in the School of Education until the establishment
of the College of Nursing. Freshman and sophomore years were separated into
lower division devoted primarily to general education. Specialization was
required in the upper division junior and senior years.
The Experiment Station of the School of Mines, the Biological Survey of
Utah, the Geological Survey of Utah, and the Bureau of Economic and Business
Research were organized. A full-scale graduate curriculum was obtained by
the mid-1940s. The College of Medicine, now a four-year school, graduated
its first class in 1944.
During World War II, all first-year civilian males were required to take
a course in military science and tactics. Courses on the economics and philosophy
of war were taught, and the physical education requirements were increased
to meet the demands of military programs. A four-quarter schedule of classes
was adopted to facilitate training doctors, engineers, and technicians for
the military services.
The years following World War II saw classes scheduled from 7:00 A.M. to
10:00 P.M.; temporary buildings renovated for dormitories, classrooms, and
offices; new faculty hired; and the further acquisition of Fort Douglas
land. Schools were converted into colleges and new colleges were created.
Improvements in curriculum, faculty, and facilities were made to meet the
accreditation standards of the various professions. Interdisciplinary programs
gave rise to institutes and centers.
The first football and track teams were organized in 1892, and the first
paid coach hired in 1900. Besides football and track, early athletics included
tennis, basketball, field hockey, and skiing. Intramural teams in 1990 number
more than seventy, and there are clubs for rugby, lacrosse, ski racing,
and other team sports. Intercollegiate teams compete in Division I of the
NCAA. In men's and women's skiing and in women's gymnastics, the university's
teams have won national championships. In football, basketball, tennis,
and swimming, the regular placement of teams at first or second place in
conference ratings has come to be expected, and nationally ranked teams
are occasionally fielded.
In 1963 the Legislature funded a program a new construction, and for many
years the campus was constantly under construction. Today, there are 225
buildings on the 1,500-acre campus. Enrollment increased from 11,515 in
1960, to 14,364 in 1983, to 23,500 students in 1990.
The University of Utah's regular and auxiliary faculty are among the nation's
most prolific researchers. The University has research connections worldwide
and ranks among the top twenty-five American colleges and universities in
funded research. In 1970 the University acquired land immediately adjacent
to the campus and developed a research park, which in 1990 houses fifty-seven
companies many of which grew out of faculty research.
Degrees are offered in sixty-four undergraduate and ninety graduate-level
subjects as well as more than fifty teaching major and minors. There is
currently a teaching faculty of 1,355 members, with a large support staff.
Present-day campus organizations include orchestras, bands, jazz combos,
an opera ensemble, and several choral, chamber, dance, and theatre groups.
The Pioneer Memorial Theatre Company; a professional equity company; Utah
Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of Natural History; and the state Arboretum
are located on campus. The University also has a public television and radio
stations and operates a state instructional television channel. It remains
an important and vital state institution as Utah prepares to enter the twenty-first