The University of Akron Timeline





PRESIDENT LUIS M. PROENZA, 1999 – present

  A nationally known spokesperson for higher education and economic development through university-based research, Luis M. Proenza is leading the University toward capturing its destiny of becoming recognized as the leading public university in northern Ohio and the public research university for northern Ohio. Through his shared leadership approach, President Proenza has engaged the University and much of the surrounding community in embracing and pursuing a new vision for the University, which is outlined in a document titled, "Charting the Course." Under his guidance, the University has undertaken a $200 million campus enhancement effort as well as aggressive enrollment management and marketing initiatives, and it has set three consecutive annual fund-raising records.
1999 The New Landscape for Learning campus development initiative is launched. With six new buildings and major expansions or renovations of 14 other structures will be completed during the next five years, two main streets that cut through campus will be closed, and 30 acres of new green space will be added.

President Proenza begins a campus-wide strategic thinking process with a two-day retreat in which more than 150 members from all segments of the University community participate.

Dr. James D. D’Ianni, an important figure in the history and development of synthetic rubber, donates $1.75 million -- the largest individual donation ever directed to the University’s research efforts.

The Center for Health and Social Policy is established.

The first annual public policy forum is held. “Innovations in State Science and Technology Practices: How State Governments Best Leverage and Drive Economic Development” draws participants from throughout the nation.
2000 Jim and Vanita Oelschlager of Oak Associates, ltd., give $10 million to the University to establish an innovative college scholarship program. It is the largest gift in the University’s 130-year history.

The market value of the University’s combined endowments exceeds $250 million.

The University establishes partnerships with seven industry leaders in information technology, including IBM, Cisco Systems, PeopleSoft and Time Warner.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation award a grant to the University to develop an outline for future revitalization of the neighborhood surrounding campus.

City of Akron officials agree to permanently close portions of Carroll and Brown/Union streets in 2001 in support of the University's New Landscape for Learning development efforts.
2001 The University's Center for Health and Social Policy receives a $13.7 million grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create a new, state-of-the-art substance abuse prevention curriculum and test it nationwide. It is the largest grant in University history.

The University posts its fourth-consecutive record year for private giving, receiving donations of more than $20 million for the first time in its history.

On June 8, the first new building of the New Landscape for Learning Plan is dedicated, the Polymer Engineering Academic Center.
2002 The National Jurist magazine names the University’s School of Law as the best value among public law schools in America.

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and The University of Akron establish a Collaborative Center in Polymer Photonics. The $2.7 million center begins development of a new generation of electronics that transmit data at the speed of light.

In September the University dedicates the College of Arts & Sciences building, one of the major academic facilities in the New Landscape for Learning plan. The Auburn Science Center Library Addition is also completed, and ground is broken for the new Student Recreation Center and Field House.

The University’s Archives of the History of American Psychology becomes the first archive in the nation to be accepted into the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Affiliations program.
2003 Phase one of the Student Union opens on Jan. 13.

The state of Ohio appropriates $750,000 for the development of The University of Akron Medina County University Center.

The Sidney R. Walker Endowed Scholarship Fund awards $1.2 million to provide scholarships to business students in entrepreneurial studies and marketing.

On April 23, the Board of Trustees approves construction of the 118,000-square-foot, $20.8 million Honors Complex — a living and learning space for University Honors Program students.

Former President Gerald R. Ford speaks on April 22 in E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

The University is chosen to co-lead one of 12 clusters in the Carnegie Academy Campus Program sponsored by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the American Association for Higher Education. The cluster is focused on improving learning and success for first-year college students.

The College of Business Administration is ranked in the top 25 of business schools with an emphasis in entrepreneurship education by Entrepreneur magazine.

On Sept. 17, the North Campus Parking Deck is dedicated, and a groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Student Affairs Building.
2004 Both National Jurist magazine and Prelaw magazine give the School of Law program an “excellent value” rating of 2.7 on a 3.0-point scale — recognizing it as one of the two top public university law programs in the United States.

The College of Business Administration is ranked in the first tier of the top 50 regional business schools in the country offering entrepreneurial education by Entrepreneur magazine.

Akron’s College of Engineering is one of 17 university teams chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Corp. to participate in the Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility competition. The goal is to re-engineer a sport-utility vehicle to sharply reduce energy consumption and emissions of pollutants while maintaining performance.

On June 30, the Community and Technical College is renamed Summit College.

The University of Akron is named one of 14 “Schools That Rule” nationwide in the September/October 2004 issue of Careers & Colleges. The magazine praises UA for its “cutting edge curriculum,” reasonable tuition, location and access to a wide variety of cultural, sports and recreational venues.

On Oct. 7-9, the University showcases the completed $300 million first phase of the New Landscape for Learning campus enhancement program. The three-day celebration includes dedications of its four newest buildings — the Student Recreation and Wellness Center/Athletic Field House, phase 2 of the Student Union, Hezzleton E. Simmons Hall (student affairs building) and the Honors Complex.

Alumnus Gary Taylor, chairman of the board of InfoCision Management Corp., donates $1.5 million to fund the Gary L. and Karen S. Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing in the College of Business Administration.

With the support of U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), Congress earmarks $1.5 million for University projects, including the Medina County University Center and the development an undergraduate degree program in aerospace systems engineering.
2005 The University is included in the 2005 edition of The Princeton Review's Best Midwestern Colleges: 150 Great Schools to Consider. The College of Business Administration also is included in the new edition of The Princeton Review's Best 143 Business Schools.

The graduate industrial/organizational psychology program is ranked sixth in the world by U.S. News & World Report.

Summit College — formerly named the Community and Technical College — celebrates 40 years of service on April 6.

In early June, UA engineering students earn a second-place overall performance in the first year of the Challenge X competition for their design of a hybrid sport-utility vehicle. Akron is one of 17 university engineering teams chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Corp. in 2004 to participate in Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility. The goal of the three-year competition is to re-engineer an SUV to sharply reduce energy consumption and emissions of pollutants while maintaining performance.

The University of Akron's Board of Trustees on Oct. 12 creates the Honors College — an extension of the University Honors Program established in 1975. Enrollment for the Honors College exceeds 1,000, and the 2005 fall semester marks the largest incoming freshman class, 353.

Intel Corp.’s second annual survey on wireless Web access at U.S. colleges and universities ranks The University of Akron third in the nation.

Groundbreaking for The University of Akron's Medina County University Center is held on Oct. 24.

The men's soccer team advances to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 3, before being eliminated by eventual national champion, the University of Maryland. The team had held the No. 1 spot in all four major college soccer polls for four weeks during the season — another UA and conference first.

The football team clinches its first Mid-American Conference Championship in school history with a 31-30 victory over Northern Illinois on Dec. 1 at Ford Field in Detroit. The win gives the team its first Division IA bowl bid. In the Ninth Annual Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26, back at Ford Field, the Zips take on the University of Memphis Tigers. The contest ends in a 38-31 loss for the Zips.
2006 For the second consecutive year, The Princeton Review recognizes the College of Business Administration among its Best 237 Business Schools.

In February, Campus Activities Magazine singles out the University for having the “Best Campus Program” in the United States. It is the third time since 2000 that UA is selected for this exceptional honor.

The women's track and field program finishes the 2005-06 season as “triple crown winners” by becoming the first Mid-American Conference women's program to win the cross-country title, and the indoor and outdoor track titles in the same season.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation gives its largest-ever single grant, $10 million, to further support The University of Akron’s innovative efforts to revitalize the 40-block area surrounding its campus through the University Park Alliance.
2007 The University of Akron and Lorain County Community College announce in March the creation of the Innovation Alliance. The regional partnership aligns their strengths and resources to accelerate knowledge creation and economic development within an area they call the Innovation Corridor.

In April the Ohio Board of Regents ranks UA first in the state for its rate of return per research dollar leading to the commercialization of technologies. The ranking is based on productive technology licenses, formation of start-up companies and direct industry research support by Ohio companies.

UA purchases the Crowne Plaza Quaker Square complex in June as part of its continuing investment in the revitalization of its surrounding neighborhood. The facility will provide academic opportunities, student housing and office space.

A new era dawns for the football program when UA announces in August its plans to construct a $55 million, on-campus stadium as part of the second phase of the New Landscape for Learning initiative. InfoCision Stadium and Summa Field will be ready for the Zips’ 2009 home opener.

The University of Akron is one of 161 institutions designated Best in the Midwest by the Princeton Review in its 2008 Best Colleges: Region-by-Region edition.

The 2007 edition of The Princeton Review's Best Business Schools recognizes the College of Business Administration.

In time for the fall 2007 semester, the six-floor, apartment-style Exchange Street Residence Hall opens. It is UA’s 15th residence hall.

In October, The University of Akron embarks on the public phase of a campaign to raise $500 million, placing it among the top five campaigns ever for a public university in Ohio. Having received more than $275 million during the "quiet phase" of the campaign, UA’s endowment is among the top 100 for public universities in the United States.

FirstEnergy Corp., based in Akron, announces in December a $2 million pledge to the University to create the FirstEnergy Advanced Energy Research Center to support the development of new technologies.
2008 With an unprecedented outpouring of support, Zippy rings in the New Year with a national championship — winning the Capital One Bowl Mascot of the Year Challenge.

PRESIDENT MARION A. RUEBEL, 1996 – 1998

  During his 26-year career at the University prior to becoming president, Marion A. Ruebel had served in nearly every top administrative position, earning him the unofficial title of "designated hitter." The long-time education professor sought to improve the quality of education throughout the continuum, from kindergarten through college, and he expanded access to the University through a distance learning initiative, increased off-campus programming and a greatly enhanced scholarship program.
1996 Holdings of the University libraries pass the 1-million- volume mark in July.

The Scholarships for Excellence initiative is launched. It will create 200 full academic scholarships by 2000.
1997 The Medina Link project is begun, putting University resources within reach of more than 26,000 public school students throughout Medina County via distance learning technology.

In December, the University hosts United States President Bill Clinton for a nationally broadcast "town hall meeting" discussion titled, "One America: President Clinton's Initiative on Race."
1998 Former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush speaks at the School of Law Dean's Club Dinner in January.

With a $3 million gift from The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, the University concludes a $125 million fund-raising campaign three years early.

Trustees approve a contract to complete a new plan for enhancing the campus and its facilities. The University announces its intent to pursue two complementary goals – being named as a Carnegie Teaching Academy and increasing annual federal research funding to more than $15.5 million.

PRESIDENT PEGGY GORDON ELLIOTT, 1992 – 1996

  The University’s first woman president, Peggy Gordon Elliott, sought to make the campus more “student-friendly,” especially in serving those older and part-time students whom she called the “New Majority.” During President Elliott’s tenure the University Council was dissolved and the Faculty Senate created to provide a new system of governance for the institution.
1993 Faculty Senate is chartered.
1994 The Polsky Building on Main Street is opened. It is Ohio's largest academic building, the largest construction project undertaken by the University to date and a prominent extension of the campus into downtown.
1996 The polymer science program breaks into the top five of national rankings by U.S. News & World Report for the first time. The program is ranked second in the U.S.

PRESIDENT WILLIAM V. MUSE, 1984-1992

  William V. Muse was known for his cooperative efforts with the city. He led the University as it “spanned the tracks,” uniting the campus with Akron’s central business district by acquiring the Polsky’s building on Main Street and its large parking deck on High Street, and the former Greyhound bus terminal on Broadway, which is now the site of the College of Business Administration building. Muse and city leaders also worked together to turn Buchtel Avenue into Buchtel Common, replacing a busy street in the middle of campus with a nicely landscaped, winding brick pedestrian walkway.
1986 The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics is created to promote effective citizen involvement in politics. The Institute is named after a distinguished chairman of the state and national Republican Committee, who also served as Chairman of the University's Board of Trustees.
1987 The section of Buchtel Avenue that runs through campus is closed and, during the next two years, will be transformed into Buchtel Common.
1988 The University establishes the world’s first College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. What began nearly 80 years before as a few courses in rubber chemistry has evolved into the largest academic program of its kind in the world. The city once known as the “Rubber Capital of the World” now is an international center of polymer research.

The University of Akron Press is founded. By 2001, it will publish 46 books and earn numerous national awards.
1991 The Polymer Science Building (later to be named the Goodyear Polymer Center) is dedicated. It will become a landmark for the campus and the city.
1992 Marion A. Ruebel serves as acting president from March through July, while a search is completed to replace President Muse.

PRESIDENT DOMINIC J. GUZZETTA, 1971-1984

  Auburn’s successor and former provost, Dominic J. Guzzetta, continued the campus expansion and beautification efforts. During his presidency, 15 facilities were constructed or acquired by the University, including the Rubber Bowl, which was transferred to the University by the city of Akron. The University also crossed Exchange Street -- acquiring the East Crown apartment complex for dormitory space, the former Holiday Inn (now Gallucci Hall) and a former Cadillac sales and service facility (now Folk Hall).
1972 The Wayne College branch campus is established in nearby Orrville.
1973 The University of Akron joins a consortium with Kent State and Youngstown State universities to build the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine in nearby Rootstown.

E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall opens its doors on the west side of campus on the former site of offices for John R. Buchtel’s Buckeye Mower and Reaper Company.

PRESIDENT & FOUNDER NORMAN P. AUBURN, 1951-1971

  Recognizing that voters did not understand much of what a university did, President Norman P. Auburn advocated campus growth and beautification as a means of gaining increased public support – and he succeeded greatly. Auburn oversaw tremendous growth in enrollment and the campus itself, fueled by municipal tax levies and private fund-raising. During his tenure, Memorial Hall and Kolbe Hall were among the many buildings constructed, the land that is now Lee R. Jackson Field was purchased, and plans were organized for financing the building of E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. Because he engineered such significant growth and the transition of the institution to a state university, President Auburn is regarded, along with Buchtel and Kolbe, as a founder of the University.
1952 A University District is established to control construction immediately adjacent to the campus.
1953 The College of Business Administration is formed.

On May 1st, the kangaroo is declared the official mascot of the University because, "It is fast, agile and powerful with undying determination - all of the necessary qualifications of an athlete."
1956 The Institute for Rubber Research is created.
1958 The vote to amend the city charter to allow the University to receive operating funds from taxpayers initially fails by 64 out of 95,626 votes. A recount shows the amendment passing by 262 votes.
1959 The University’s first doctoral degree is awarded, in polymer science. In so doing, Akron becomes the fifth Ohio university to offer doctoral work, following Ohio State, Western Reserve, Case and Cincinnati.

The School of Law is established.
1960 For the first time since the days of Buchtel College, students reside on campus, due to the opening of a new 98-bed men's residence hall, which would later be named Ritchie Hall.
1963 The University of Akron receives its first state tax monies.

Work begins on a formal plan that will guide future development of the physical campus.
1964 The Community and Technical College is formed.

In a five-day span in October, U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his opponent for the presidency, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, each visit campus.

The Institute of Rubber Research is renamed as the Institute of Polymer Science.
1967 On July 1, The University of Akron officially becomes one of Ohio’s state universities.

The College of Fine and Applied Arts and the College of Nursing are formed.

The Challenge ’70 Capital Campaign is launched. The largest fund-raising campaign in the University’s history, its goal is to raise $10 million by 1970, with most of the funds targeted toward building a performing arts hall.
1971 Buchtel Hall, the only remaining structure from Buchtel College, is gutted by fire. It will be restored and will reopen in 1973.

PRESIDENT HEZZLETON E. SIMMONS, 1933-1951

  Hezzleton E. Simmons, known affectionately as "Prez Hez" to the school's students, raised admissions standards to control enrollment, a policy that was precipitated by severe space constraints at the University. President Simmons persuaded his conservative board to apply for funds from two federal work-relief agencies, the Works Progress Administration and the Public Works Administration, to build Simmons Hall and the first student center.
1939 At the request of Akron students, popular band leader Fred Waring composes a fight song for the school. The Akron Blue and Gold premieres on Waring's weekly radio show. The song's name comes from the University's colors, which originally were adopted by Buchtel College.
1945 Demobilized World War II veterans flood college campuses nationwide, including Akron. Every conceivable space on or near campus is converted to classroom space to handle the “G.I. Bulge.”

Akron voters approve levies that enable the construction of Ayer Hall and what would eventually be named Crouse Hall. Wanting to maximize the use of taxpayer dollars, the Board insists on plain, rectangular structures.

PRESIDENT GEORGE F. ZOOK, 1925-1933

  George F. Zook devoted most of his energy to a controversial plan to relocate the campus on 60 acres of open land just west of Hawkins Avenue on Akron’s west side. The stock market crash of 1929 helped influence voters to reject a bond issue that would have financed the move. Still, Zook guided the University through the beginning of the Great Depression, managing to maintain both academic quality and financial solvency.
1926 Trustees change the institution's name from the Municipal University of Akron to The University of Akron.
1927 "Zippers" is the winning entry in a contest to choose a nickname for the University's athletic teams. The name, suggested by Margaret Hamlin, is that of a popular overshoe manufactured by The B.F. Goodrich Company. The company grants permission to use the copyrighted name, which eventually will be shortened to "Zips."
1932 The University’s Guggenheim Airship Institute is founded to conduct research in lighter-than-air craft as a joint effort with the California Institute of Technology. The Institute boasts about having the world’s largest vertical wind tunnel.

PRESIDENT & FOUNDER PARKE R. KOLBE, 1913-1925

  The last president of Buchtel College and the first president of the Municipal University of Akron grew up on the Buchtel campus. The son of Professor Carl Kolbe, Parke R. Kolbe added a new element to the president’s role, the political leadership required of an institution that is dependent on public tax money. He is regarded as a founder of the University, due to his leadership in transforming the private college into a municipal university.
1913 Trustees transfer Buchtel College's assets to the city of Akron, creating the Municipal University of Akron. The liberal arts department is renamed the Buchtel College of Liberal Arts (now the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences), and tuition in that college is made free to any student whose parents live in Akron.
1914 The College of Engineering is formed and pioneers one of the country’s first cooperative education programs.

The new Municipal University of Akron is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
1915 Evening classes are offered on a regular basis.
1921 The College of Education is formed.

PRESIDENT AUGUSTUS B. CHURCH, 1901-1912

  Augustus B. Church was the last Universalist clergyman to serve as president of Buchtel College and the first person to assume the broad responsibilities of chief executive officer. In fact, Church served both as president and as a trustee of the institution – as well as pastor of the local Universalist church. He died in 1912 of pneumonia brought on by exhaustion.
1907 Buchtel College becomes a non-denominational, private liberal arts college.
1909 Buchtel College offers the world’s first courses in rubber chemistry.

PRESIDENT IRA A. PRIEST, 1897-1901

  Yet another pastor of the Universalist Church in Akron was chosen to lead the young institution through a very difficult period. During his four-year tenure, Ira A. Priest dealt with the effects of a nationwide economic depression and a devastating fire. He resigned in 1901 to go into business.
1899 Fire destroys the original Buchtel Hall, threatening the very existence of the struggling school, but Akron’s citizens and local entrepreneurs once again come to the support of the young institution.

PRESIDENT CHARLES M. KNIGHT, 1896-1897

Charles M. Knight, a professor of chemistry and physics, was the only layman to head the school in the 19th century. He was considered to be well suited for the presidency, but he preferred teaching and agreed to serve on only an interim basis. Knight provided “steady leadership” during his year as president, then was appointed as the first Dean of the Faculty and awarded an honorary doctorate.

PRESIDENT ORELLO CONE, 1880-1896

  The third Universalist clergyman to head Buchtel College was Orello Cone, a distinguished scholar and professor of Biblical languages and literature. During his presidency, Cone directed a successful fund-raising campaign for the first gymnasium on campus. Ironically, his resignation 16 years later was prompted in part by student and alumni resentment of his lack of enthusiasm for the football team.
1891 Buchtel starts participating in intercollegiate football.
1894 Under the leadership of a young coach named John Heisman, for whom the coveted Heisman Trophy is named, Buchtel's gridiron squad defeats Ohio State.

PRESIDENT EVERETT L. REXFORD, 1878-1880

  Everett L. Rexford was a young local Universalist pastor who helped found Buchtel College but preferred the pulpit to the presidency. After two productive years in office, he resigned to assume a pastorate in Detroit, after carrying on a bitter feud in the newspaper with another area pastor.
1880 The first master’s degree is awarded - to William D. Shipman Buchtel College class of 1877.
1882 For the first time, students are allowed to choose some elective courses.

PRESIDENT SULLIVAN H. MCCOLLESTER, 1872-1878

  An ordained Universalist minister, Sullivan H. McCollester became the College's first president in 1872. His official title was President of the Faculty, so McCollester -- and his immediate successors -- served as chief academic officer, while the Board of Trustees handled business and management functions. In 1878, despite having the support of the Board, McCollester resigned due to church quarrels in which student factions were enlisted.
1872 Buchtel College opens its doors to 46 collegiate students, 171 preparatory students and seven faculty members in September. The College offers three courses of study – bachelors of arts, of philosophy and of science. Tuition is $30 and rent just $10 per year. Board costs, including utilities and laundry, are $5 per week. For the first 27 years of its existence, most of Buchtel College's academic and social activities take place in one five-story building.

The first endowed chair established, the Professorship of Mental and Moral Philosophy.
1873 Susie Chamberlain becomes Buchtel College's first graduate. She later joins the faculty.

Along with fraternities, sororities and a variety of special-interest clubs, Buchtel's students begin participating in intercollegiate athletics through baseball.

FOUNDER JOHN R. BUCHTEL, BOARD PRESIDENT 1870-1892

  Akron industrialist John R. Buchtel was instrumental in persuading the Ohio Universalist Convention to found its college in Akron. He and his wife, Elizabeth, donated $31,000 of the $60,000 required to build the College and remained closely involved in its daily affairs. They often provided food, loans and other support to students, and Mr. Buchtel guided the business operations of the College. Despite many other interests, the Buchtels devoted most of their energies and fortune to the College, donating a total of nearly one-half million dollars.
1870 The institution now known as The University of Akron is founded as Buchtel College by the Ohio Universalist Convention. Its site, Akron, is a small but steadily growing city of 10,000 along the Ohio & Erie Canal.
1871 The cornerstone for Buchtel College is laid on July 4. The speaker for the occasion is Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, a prominent Universalist and a soon-to-be candidate for the presidency of the U.S.
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Last modified: January 30 2008 09:26:28