The charter for the University of Miami is granted on April
8. The University is born out of the dream and financial backing
of city founder George Merrick, the hard work of retired businessman
Frederic Zeigen, and the community connections of Judge William
Coral Gables becomes a city when the
Florida Legislature approves the charter April 27.
George Merrick pledges 160 acres and
$5 million for the new university.
On February 4, the cornerstone is laid
on the Solomon G. Merrick Building, the first building planned
for a Mediterranean-style campus.
On September 17, a destructive hurricane
strikes Miami, with Coral Gables and the new University of
Miami at ground zero.
Students register on October 15 and start
classes October 18 in an unfinished hotel, the Anastasia Building,
nicknamed the Cardboard College because of the hastily built,
flimsy partitions between classrooms.
The new university offers classes in
liberal arts and music and an Evening Division. The music
dean is Bertha Foster, owner of the Miami Conservatory, which
becomes the School of Music.
In November, the Board of Trustees elects
Bowman Foster Ashe as the first president. University finances
are so strained during the late 1920s and the 1930s that Ashe
sometimes has to pay the faculty out of his own pocket.
The team nickname Hurricanes first appears in
an October Miami Herald storya suggestion later
attributed to football player Porter Norris, A.B. 29.
Nine male students found the first honor
society, later named Iron Arrow, based on the traditions and
ideals of the Seminole Indian Tribe.
Sororities and fraternities establish
chapters at the University, with 14 in the first year. Today
there are 25.
The football team goes undefeated its
first season, defeating the University of Havana and Rollins
College within weeks after opening.
The first class of six students graduates.
The University of Miami Symphony Orchestra
is formed under the baton of Arnold Volpe and serves as the
community orchestra until the 1960s.
The University offers its first architecture
classes, taught by Phineas Paist, Coral Gables supervising
architect, and Denman Fink, art director for the city.
Two student publications beginthe
Ibis yearbook and the University News, which later
becomes The Miami Hurricane.
The School of Law opens after being approved
by the Florida Supreme Court.
Carlotta Wright, the Uni-versitys first
Hispanic student, registers for classes. Others come soon
after, and by 1931 UM hosts its first Pan American Day.
The schools of business admin-istration
and education are founded.
The stock market crash and the end of
the Florida land boom cause many of the Universitys early
supporters to declare bankruptcy and default on their pledges.
Students raise funds through door-to-door solicitations to
help keep the University operating.
Dale Clark and Norman Ted Kennedy compose
Hail to the Spirit of Miami U. William Lampe and Christine
Asdurian write the words and music for the alma mater, Southern
Suns and Sky Blue Water.
Thirty-five graduates start the University
of Miami Alumni Association.
The University of Miami becomes the only
university in the world offering courses in marine zoology
to undergraduate students.
The closure of the University of Havana
during revolutionary activity brings more than 60 Cuban students
and several professors to UM.
The first homecoming is celebrated on
In the midst of the Depression, the University
cuts faculty salaries by 60 percent and files a voluntary
petition for bankruptcy. President Ashe and supporters incorporate
UM as the University of Miami, Inc., and raise $15,758.84
to buy the Universitys real and personal property at public
auction. The Inc. is later dropped and the University reestablished
as a private, not-for-profit institution.
The Winter Institute of Literature is
started. The institute attracts many well-known writers, including
poet Robert Frost, who returns to teach English at the University
in 1944. Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author and environmentalist,
is resident director in the 1940s.
The University purchases several private
collections to establish a library.
Students raise more than $1,000 to paint
the Anastasia Building.
W. T. Grant donates his estate on South
Bayshore Drive as a presidents home. In 1974, the University
obtains a new presidents home, when business executive Malcolm
Matheson donates his estate on Old Cutler Road.
The Winter Institute of Hispanic Studies
The Southern Association of Schools and
Colleges grants accreditation to the University.
UM and Pan American Airways offer a training
program for U.S. Army Air Corps cadets. The next year, British
Air Force trainees join the U.S. cadets. The Duke of Windsor
makes a surprise visit in 1941 to review the 300 British cadets.
President Ashe oversees the reorganization
of the Board of Trustees, replacing faculty and administrators
with community leaders.
The Graduate School opens.
The fill and rocks from the dredging
of Lake Osceola on campus are sold to build the Rickenbacker
Causewayand to raise funds to build classrooms at the University.
F. G. Walton Smith establishes the Marine
Laboratory, using an abandoned boathouse on Joseph Adams
Belle Isle, Miami Beach, estate and an old motorboat, The
The University commissions Marian I.
Manley, Floridas first woman architect, to design several
buildings on campus.
Student Pancho Segura wins the NCAA mens
singles tennis championship, repeating his success in 1944
The GI Bill results in a flood of World
War II veterans enrolling in UM and other U.S. colleges. More
than half of the 1,614 regular students are service personnel.
A gift of land from Grace R. Doherty
completes the Coral Gables campus site. The trustees vote
to return to the original campus site.
Britains wartime prime minister, Sir
Winston Churchill, receives an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Construction begins on the first building
to be completed on the original campus site, the Oscar E.
Dooly Memorial Classroom Building. Several temporary wooden
buildings, built then to accommodate student overflow, are
still in use for art programs.
The drama department stages performances
in the rotunda of the Anastasia Building, creating a ring-shaped
theatre. The theatre will move to a tent on the Coral Gables
campus in 1950, then into its present location in 1951 as
the Ring Theatre. It is renamed the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre
in 1996, in honor of famed Broadway composer and lyricist
Jerry Herman, A.B. 53.
The College of Engineering is founded.
After operating in the Anastasia Building for 11 years, the
college moves to its new home, the J. Neville McArthur Building,
The Gifford Arboretum, dedicated to John
Clayton Gifford, is started with more than 500 species of
The half-built Merrick Building, damaged
in the hurricane of 1926 and left in ruin for 22 years, is
finally rebuilt and dedicated.
The University of Miami Press publishes
its first book, Atlantic Coral Reefs, by F. G. Walton
The Universitys new polo team wins
the first of four straight national championships.
After the death of President Ashe, Vice
President Jay F. W. Pearson serves as acting president of
the University; he is named UMs second president in
The first school of medicine in Florida
is established at UM. Classes are held in space leased from
the Veterans Administration in what is now the Biltmore Hotel.
Jackson Memorial Hospital becomes the teaching hospital for
the medical school.
The Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery opens.
In 1968 it becomes the Lowe Art Museum.
All three student publicationsthe
newspaper, yearbook, and Tempo magazineare rated
All-American by the National Scholastic Press Association.
The Ashe Memorial Administration Building
The University initiates the Honors Program.
A portion of the new Marine Laboratory
on Virginia Key is completed, enabling staff to move there
from the Anastasia Building.
UMs first ibis mascot, nicknamed Icky,
appears at a football game. The mascot is later renamed Sebastian.
The University accepts its first doctoral
students in ten academic disciplines.
Communist Fidel Castro becomes leader
of Cuba, and a mass exodus brings thousands of Cuban exiles
to Miami. UM responds by creating retraining programs in law,
medicine, education, and languages. Six years later, the University
establishes the Cuban Cultural Center at the John J. Koubek
Memorial Center in Little Havana.
Campus unrest surfaces during the Civil
Rights movement and peaks a decade later amid protests against
the Vietnam War and for expanded womens rights.
The Board of Trustees votes to admit
qualified students of all races.
Henry King Stanford is named the third
president of the University. Jay F. W. Pearson becomes the
Universitys first chancellor.
The Otto G. Richter Library is dedicated.
The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is built
at the School of Medicine.
The Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute
affiliates with the School of Medicine.
Worldwide recruitment for international
Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks on campus.
When he is assassinated two years later, classes are canceled
for a memorial service on campus.
The Norman A. Whitten Memorial Student
Union is dedicated on the Coral Gables campus.
More than 2,000 international students
register. The University ranks fourth in the nation in international
The old Cardboard College is demolished
to make way for a Coral Gables youth center.
Two tower dormitories open. Two follow
Coeducational housing is approved.
A student referendum reveals that 78
percent are in favor of the Vietnam War.
The School of Nursing is established.
President Stanford bans the playing of
Dixie by the band at football games and other public events.
The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric
Science is founded following a donation by Lewis S. Rosenstiel.
Students stage a protest against the
war in Vietnam.
Student curfews are abolished.
Student representation on the Board of
Trustees is initiated.