University Profile The University of Arkansas, often shortened to U of A or just UA, is a public co-educational land-grant university. It is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System and is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Founded as Arkansas Industrial University in 1871, its present name was adopted in 1899 and classes were first held in February 1872. It is noted for its strong architecture, agriculture (particularly poultry science), creative writing and business programs. It is also noted for the fact that University of Arkansas engineering students won the 2006 world championship for solar-powered boats.
The University of Arkansas recently completed its "Campaign for the 21st Century," in which the university raised more than $1 billion for the school, used in part to create a new Honors College and significantly increase the university's endowment. Among these gifts were the largest donation given to a business school at the time ($50 million), and the largest gift given to a public university in America ($300 million), both given by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.
Enrollment for the fall semester of 2008 was 19,194, with 3,192 (16.6%) being graduate students, and 398 being Law School students. The University campus comprises more than 130 buildings on 345 acres (1.40 km2), including the Inn at Carnall Hall, which serves as an on-campus hotel facility. Academic programs are in excess of 200. The ratio of students to faculty is 17:1.
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University HistoryThe University of Arkansas was founded in 1871 on the site of a hilltop farm that overlooked the Ozark Mountains, giving it the nickname "The Hill".
The University was established under the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862. The University's founding also satisfied the provision in the Arkansas Constitution of 1868 that the General Assembly was to "establish and maintain a State University."
Initially, to found the University, $130,000 was raised by the citizens of Washington County. This was in response to the competition created by the Arkansas General Assembly's Organic Act of 1871, providing for the "location, organization and maintenance of the Arkansas Industrial University with a normal department [i.e., teacher education] therein." Classes started in February 1872.
Completed in 1875, Old Main, a two-towered brick building designed in the Second Empire style, was the primary instructional and administrative building. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its design was based on the plans for the main academic building at the University of Illinois, which has since burned down. However, the clock and bell towers were switched at Arkansas. The northern taller tower is the bell tower, and the southern shorter tower is the clock tower. One legend for the tower switch is that the taller tower was put to the north as a reminder of the Union victory during the Civil War. A second legend is that the contractor accidentally swapped the tower drawings after having had too much to drink. Although the southern tower was designed with clock faces, it never held a working clock until 2006. The bell tower has always had some type of chime, initially a bell that was rung on the hour by student volunteers. Electronic chimes were installed in 1959. In addition to the regular chimes of the clock, the university's Alma Mater plays at 5 p.m. every day. Old Main housed many of the earliest classes taught at the university, and has served as the offices of every college within the university during its history. Today, in addition to hosting classes, it contains the restored Giffels Auditorium and historic displays, as well as the administrative offices of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.
The lawn at Old Main serves as an arboretum, with many of the trees native to the state of Arkansas found on the lawn. Sitting at the edge of the lawn is Spoofer's Stone, a place for couples to meet and pass notes. Students play soccer, cricket and touch football on the lawn's open green.
Beginning with the class of 1876, the names of students at University of Arkansas are inscribed in "Senior Walk" and wind across campus for more than five miles (2.5 miles of sidewalk). The sidewalk is one of a kind nationally. More recently, the names of all the recipients of honorary degrees were also added.
One of the more unusual structures at Arkansas is the Chi Omega Greek Theatre, a gift to the school by the national headquarters of the sorority. It marked the first time in the history of Greek letter social organizations that a national sorority had presented a memorial of its foundation to the institution where it was founded. Chi Omega was organized on April 5, 1895, at the University of Arkansas and is the mother (Psi) chapter of the national organization. The theater has been used for commencements, convocations, concerts, dramas and pep rallies. The largest crowd ever assembled there – upwards of 6,000, according to professor Walter J. Lemke – was for a concert by the Army Air Corps Band during World War II. From 1934 to 1991, the space under the stage was used for a rifle range by the Army ROTC.
The University of Arkansas became the first major Southern public university to admit an African-American student without litigation when Silas Hunt of Texarkana, an African American veteran of World War II, was admitted to the university's School of Law in 1948. Roy Wilkins, administrator of the NAACP, wrote in 1950 that Arkansas was the "very first of the Southern states to accept the new trend without fighting a delaying action or attempting to . . . limit, if not nullify, bare compliance." Today the School of Law continues to receive national awards and recognition for its high degree of diversity.
Vitamin E was co-discovered by UA Agricultural Chemistry Professor Barnett Sure (1920-51). Sure, along with fellow professor Marinus C. Kik (1927-67) made major advances in nutrition science during their long tenures at the University of Arkansas. Sure co-discovered vitamin E, and extended knowledge of how vitamin E, amino acids and B-vitamins function on reproduction and lactation. Kik developed the process for parboiling rice (a major agricultural crop in the state) to increase retention of vitamins and shorten cooking time. He documented benefits of adding fish and chicken to rice and grain diets to provide adequate protein for a growing world population. Sure and Kik were Agricultural Experiment Station scientists and professors in the UA Department of Agricultural Chemistry, which merged in 1964 with Home Economics, now the School of Human Environmental Sciences.
In the 1920s, Loy Barnett, an engineering graduate student at the University of Arkansas, set forth the principle of high-level Class B plate modulation for radio transmission and developed the technology that allowed small- and medium-size AM radio stations to flourish across the United States. Barnett later joined RCA and continued research on broadcast technology into the 1960s.
The most widely-implemented automated mail sorting equipment in the world–the Wide Area Bar Code Reader–was developed by the University of Arkansas' College of Engineering. A $50,000 grant from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to Professors Dwight F. Mix and J.E. Bass in 1989 began the research and development effort. By 1999, more than 15,000 University of Arkansas bar code readers were located in every major USPS facility, increasing the efficiency of processing 20 billion pieces of mail a year at a savings of $200 million. This R&D effort has spawned four additional electronic systems to help the USPS "read the mail."
During the 1980s, Professors Allen Hermann and Zhengzhi Sheng of the Department of Physics were in the vanguard of research in superconductivity: the phenomenon whereby Direct Current (DC) electricity, once started, can flow essentially forever. The Thallium-based material they discovered at Arkansas held the world's record for high temperature, 125K, for five years (1988-93) and drew international attention to the University. Their work led to numerous patents and a manufacturing agreement, as well as further advances in high-density electronics.
University of Arkansas plant pathologists George Templeton, Roy Smith (USDA), David TeBeest and graduate student Jim Daniels conducted research in the early 1970s that led to COLLEGO, the first biological herbicide for weed control in a field crop. Other UA scientists and students worked on the project that resulted in EPA registration of COLLEGO by Upjohn in 1982 for control of northern jointvetch in rice and soybeans. The work provided a model used worldwide to develop biological herbicides. Leadership in this area helped the U of A obtain grants from the USDA and others for construction of the Rosen Center for Alternative Pest Control.
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