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The University of Akron is a public university located in Akron, Ohiomarker. The fourth largest university in Ohiomarker, it was founded in 1870 as a small college affiliated with the Universalist Church. In 1913 ownership was transferred to the City of Akronmarker. In 1967 the university became a state institution. The University of Akron is regarded as a world leader in polymer research. As a STEM-focused institution, it focuses on industries such as polymers, advanced materials, and engineering. In the last decade it has sought to increase its research portfolio and gain recognition for its productivity in technology transfer and commercialization.

The University recently underwent a $300 million construction project, which added nine new buildings and renovated fourteen, and closed several streets. A new football stadium, Summa Field at InfoCision Stadiummarker, was constructed on campus as a replacement for the University's previous stadium, the Rubber Bowlmarker.The school offers more than 200 undergraduate and 100 graduate majors. Total enrollment was 27,911 students in Fall 2009, with students representing 44 U.S. states and 79 foreign countries. The University's best-known program is its College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, which is located in a 13-story reflective glass building that overlooks Akron's downtown. The Archives of the History of American Psychology are located in the Polsky building at the University.The university has a branch campus, Wayne College, located in Orrville, Ohiomarker.


The University of Akron was founded as Buchtel College in honor of John R. Buchtel in 1870. In 1907, the college shed its Universalist affiliation and became a private, non-denominational institution. In 1913, Buchtel College trustees transferred the institution and its assets to the city of Akronmarker. In 1913, the enrollment was 198 students, and over the next 50 years expanded to over 10,000 students. The University’s 10th president, Dr. Norman P. Auburn, oversaw the University's transition in 1967 from a municipal to a state university.

The university has experienced two notable fires. The original university building, known as "Old Buchtel," burned down in 1897, and was a total loss. A new central campus was constructed. The only building that remains from it is the current Buchtel Hall, which itself was gutted by fire in 1971. It was saved, but to this day has some blackening on the exterior.

The tire and rubber industry and the University of Akron share an intimate history. Historically, many of the world's leading corporations, such as Goodyear, Firestone, and Goodrich, were headquartered in Akron. In 1909, the world’s first courses in rubber chemistry were offered at the University. The University is also credited with having the world’s first College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, which was founded in 1988.


University of Akron's newly built Student union at night
A $300 million construction program was completed in the fall of 2004. Called "A New Landscape for Learning," the program included the construction of nine new buildings, the renovations or updating of 14 other buildings and structures, and numerous capital improvement projects. The New Landscape for Learning included a new College of Arts & Sciences Building, Honors Residence Hall and classroom complex, a new Student Recreation and Wellness Center, and a new Student Union. Multiple new parking decks were constructed to address high demand for parking (placed on the outskirts of campus in accordance with its goal to be less of a commuter school), and several public streets were closed to consolidate the campus, provide a more friendly environment for pedestrians and to add 30 acres (120,000 m²) of new greenspace.

The University opened on a satellite campus in neighboring Medina Countymarker and is shopping around ideas for workforce centers in the suburbs.

On August 1, 2007, the University's Board of Trustees announced that a new stadium, Infocision Stadiummarker, on East Exchange Street, would open in September 2009, with groundbreaking in October 2007. The stadium has a capacity of 30,000 and replaced UA's former stadium, the Rubber Bowlmarker.

The University purchased the Quaker Square Crowne Plaza Hotel and shopping complex in downtown Akron, using half of the rooms as residence space and the other as a working hotel. The University did a land-swap with the city of Akron so that they may find a new hotel for the Central Business District.

The University of Akron campus is made up of 87 buildings on 222 acres in metropolitan Akron with a total property value of $1.78 billion.

University Park Alliance

The University has launched with the City of Akron and many local businesses an initiative called the University Park Alliance to further improve the 40-block neighborhood around campus. The alliance was established through a $2 million grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is composed of partners that include the city of Akronmarker, Summa Health System, Akron Beacon Journal, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Greater Akron Chamber, Akron Public Schools and the University Park Development Corporation.

The initiative includes a new apartment-style residence hall, new shops and restaurants, and street improvements. The alliance has contributed to the construction of multiple new dormitory halls, student apartments, and restaurants.


Bierce Library, the main campus library.
The University of Akron offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, ranging from certificate programs to the PhD. The largest college of the university is the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. Bierce Library is the main campus library. It is named for Lucius Bierce, a Civil-War era General, whose personal library constituted the first collection of the University Libraries.


The University offers nearly 300 undergraduate majors. The various undergraduate schools offer an array of Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Associate's degrees. In conjunction with the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacymarker (NEOUCOM), the University offers an accelerated six-year, BS/MD program, where ambitious students can earn a bachelor's degree in two years and complete medical school in the traditional four years. The University of Akron is also the first and only University in the nation to offer a baccalaureate program in corrosion engineering.

Honors College

The University of Akron Honors College students earn degrees from any of the four-year accredited colleges in the university while receiving special advisement and having the opportunity to live in the Honors Complex, a dorm exlusively for honors students. The college has numerous clubs and organizations, including: The Honors club, Honors Delegates, Honors Business group, Association of Honors Educators, Rhythm n' Roos': Honors A Capella singers, Honors Book Club, Honors Nursing Club, and Honor's Chess Club.


The University of Akron currently offers more than 100 graduate degrees to its current population of 3,000 graduate students. The graduate schools at the University of Akron variously offer the Master's degree, PhD, J.D., and LL.M., among others.


The University of Akron School of Law was founded in 1921 as Akron Law School and became affiliated with the University in 1959, becoming fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1961. It has both day and evening full-time and part-time programs that lead to the J.D. and LL.M. The University of Akron School of Law is also one of only 22 institutions in America to offer the LL.M. in intellectual property, and one of two such programs in Ohio.

Academic divisions

Thomas Hall

The University of Akron comprises the following colleges, schools, and campuses:

National rankings

  • 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.
  • One of only 12 universities in the nation named as a Carnegie Cluster leader in recognition of teaching and learning achievements.
  • #1 in Ohio in highest rate of return per research dollar in technology commercialization, according to the Ohio Board of Regents.
  • Recipient of the University Economic Development Association’s 2007 Award of Excellence in Technology Commercialization.
  • Ranked #1 in patents issued per million dollars in research expenditures, 2000-2004, by the Milken Institute.
  • The College of Business Administration graduate program was recognized in the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 editions of The Princeton Review's Best Business Schools.
  • The College of Business Administration's undergraduate business program was recently ranked by BusinessWeek magazine as being the 93rd best program in the United States, placing it in the top 6th percentile of all 1,600 such business programs in the country.
  • UA's College of Engineering is the 3rd fastest growing college of its kind, and its Cooperative Education program is the 5th oldest engineering co-op program in America.
  • UA ranked third among the nation's top 50 campuses with the greatest wireless Web access in a 2005 Intel Corporationmarker survey.
  • School of Law was ranked #2 in 2004 as a best value by National Jurist and Pre-Law Insider magazine.
  • Student teams earned #1 rankings in national trial advocacy competitions in 2004 and 2003.
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology program ranked 6th nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Only public university in Ohio with a science and engineering program ranked in the top five nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Engineering students placed 2nd among 17 college teams in 2005 - the first year of the three-year competition sponsored by GM to design a fuel-efficient, "green" SUV by 2007.
  • Engineering students met a real-world challenge in April 2008 by placing first in the Micro Class unmanned aerial vehicle competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
  • In March 2008, students in the Surveying and Mapping Technology Program took first place in a national competition sponsored by the National Society of Professional Surveyors. Since this competition was inaugurated in 2002, UA has placed first four times and finished second three times.


The University of Akron produced more revenue in technology licensing in 2007 than any other year in its history, bringing in $6.33 million - more than all other Ohio public universities. This licensing amount gives UA a ranking of seventh in the nation among public and private U.S. universities without medical schools, just behind such notables as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and the University of Texas. When normalized with respect to research expenditures, UA ranks No. 1 in the country. This is the first time UA has achieved a top national standing in licensing efficiency. A 2007 report supported by the National Science Foundation identified UA as one of 10 exemplars for technology transfer, commercialization and industry partnership.

Faculty research

Research on a new antibiotic treatment option for pulmonary infections including pneumonia and cystic fibrosis, developed at The University of Akron and Washington University School of Medicine, has potential for significantly increasing survival among patients with lung infections.

The world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news and commentary - has published the findings of groundbreaking, dry-adhesive nanotechnology research conducted by a four-member scientific team that includes The University of Akron's Dr. Zhenhai Xia, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. This new technology is three times more powerful than any previously developed adhesive technology.

A ceramic nanofiber technology developed by Dr. George Chase, UA professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Dr. Darrell Reneker, UA professor of polymer science will answer the EPA’s cleaner-emissions mandate.

University of Akron researcher Dr. Todd Blackledge, implies that new web constructions and silk types helped the order Araneae evolve into one of the insect world’s superpowers through his study of spider webs.

University of Akron Professor of Polymer Engineering and Applied Mathematics Dr. Arkadii Leonov has come up with a novel means to stop a hurricane, and his discovery has received a storm of attention from science writers across the globe. Leonov's concept, under patent application and titled "Hurricane Suppression by Supersonic Boom," reveals that hurricanes can be destabilized with the ultrasonic boom produced by jet fighters. Leonov explains that jets, flying at supersonic speeds clockwise around an eye of a hurricane, would suppress the storm.

BioInnovation Institute

The BioInnovation Institute in Akron is creating a center of research excellence, Center for Biomaterials and Medicine, with core strengths in orthopaedics and wound healing. The Center will capitalize on Northeast Ohio’s rich 100-year history in polymer science and engineering, including: world-class commercial capability, a highly educated workforce, extended R&D capabilities, and knowledgeable capital sources. The Center will be a collaboration of regional organizations including: The University of Akron, The Summa Health System, NEOUCOM, Akron General Health System, and Akron Children's Hospital.

In fact, Akron is already developing early-stage companies and clinical centers with a key emphasis on orthopaedics and wound care. The region boasts more than 200 researchers in orthopaedics and polymers, and more than 50 companies are directly linked with the orthopaedic device industry. The Center for Biomaterials and Medicine plans to recruit 40 additional senior researchers and their lab teams in the following focus areas:
  • Biomaterials for orthopaedic and wound care applications;
  • Polymers as coatings for implanted medical devices; and
  • Polymers combined with growth factors and/or seeded with cells for tissue regeneration and repair.

Greek life

The University of Akron is home to over twenty different fraternities and sororities, a number of which were actually founded on the University of Akron campus. Delta Gamma sorority, Eta chapter, is currently the oldest existing chapter of Delta Gamma and was founded in 1879. Most of the university's fraternity and sorority houses can be found East of campus, adjacent to the brand new football stadium in a neighborhood named Spicertown, but nicknamed the "frat row."


The University of Akron's athletic teams are known as the "Zips," originally short for "Zippers," overshoes that were nationally popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and the zipper—an invention from Akron (Judson). The university's mascot is "Zippy," a kangaroo.[63930] Zippy is one of only eight female college mascots in the United States. Zippy won the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year in 2007.


A parachuter descends with American flag in tow onto the surface of Summa Field as part of the opening day festivities of the first game ever held in InfoCision Stadium.


Akron's major football rivalry is with Kent State Universitymarker, whom they play for the Wagon Wheel. They also formerly played Youngstown State Universitymarker for the Steel Tire until that series was discontinued in 1995. In 2005, the Akron Zips football team won their very first MAC championship giving them a chance to play in the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I-A bowl game appearance where they lost to the University of Memphismarker.


In 2005, the men's basketball team, under head coach Keith Dambrot, won its first ever Division I postseason game by defeating Temple Universitymarker in the NIT. The team was led by first team All-MAC performer Romeo Travis (former teammate of LeBron James in high school) and also won the most games in a season, 23.

In 2007, Keith Dambrot led Akron to the MAC Tournament Final for a second year in a row, yet the team fell for a second time, this time to arch rival Kent State. The Zips advanced to the NIT for a second time in Dambrot's four-years as head coach and won their first game at Florida State, eventually falling in the Sweet 16 in a game at UMass.

In 2009, the men's basketball team captured the MAC Tournament title, defeating Buffalo in Clevelandmarker at the Quicken Loans Arenamarker 65-53, bringing Akron back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1986 (and also the first time as a MAC member).

Other sports

In 2005, the women's cross country team, women's indoor track and the men's soccer team also won the MAC championship in their respective sports, making the 2005-06 year the most successful in Akron athletics history with a total of four Mid-American Conference championships in the same year.

The 2005 men's soccer team was the first team in UA history to hold a national No. 1 ranking in any sport, and was coached by Ken Lolla, now the head coach at the University of Louisville.

In 2009 the men's basketball team progressed to the NCAA tournament.

The Akron Zips compete in the following sports:
  • Spring Sports
    • Baseball
    • Men's golf*
    • Women's golf*
    • Softball
    • Rifle*
    • Women's tennis*
    • Men's track and field (Outdoor season)
    • Women's track and field (Outdoor season)
*the golf, rifle, and women's tennis teams begin their seasons in the Fall, but conclude in the Spring with conference and NCAA tournaments.

Alma mater

The Alma Mater of The University of Akron is a tribute to the city and university's past and the rise of the university from the fires that twice devastated Buchtel College.

Close beside Cuyahoga’s waters, Stream of amber hue,

O’er old Buchtel Summit’s glory, Waves the gold and blue.

Hail we Akron! Sound her praises, Speed them on the gale,

Ever stand our Alma Mater, Akron hail, all hail!

Fight song

The Fight Song for the University is "Akron Blue and Gold". The lyrics for the song are:


We cheer the Akron Blue and Gold,

We cheer as the colors unfold.

We pledge anew, we're all for you,

As the team goes crashing through,

Fight! Fight!

We cheer the Akron warriors bold,

For a fight that's a sight to behold,

So we stand up, cheer and shout,

For the Akron Blue and Gold.


Zzzip! Zip go the Zippers!

Zzzip! Zip go the Zippers!

Akron true,

Gold and Blue,

All for you, and the Zippers too!

(to chorus)

Notable people

The University of Akron has seen many prominent individuals pass through its halls. Former Akron mayor and Ohio Congressman Thomas C. Sawyer attended undergraduate and graduate school there.United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit federal judge Deborah L. Cook received her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the university. Current Ohio congresswoman Betty Sutton received her Juris Doctor from the university as well. Former Republican National Committee chairman Ray C. Bliss graduated in 1935 and the university's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics is named for him.

Former Akron Zips football players Chase Blackburn, Charlie Frye, Domenik Hixon, Dwight Smith, and Jason Taylor have each gone on to find success in the National Football League. Blackburn and Hixon were members of the 2008 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, while Smith won a Super Bowl Ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003. Taylor was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 and was named the NFL's Man of the Year in 2007.

Former Akron Zips baseball players Mike Birkbeck and Mark Malaska have gone on to find success in Major League Baseball. Birkbeck played for the Milwaukee Brewers form 1986 to 1989 and the New York Mets in 1992 and 1995. Malaska played for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 and was a member of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.


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