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The University of Iowa (also known as U of I, UI, or just Iowa) is a public state-funded research university located in Iowa City, Iowamarker. The university is organized into eleven colleges granting undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The university is a member of the American Association of Universities, the Big Ten Conference, Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and the Universities Research Association. Additionally, the university is also considered a Public Ivy.


University seal mosaic, ca. 1908, Iowa Hall.
The University of Iowa was originally named The State University of Iowa, and this remains the institution's legal name. The State University of Iowa was founded February 25, 1847 as Iowa's first public institution of higher learning, only 59 days after Iowamarker became a state. Despite its legal name, it is not to be confused with Iowa State Universitymarker.

The first faculty offered instruction at the university in March 1855 to students in the Old Mechanics Building, situated where Seashore Hall is now. In September 1855, there were 124 students, of whom forty-one were women. The 1856–57 catalogue listed nine departments offering Ancient Language, Modern Language, Intellectual Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, History, Natural History, Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry. The first President was Leigh S. J. Hunt.

The original campus was composed of the Iowa Old Capitol Buildingmarker and the of land on which it stood. Following the placing of the cornerstone July 4, 1840, the building housed the Fifth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa (December 5, 1842) and then became the first capitol of the State of Iowa (December 28, 1846). Until that date it had been the third capitol of the Territory of Iowa. When the capitol of Iowa was moved to Des Moinesmarker in 1857, Old Capitol became the first permanent "home" of the University.
Old Capitol Building in February 2005

In 1855, Iowa became the first public university in the United States to admit men and women on an equal basis. Additionally, the university was the world's first university to accept creative work in theater, writing, music, and art on an equal basis with academic research.

The university was one of the first institutions in America to grant a law degree to a woman (Mary B. Hickey Wilkinson, 1873), to grant a law degree to an African American (G. Alexander Clark, 1879), and to put an African American on a varsity athletic squad (Frank Holbrook, 1895)[33137]. The university offered its first doctoral degree in 1898.

Iowa established the first law school west of the Iowa River, and was also the first to use television in education (1932) and pioneered the field of standardized testing. Additionally, Iowa was the first Big Ten institution to promote an African American to an administrative vice president’s position (Dr. Phillip Hubbard, promoted in 1966).

Significant events

On November 1, 1991, five employees of the university were killed and one student was critically injured when Gang Lu, a former physics graduate student, went on a shooting rampage before committing suicide. Officials received letters written by Lu that discussed his grievances and plans; apparently Lu was set off because he felt that his dissertation should have been received more eagerly.

On April 13, 2006, a tornado struck the university and adjacent Iowa Citymarker, causing extensive damage throughout the campus and town. The tornado was the most intense and destructive of 5 tornadoes that touched down in Johnson County, Iowamarker that evening; it was given the rank of F2 on the Fujita Scale. “Damage on the campus was limited to a parking garage for university vehicles and some downed trees.” Several Iowa City homes and businesses received extensive damage. Despite the wreckage, injuries were relatively light in the area, although one person in a neighboring county was killed.

On June 8, 2008, the Army Corps of Engineers warned that flooding on the Iowa River and overflow from the Coralville Reservoir would cause major and potentially record flooding. Such an event could have serious implications and bring widespread damage to campus buildings. After flood waters breached the reservoir spillway more than 20 major campus buildings were damaged. Several weeks after the flood waters receded university officials placed a preliminary estimate on flood damage at $231.75 million. Later, the UI Vice President estimated that damages would cost about $743 million.

In November 2008, responding to a proposal from the UI Writing University committee, UNESCOmarker designated Iowa City the world's third City of Literature, making it part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.


  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Tippie College of Business
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Education
  • College of Nursing
  • Graduate College
  • College of Law
  • Carver College of Medicine
  • College of Dentistry
  • College of Public Health

Academics and distinctions

View from T.
Anne Cleary Walkway with the Old Capitol in the background
Iowa is one of 60 elected members to the Association of American Universities. Additionally, Iowa is also a Public Ivy.

The university is currently home to ISCABBS, an aging public bulletin board system that was the largest Internet community in the world prior to the commercialization of the world wide web.

The University of Iowa is also the home to the National Advanced Driving Simulator (a virtual reality driving simulator.)

University of Iowa in rankings


  • The best university in the state of Iowa - U.S. News & World Report, 2008 edition

  • 21 graduate programs ranked among the top 10 such programs in the country — U.S. News & World Report, 2008 edition

  • One of the top 50 public universities in the country when it comes to offering academic excellence at an affordable price — Kiplinger's Personal Finance, 2006

  • "A picturesque campus, a thriving social scene, and the excitement of Big Ten athletic teams" — Insider’s Guide to the Colleges, 2007

  • University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for the 20th year in a row (since rankings began in 1990 - U.S. News & World Report, 2009.

  • Iowa's campus sits in one of the nation’s most livable cities and in the third-most-educated metropolitan area in America — Market Guide’s 2006 Better Living Index, USA Today.

  • The University of Iowa Law Library is ranked #1 in the nation by the National Jurist.

  • The College of Nursing ranks in the top fifteen for all six categories used to rank nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report. Iowa places first in the nation in both nursing service administration and gerontological/geriatric nursing graduate programs. Iowa is ranked better than 12th in all other categories.

  • The Tippie College of Business was named by Business Week as one of the top fifty business schools in the nation.

  • University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine has been ranked #7 in the country for primary care and #31 in the country for research by U.S. News & World Report.

  • University of Iowa's College of Law has been ranked #26 in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2010 Edition), and has attained an average USNWR ranking of #21 in the last 20 years.

  • University of Iowa's College of Pharmacy has been ranked #16 in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2008 Edition).

Iowa Writers' Workshop

Main page: Iowa Writers' Workshopmarker

The Writers' Workshop was founded in 1936. Since 1947 it has produced thirteen Pulitzer Prize winners. In total, twenty-five people affiliated with the Writers' Workshop have won a Pulitzer Prize.

Notable workshop students and faculty include Robert Penn Warren, author of All the King's Men, former student Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, student Tennessee Williams, author of A Streetcar Named Desire, and former faculty member Kurt Vonnegut, author of books such as Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and Slaughterhouse-Five.


The University of Iowa's main campus is located in Iowa City, originally designed by architect D. Elwood Cook, with the campus bordered by Park Road to the north and Dubuque and Gilbert Streets roughly to the east. U.S. Highway 6 traverses the university campus. The Iowa River flows through the campus dividing it into west and east sides.

Of architectural note is the Pentacrestmarker at the center of The University of Iowa campus. The Pentacrest is the location of five major campus buildings: Old Capitolmarker, Schaeffer Hall, MacLean Hall, Macbride Hall, and Jessup Hall. The Old Capitol was once the primary government building for the state of Iowa, but it is now a museum of Iowa history.

Also on the eastern side of campus includes five residence halls (Burge, Daum, Stanley, Currier, and Mayflower), the Iowa Memorial Union, the Pappajohn Business Building, the Seamans Center for the engineering arts and sciences, the Lindquist Center (home of the College of Education), Phillips Hall (home of foreign languages) and Van Allen Hall (home to physics and astronomy)as well as the buildings for biology, chemistry, geology & environmental sciences, psychology, communications, journalism and the English-Philosophy Building.

The Colleges of Law, Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Public Health are on the western bank of the Iowa River, along with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinicsmarker, the Theatre Building and Voxman Music Building. Additionally, five residence halls (Hillcrest, Slater, Reinow, Quadrangle, and Parklawn), Kinnick Stadiummarker, and Carver-Hawkeye Arenamarker are located on the west campus.

The Oakdale Campus, which is home to some of the university's research facilities and the driving simulator, is located north of Interstate 80 in adjacent Coralvillemarker.

The Pentacrest

The Pentacrest is sometimes referred to as the center of academic life at the University, especially for Liberal Arts students. It is composed of five buildings; the Old Capitol and four lecture halls, Schaeffer, Macbride, MacLean, and Jessup. A variety of classes are held in these four buildings, mostly relating to the Liberal Arts. Macbride Hall and the Old Capitol also contain museums of natural history and Iowa state history, respectively.

Campus museums

  • Museum of Art
  • Museum of Natural Historymarker
  • Old Capitol Museum
  • Medical Museum
  • Athletic Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Project Art (University Hospitals and Clinics)


The University of Iowa is one of the EPA's Green Power Partners, burning oat hulls instead of coal and reducing coal consumption by 20%. In May 2004 the university joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, and in April 2009 a student garden was opened.

Student life

Much of the student night-life in Iowa City is centered around the pedestrian mall, the "ped mall" which contains numerous restaurants, local shops/boutiques, and over thirty bars of different styles for every personality . Another popular university event that draws both students and also a vast number of residents from the community is home football games. Students of the university cheer and support their team while dressed in black and gold, the university's school colors. A common activity that many students engage in is tailgating, which many students begin promptly as the sun rises . In addition, there are hundreds of student organizations, including groups focused on politics, sports, games, lifestyles, dance, song, and theater, and a variety of other activities. The University also tries to sponsor events that give students an alternative to the typical drinking scene. In 2004 the University established an annual $25,000 contact with the newly reopened Iowa City Englert Theatremarker to host concerts and performances for as many as 40 nights a year.

Students also participate in a variety of student media organizations. Students put together the Daily Iowan (often called the DI), which is printed every Monday through Friday while classes are in session. Daily Iowan TV, KRUI radio, Student Video Productions, Off Deadline magazine and Earthwords magazine are other examples of student-run media.


University of Iowa mascot, Herky.
Iowa Hawkeyes logo.
The school's sports teams, the Hawkeyes, participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Big Ten Conference.


Iowa's football team plays its home games at Kinnick Stadiummarker, named after former Iowa football player Nile Kinnick who won the Heisman Trophy in 1939. Kinnick Stadium hosts 70,585 fans. The stadium unveiled a new look in 2006 with the completion of a $90 million renovation. The renovation included new stands in the south endzone, a new press box, and a statue of Kinnick. In recent years, the football team has enjoyed much success, earning six national bowl appearances since 2001 including shared Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004. However, the program produced disappointing and mediocre records in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, after starting out 5–1, the team lost five of its last six games, including losses to perennially poor Indiana and Northwestern teams. Iowa lost to Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Iowa won it's bowl game in 2008. Iowa recently defeated BCS ranked #3 Penn State in the 2008 season. In the current 2009 season, Iowa is off to one of its best starts in school history, with a 10-2 record.

Iowa battles Iowa State Universitymarker annually for the Cy-Hawk Trophy, a traveling award. Although the Hawkeyes have dominated the overall series with the Cyclones (Iowa holds a 37–19 advantage). Iowa restored the Cy-Hawk Trophy in 2008 beating Iowa State 17–5 in Iowa City on 13 Sept 2008. Iowa also has a traditional rivalry with Minnesota. The two schools' football teams meet yearly to battle for Floyd of Rosedale, a traveling trophy in the shape of a bronzed pig. On November 22, 2008 the Hawkeyes routed a 7-4 Minnesota team 55-0 during the Golden Gopher's last game in the Metrodomemarker. In 2004, Iowa and Wisconsinmarker unveiled the Heartland Trophy, a bronze bull, to be played for in their annual rivalry.


Iowa is famous for its extremely successful collegiate wrestling program. Through 2009, the Hawkeyes wrestling team has won 22 national titles and 33 Big Ten titles. Coach Dan Gable's Gang won nine straight NCAA team championships (1978 to 1986) and twice won three in a row (1991 to 1993 and 1995 to 1997). Iowa's 48 NCAA Champions have won a total of 74 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 13 two-time champions. Furthermore, Iowa's 130 all-Americans have earned all-America status 261 times, including 16 four-time, 27 three-time and 30 two-time honorees. Sports Illustrated named the Iowa program one of the top sports dynasties of the 20th century.[33138] The program again made the news on March 29, 2006 when it was announced that wrestling coach Jim Zalesky's contract will not be renewed. About a month later, Iowa hired former 4 time All-American and Olympic champion Tom Brands as the new head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The University of Iowa wrestling program has consistently held an edge over in-state rival Iowa State. Iowa Wrestling won the NCAA National Team Titles in 2008 and 2009.

Men's basketball

The Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball team currently plays in 15,500-seat Carver-Hawkeye Arenamarker, along with the school's women's basketball, wrestling, and volleyball teams.

Throughout history, the Hawkeyes have enjoyed the successes of eight Big Ten regular season conference championships, the last coming in 1979. More recently, Iowa has won the Big Ten tournament twice, in 2001 and 2006. Iowa also has 22 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament appearances, including three Final Fours, reaching the semifinals in 1955 and 1980 and playing in the championship game against the University San Franciscomarker in 1956.

The team experienced success in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s under head coaches Lute Olson and Tom Davis. Under Olson, the Hawkeyes won their last Big Ten regular season championship (1979) and went to their last Final Four to date (1980).

Other sports

The Iowa Hawkeye women's basketball team experienced great success in the 1980s and early 1990s under coach C. Vivian Stringer. In 1985, the Hawkeyes became the first women's basketball team in history to sellout in advance.[33139] During Stringer's tenure, the Hawkeyes appeared in 10 Women's NCAA Tournaments, including 9 consecutive berths from 1985-86 through 1993–94. Additionally, the Hawkeyes appeared in the 1993 Women's Final Four, losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the semifinals. Stringer's successor at Iowa, Angie Lee, took Iowa to an additional 3 NCAA tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance during the 1995-96 season. Current coach Lisa Bluder has taken the Hawkeyes to five NCAA tournaments and two WNIT berths, including an appearance in the WNIT semifinals during the 2004–2005 season. Most recently, the women were Big 10 Champions (tying with Ohio State) in 2008.

The trampoline was invented by university members George Nissen and Larry Griswold around 1935. Griswold, was the assistant gymnastics coach and Nissen was a tumbler on the gymnastics team.

On June 23, 2006 it was announced that former University of Wyomingmarker athletic director Gary Barta had been named the new athletic director of the University. Barta replaced Bob Bowlsby, who left the University on July 9th to become the new athletic director of Stanford Universitymarker.

The women's soccer team defeate Iowa State in the 2009 season.

The University of Iowa has many club teams that compete in water polo, baseball, rugby, lacrosse, volleyball, crew, soccer, ice hockey, and other sports. There is also a women's flag football team.


Many University of Iowa alumni have achieved fame and reputation after graduating. These people include athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, scientists, to technological innovators. From its Iowa Writers' Workshopmarker, the University boasts a number of Pulitzer Prizes winners (most recently Writer's Workshop faculty member Marilynne Robinson for her novel Gilead in 2005), as well as numerous National Book Awards and other major literary honors.

National Football League

National Basketball Association

Major League Baseball



Iowa's 1,700+ faculty members includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, five former clerks to U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker justices, and numerous members of the nation’s most prestigious scholarly academies:

Past university presidents

  • Amos Dean (1855-1859)
  • Silas Totten (1859-1862)
  • Oliver Spencer (1862-1867)
  • James Black (1868-1870)
  • George Thacher (1871-1877)
  • Josiah Pickard (1878-1887)
  • Charles Schaeffer (1887-1898)
  • George MacLean (1899-1911)
  • John Bowman (1911-1914)
  • Thomas Macbride (1914-1916)
  • Walter Jessup (1916-1934)
  • Eugene Allen Gilmore (1934-1940)
  • Virgil Hancher (1940-1964)
  • Howard Bowen (1964-1969)
  • Willard Boyd (1969-1981)
  • James O. Freedman (1982-1987)
  • Hunter R. Rawlings III (1988-1995)
  • Mary Sue Coleman (1995-2002)
  • David Skorton (2003-2006)
  • Sally Mason (2007-Present)

Iowa's most recent presidents have left to become presidents at several of the most prestigious colleges and universities of the United States: Dartmouth Collegemarker (James O. Freedman in 1987), The University of Michiganmarker (Mary Sue Coleman in 2002), and Cornell Universitymarker (Hunter R. Rawlings III in 1995 and David Skorton in 2006).

See also


External links

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