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The University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls, Iowamarker, is a state-supported university that offers more than 120 majors across the colleges of Business Administration, Education, Humanities and Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral sciences, and graduate college.

The Fall 2009 enrollment is 13,080, including 11,147 undergraduate students and 1,933 graduate students. Ninety-two percent of its students are from the State of Iowamarker, in the United Statesmarker.

UNI has consistently been named one of the "Best in the Midwest" in the Princeton Review Best 351 College Rankings guide, and has ranked second in Midwest top public comprehensive universities by U.S. News and World Report for twelve consecutive years. UNI's accounting program has consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the nation for the pass rate of first-time candidates on the CPA Exam.

At UNI class sizes are generally small (fewer than 30 students) and are mostly taught by faculty, not teaching assistants. Tenured and tenure-track faculty teach 75 percent of UNI's classes.

For students interested in studying abroad, UNI is ranked fourth in the nation for the total number of students who study abroad among master's degree institutions, according to Open Doors 2002, the annual report on international education published by the Institute of International Education.


The University of Northern Iowa was founded as a result of two influential forces of the nineteenth century. First, Iowa wanted to care for orphans of its Civil War veterans, and secondly, Iowa needed a public teacher training institution. In 1876, when Iowa no longer needed an orphan home, legislators Edward G. Miller and H.C. Hemenway started the Iowa State Normal School.

The school’s first building opened in 1869 and was known as Central Hall. The building contained classrooms, common areas, and a living facility for most of the students. It was also a home to the college’s first principal, James Cleland Gilchrist. The building was the heart and soul of the school, allowing students to study courses of two-year, three-year, and four-year degrees. In 1965, a fire destroyed Central Hall, and school faculty and Cedar Falls citizens donated over $5000 to start building Gilchrist Hall.

The school has been known under the following names:
  • Iowa State Normal School, 1896-1909
  • Iowa State Teachers College, 1934-1961
  • State College of Iowa, 1961-1967
  • University of Northern Iowa, 1967-present

Student Newspapers:
  • Students Offering 1888 - 1889
  • Normal Eyte 1892 - 1911
  • College Eye 1911 - 1967
  • Northern Iowan 1967 - present


University of Northern Iowa Colleges include:

Educational Opportunities

The University of Northern Iowa has a very active program of allowing students to pursue educational opportunities outside the state of Iowa and also the country.

Liberal Arts

UNI has implemented a Liberal Arts Core (LAC) in order to provide a common liberal-arts foundation for all undergraduate students.

LAC Categories
Category 1 Core Competencies
Category 2 Civilizations and Cultures
Category 3 Fine Arts, Literature, Philosophy and Religion
Category 4 Natural Science and technology
Category 5 Social Science
Category 6 Capstone Experience

Study Abroad

UNI provides an opportunity for the students to study in 40+ countries and select from over 500 programs. In addition to semester and academic year programs students may choose to take part in summer and short term programs abroad. A number of study abroad programs are exchanges in which students pay UNI tuition to attend the overseas partner schools. UNI also offers research internship and student teaching opportunities abroad. Most programs available offer courses in English. Students interested in improving foreign language skills have many program choices available to them through UNI Study Abroad programs. UNI Study Abroad Center also offers scholarships to qualified students studying overseas.

Culture and Intensive English Program

The Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP) is an intensive program in English for non-native speakers. It is designed to prepare students for academic work at the undergraduate or graduate degree level

North American Review

The university is the publisher of The North American Review (called the NAR), a celebrated literary magazine that began originally in Boston in 1815. Its past editors have included James Russell Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton, and Henry Adams; while among its past contributors are Mark Twain, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Walt Whitman, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Guy Davenport and Margaret Atwood. In 1968, when the magazine was purchased by UNI, Robley Wilson was appointed editor, a position he continued in until his retirement in 2000. The current editors are Grant Tracey and Vince Gotera.

In S. Duperray and R. Vidaling, Front Page: Covers of the Twentieth Century (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2003) the NAR is featured with Paris Match, The New Yorker, Vogue and twenty-four other famous magazines, and is described as being "a real institution in the United States, as much for its quality as its longevity." Since its acquisition by UNI, that book continues, the magazine has "distinguished itself" by winning a long list of prizes, both in literature and design. It has twice won the National Magazine Award for Fiction and was a finalist for that award five times; placed stories in the annual O. Henry anthologies four times, in the Pushcart Prize annuals nine times, in Best American Short Stories eight times, in Best American Essays twice, in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Travel Writing. As for its graphics, the NAR has three times been represented in Communication Arts illustration annual, twice in the Society of Publication Designers' annual, four times in the Print regional design annual, and twice won the "Ozzie" gold award for best cover among consumer magazines with a circulation of less than 100,000.

Teaching and Research Greenhouse

The University of Northern Iowa Teaching and Research Greenhouse is a greenhouse complex incorporating botanical gardens for research and education. It is located on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowamarker.

The greenhouse contains plants from many ecotypes, including 250 tropical plants, an extensive collection of arid climate plants, and the Aquatic Learning Center


The school's mascot is the Panther. They participate in the NCAA's Division I (I-FCS for football) in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and in the Missouri Valley Conference for Women's and Men's Basketball and all other sports. The major arena on campus is the UNI-Domemarker currently the home of the football team. The Dome also serves as a venue for many local concerts, high school football playoffs, trade shows, and other events. In 2006, the University opened a new arena, the McLeod Centermarker, to serve as the home for several athletic programs, including men's and women's basketball.

UNI Athletics has enjoyed great success lately with the Men's basketball team competing in the NCAA tournament three consecutive times in 2004, 2005, 2006, and again in 2009. The football team has been ranked in the I-AA (FCS) top 25 almost every year for the last two decades. The team appeared in the I-AA championship game in 2005, only to lose a close game to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. During 2007, the team was ranked #1 in the country by the TSN FCS poll for several weeks. The football team went undefeated in 2007 with an 11-0 record, a first for any school in the 23 year history of the Gateway conference. In 2001 and 2002 the volleyball team reached the NCAA Sweet 16 round, and in 2006 made it to the second round, and has competed in the tournament numerous times. The track team is also very successful (usually ranked in the top 25), as is the wrestling and volleyball teams.

The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team won the NCAA Division I national championship as ISTC in 1949 and NCAA Division II national championships in 1975 and 1978. In 1977 the women's softball team won the AIAW national championship.

The University of Northern Iowa is one of only two schools in the history of college football to have both an Offensive and Defensive MVP in the NFL. Bryce Paup and Kurt Warner both are alumns and both have won the MVP award.


There are many traditions at UNI but none as popular as campaniling. The UNI campanile comes alive Friday night of Homecoming week each year. At the stroke of midnight, students flock around the tower to sneak a kiss from a long time lover or someone you just met. This tradition has lived on since shortly after construction had finished with the tower. Back in the 1920s and beyond, there were very few men on campus. The tradition then was that the men would call a random woman to come meet them at the campanile. The men would hide in the bushes and if he did not like what he saw, he would leave her waiting and go back and call another random woman instead. A second tradition has to do with the women. It was said if you did not get a kiss at midnight by a guy, you were not considered a full-fledged co-ed. This trend faded out for a little while but made a comeback in 1979 by the Alumni Association.

There is also a tradition of wearing purple on the Friday of Homecoming. The entire city is encouraged to show support for UNI, along with wearing "UNI:Purple for Life" buttons, or any others they have. It promotes a sense of unity and school pride in the community.

UNI Presidents

# President Start of term End of term
1 James Cleland Gilchrist 1876 1886
2 Homer Horatio Seerley 1886 1928
3 Orval Ray Latham 1928 1940
4 Malcolm Poyer Price 1940 1950
5 James William Maucker 1951 1970
6 John Joseph Kamerick 1970 1983
7 Constantine William Curris 1983 1995
8 Robert D. Koob 1995 2006
9 Benjamin Allen 2006 Present

President Allen's Website UNI President

Campus Buildings

Schindler Education Center
The oldest building at UNI, Lang Hall.
  • Baker Hall - Faculty offices. Formerly an all male dormitory
  • Bartlett Hall - Coed Dormitory.
  • Bender Hall - Coed Dormitory(Towers Complex)
  • Begeman Hall - Newly Renovated Physics Building - opened October 5 2007
  • Biology Research Complex
  • Communication Arts Center - Location of radio station KUNI marker's studios.
  • Campbell Hall - Coed (formerly female only) dormitory
  • Curris Business Building
  • Center for Energy & Environmental Education
  • Center for Educational Technology
  • Center for Urban Education - Located in Waterloo
  • Dancer Hall - Coed Dormitory (Towers Complex)
  • Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center
  • Gilchrist Hall - Administration building. Closed until 2008 due to arson fire during homecoming, Fall 2005, now reopened [9611]
  • Greenhouse Annex - Part of the McCollum Science Hall
  • Hagemann Hall - All Female Dormitory (Part of Quads Complex)
  • Industrial Technology Center - Academic Building
  • Innovative Teaching and Technology Center - Previously known as the East Gymnasium. Former Women's Gym. Remodeling was completed late Spring 2006
  • Kamerick Art Building - Academic Building
  • Latham Hall - Academic Building
  • Lawther Hall - All female dormitory
  • Lang Hall - Academic Building housing the communication departments.
  • Maucker Student Union
  • McLeod Center - Home of UNI Men's and Women's Basketball, Volleyball, and Wrestling
  • McCollum Science Hall - Academic Building housing the science departments.
  • Museum
  • Native Roadside Vegetation Center
  • Noehren Hall - Coed Dormitory (Part of Quads Complex)
  • Price Laboratory School - K-12 School Run in Conjunction with the University
  • Redeker Center - Center of Quads Complex. Houses UNI Department of Residence and Piazza Dining Center
  • Residence on the Hill (ROTH) - Coed Suite Style Residence Hall for Upperclassmen
  • Rider Hall - Coed (formerly male only) Dormitory (Part of the Quads Complex)
  • Rod Library
  • Russell Hall - Academic building and auditorium housing the Music departments
  • Sabin Hall - Academic Building
  • Schindler Education Center - Academic Building housing the education departments
  • Seerley Hall - Home of the Office of the President. Also an Academic Building, home to the History department
  • Shull Hall - Coed (formerly male only) Dormitory, recently remodeled for upperclassmen only (Part of Quads Complex)
  • Student Health Center-Student Health Clinic, Counseling Center, Student Disability Services, Violence Intervention Services.
  • Student Services Center - Attached to Bartlett Hall, formerly known as East Bartlett
  • Strayer-Wood Theatre - Theatre that also houses the theatre department of UNI. Home of Theatre UNI
  • Towers Center - Home of the Rialto Dining Center
  • UNI-Dome - Stadium with seating for 16,000+. Home of UNI Football
  • Wellness Recreation Center
  • Wright Hall - Academic Building housing the Mathematics and Computer Sciences Departments.
  • West Gymnasium - Former home of UNI Women's Basketball. Women's volleyball and Men's Wrestling. Current Practice Facility

School Songs

UNI Fight

Hail our Panthers, we are ever loyal,Showing our strength and unity.As we rise, we firmly stand behind you,Urge you on to victory.Rah! Rah! Rah!As you lead us on to fame and honor,Fight! Fight! Fight! will be our cry.So, give us a yell, Ho! the purple and the gold,Victory for UNI!

Alma Mater

UNI O Alma Mater

Hear our voices now in song;

Hail to thee, O state of plenty,

Thou has raised it proud and strong.

True in spirit, strong in knowledge

UNI, we sing our homage.

Hail to thee, O Alma Mater

Our tomorrows shall be thine.

From the hallowed halls of learning,

Rising from the fertile land;

Guide to fame thy sons and daughters,

In the pattern on thy hand.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. University of Northern Iowa, Gerald L. Peterson, Aracadia Publishing, 2000.

External links

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