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University of Maryland Timeline

  March 6, 1856
Maryland Agricultural College chartered.

Site selected. 428 acres of Charles Benedict Calvert's Riversdale plantation; purchase price $20,000.

In 1858, Maryland Agricultural College trustees issue stock to help launch the college, the forerunner of the University of Maryland.

October 5, 1859
Opening day and formal dedication of the Maryland Agricultural College; Joseph Henry, head of the Smithsonian Institution is speaker; 34 students enrolled; among them are the four sons of Charles Benedict Calvert: George, Charles, William and Eugene.

Benjamin Hallowell (1799-1877) was president of the Maryland Agricultural College for one month after the opening of the college.

John Work Scott (1807-1879) elected president of Maryland Agricultural College but never arrives on campus.

John M. Colby served as president from 1860 to 1861.

Henry Onderdonk (d. 1895) was president from 1861 to 1864.

July 2, 1862
President Lincoln signs the Morrill Land Grant Act providing federal support for state colleges to teach agriculture, mechanical arts and military tactics.

July 11, 1862
First degrees awarded to William B. Sands and Thomas Franklin.

February 1864
Maryland legislature votes to accept Morrill grant and designates the Maryland Agricultural College as a land grant institution.

April 24, 1864
Nicholas B. Worthington, a magazine editor and professor, was acting president from 1864 to 1867.

Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside and 6,000 men of the Union's Ninth Army Corps, en route to joining Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia, camp on the college grounds.

July 11, 1864
As part of the Jubal Early's Confederate raid on Washington, Gen. Bradley T. Johnson and 400 men spend the night on the college grounds. MAC President Henry Onderdonk resigns in the aftermath of this visit, following controversy over welcome afforded the Confederate troops.

College is bankrupt; becomes a preparatory school.

February 1866
Legislature appropriates money for half ownership; college becomes, in part, a state institution.

Fall 1866
College fails to open.

George Washington Custis Lee (1832-1913), the son of Robert E. Lee and a former major general on Jefferson Davis's personal staff, is appointed president. Lee does not accept the appointment, for personal and political reasons, and never arrives on campus. He is replaced that same year by Charles L.C. Minor.

October 1867
College reopens with 11 students.

Franklin Buchanan (1800-1874) is president from 1868 to 1869.

Samuel Regester, a Methodist minister and graduate of St. John's College, is named president.

Enrollment steady at about 100 students; debts paid off.

Samuel Jones, a graduate of West Point and former Confederate major general, serves as president until 1875.

Military training emphasized; in 15 years only 49 students graduate.

William H. Parker (1826-1896) is president from 1875 to 1882. Parker, a New Yorker who was first in his class at the Naval Academy, served as a captain in the Confederate navy, and founded the Confederate Naval Academy in Richmond.

Augustine J. Smith, a commercial agent for a manufacturing firm from Maryland, president from 1883 to 1887, focuses on public relations activities, trying to build support and loyalty among farmers, students and the members of the state legislature. Smith accumulated a debt of over $15,000. Pleading ill health, he resigned.

Series of state laws give college many powers: control of farm disease, state weather bureau, state geological survey, inspection of feeds, board of forestry and others, some of which are later separated from the school.

The college's first recorded intercollegiate athletic competitions were baseball games against St. John's College and the Naval Academy. (However, students had been playing baseball since the time of the Civil War.)

Hatch Act creates federally funded agricultural experiment stations; the trustees offer the college farm and Rossborough Inn for that purpose.

Augustine J. Smith, a commercial agent for a manufacturing firm from Maryland, president from 1883 to 1887, focuses on public relations activities, trying to build support and loyalty among farmers, students and the members of the state legislature.

Henry E. Alvord (1844—1904) is hired as both director of the new, federally-funded Agricultural Experiment Station and as the College president.

Second Morrill Act provides direct federal funding for technical education "without distinction of race or color."

The first Korean to earn a degree at a U.S. college, Pyon Su, was killed by a train shortly after graduating from Maryland Agricultural College. He is buried in nearby Beltsville.

Richard W. Silvester (b. 1857) serves as president from 1892 until 1912, when he resigns after a fire destroys the main and the new administration buildings.

Morrill Hall, oldest academic building still in use, built for about $24,000.

Wright brothers lay out nearby College Park Airport.

November 29, 1912
A fire begun at a Thanksgiving Dance destroys every dormitory, half of the classrooms and offices and most of the college records; the loss appraised at $150,000. Miraculously, there were no injuries or deaths.

Richard Silvester resigns. Thomas H. Spence (1867-1937), a professor of languages, serves briefly as acting president.

Harry J. Patterson (1866-1948), a graduate of Pennsylvania State College, director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station is appointed president.

September 18, 1913
First fraternity established on campus, Gamma Pi.

Smith-Lever Act encourages land-grant colleges to establish home economics courses.

Chun-Jun C. Chen, of Shanghai, entered Maryland as its first Chinese student. All four of his sons attended the University of Maryland as well.

State takes over full control of college, changes name to Maryland State College of Agriculture.

First women students enrolled.

Albert F. Woods (1866-1948) is named president. During his tenure as president, Woods creates seven schools, each with its own dean: agriculture, engineering and mechanic arts, liberal arts, chemistry, education, home economics and the graduate school. Preparatory school abolished.

Sigma Delta is first sorority to be recognized.

April 9, 1920
Consolidation of University of Maryland links College Park and Baltimore campuses; Albert F. Woods, incumbent College Park president, becomes president of the new University of Maryland.

First woman receives a bachelor's degree.

Graduate School awards first Ph.D. degrees; enrollment totals 522 students, 22 of whom are women.

Student newspaper named the Diamondback.

Dean of Women Adele Stamp arrives on campus. Stamp saw the number of women students grow from 103 in 1922 to 4,162 the year she retired, 1960. Today, the Student Union bears her name.

November 1925
University granted accreditation by the Association of American Universities.

Raymond A. Pearson is president of the university. His main contribution to Maryland was a greatly expanded physical plant, both in Baltimore and College Park, with 13 buildings added, as well as additional acreage.

The men's lacrosse team earned its first national title, a title they would win 11 more times over the course of the next seven decades.

Many residence halls and classroom buildings constructed; enrollment increases from 2,066 students in 1935 to 3,611 in 1940 and just over 4,000 by 1945.

Enrollment increases to nearly 10,000 students under GI Bill; three-fourths of the students live off campus.

H. C. "Curley" Byrd is appointed acting university president on June 28, 1935; on Feb. 21, 1936, he is named president. A 1908 graduate of the Maryland Agricultural College with a B.S. in engineering, Byrd began his 43-year career at the University of Maryland with a temporary two-week stint coaching football in 1911. He taught English and history, was athletic director, and served as an assistant to Raymond Pearson before becoming president.

First African American graduate student enrolls at College Park.

First African American undergraduate student, Hiram Whittle, enrolls at College Park.

Parren Mitchell, first African American graduate student to take all of his classes at College Park, graduates.

Thomas B. Symons (1881-1970) is acting president of the university for nine months.

Wilson H. Elkins serves as university president. At the University of Maryland, Elkins emphasizes basic subjects and strict academic standards. In 1957, he unveils the Academic Probation Plan, which subjects 1,550 students—18 percent of the undergraduate enrollment—to expulsion because their averages fell to below a C. Fourteen percent are sent home. By 1964, 77 percent of freshmen come from the top half of their high school classes, and Phi Beta Kappa—which turned down Maryland twice before—establishes a chapter.

September 23, 1955
University Senate officially established. A faculty governing body had been in place at Maryland as early as 1919.

McKeldin Library completed.

Tawes Fine Arts Building constructed.

Charles Edwin Bishop is first chancellor of the College Park campus.

John W. Dorsey is named acting chancellor.

Robert L. Gluckstern serves as chancellor.

William E. Kirwan is interim chancellor.

John B. Slaughter is chancellor.

Fall 1985
College Park enrollment reaches 38,679, the highest in its history.

July 1, 1988
The five University of Maryland campuses reorganized with the six Board of Trustees institutions to form a University of Maryland System; College Park is designated the flagship university of the new system. The title of chancellor is changed to president .

The university establishes its own alumni association to serve approximately 163,000 alumni.

William E. Kirwan serves as president of the university.

First students enter College Park Scholars program.

The College of Engineering is renamed the A. James Clark School of Engineering, in honor of its 1950 alumnus and benefactor.

University breaks ground for a new center for the performing arts.

The Robert H. Smith School of Business bears the name of its alumnus and benefactor.

April 22, 1999
Artist and benefactor Clarice Smith, wife of Robert H. Smith '50, gives a generous gift to the new performing arts center slated to open in 2000. The center will be named in her honor.

April 23, 1999
Clayton Daniel (Dan) Mote, Jr. inaugurated as the 31st president of the University of Maryland.

September 1-October 31, 2010
Provost Nariman Farvardin served as acting president.

October 4, 2010
The College of Chemical and Life Sciences is integrated with the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences to form the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

November 1, 2010
Wallace D. Loh became the 33rd president of the University of Maryland.