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Timeline

1856

Maryland Agricultural College (MAC), forerunner of the University of Maryland, is chartered on March 6.

1858

For $20,000, Charles Benedict Calvert sells the state 428 acres of his Rossburg Farm slave plantation for the site of MAC.

1859

MAC is formally dedicated. The 34 enrolled white male students, who include Calvert’s four sons, are called cadets to reflect the school’s emphasis on military training.

Benjamin Hallowell, a Quaker, accepts the presidency, on the condition that the campus farm not use slave labor. He resigns 30 days later after a prescription mishap nearly kills him. 

1860

John Work Scott is elected president but never arrives on campus. John M. Colby serves instead.

1861

Henry Onderdonk begins presidency.

1862

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Land Grant Act, providing federal support for state colleges to teach agriculture, mechanical arts and military tactics. The Maryland legislature votes to accept a Morrill grant two years later.

MAC awards its first degrees to William B. Sands and Thomas Franklin.

1864

Both sides in the Civil War camp out on campus: 6,000 Union troops under Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside in April, and 400 Confederates who participate in Jubal Early’s raid on Washington in July.

Students, faculty and administrators serve on both sides of the war, with most fighting for the Confederacy. President Henry Onderdonk resigns due to the institution’s faltering finances and accusations of Confederate troops getting a warm welcome.

Nicholas B. Worthington, a magazine editor and professor, is named acting president.

1865

The Maryland legislature designates MAC as the land-grant institution for the state.

1866

As MAC faces financial problems, the legislature appropriates money for half-ownership. The college fails to reopen in the fall.

George Washington Custis Lee, the son of Robert E. Lee and a former major general on Jefferson Davis’ personal staff, is appointed president, sparking outrage in the General Assembly over the elevation of a “notorious rebel and traitor.” Lee does not accept the appointment and never arrives on campus.

1867

Charles L.C. Minor, who had enlisted in a Confederate artillery unit and later served in the cavalry, becomes president; the college reopens in October with 16 students.

1868

Franklin Buchanan becomes president. The Baltimore native had been the first U.S. Naval Academy superintendent and the highest-ranking officer in the Confederate navy.

1869

The baseball team inaugurates intercollegiate competition with games against the Star Club of Laurel and St. John’s College.

Samuel Regester, a Methodist minister, is named president. Enrollment is steady at about 100 students, and debts are paid off.

1871

Pastor A. Cooke of Panama becomes the first international student.

1873

Samuel Jones, a West Point graduate and former Confederate major general, begins his presidency. Military training is emphasized and, in the next 15 years, only 49 students graduate.

1875

William H. Parker becomes president. A New Yorker who was first in his class at the Naval Academy, he served as a captain in the Confederate navy and founded the Confederate Naval Academy in Richmond.

1883

Augustine J. Smith, a commercial agent for a manufacturing firm from Maryland, arrives as president and focuses on building support and loyalty among farmers, students and members of the state legislature. Smith accumulates a debt of over $15,000 and, pleading ill health, resigns.

1887

With the Hatch Act of 1887 creating federally funded agricultural experiment stations (AES), the Rossborough Inn becomes headquarters for Maryland’s Agricultural Experiment Station.

1888

Henry E. Alvord, a former Union soldier who implemented agricultural programs for Black Americans with the Freedman’s Bureau, is hired as both director of the AES and president of the college.

1890

The Second Morrill Act provides direct federal funding for technical education “without distinction of race or color,” leading to the establishment of separate land-grant institutions for Black students.

1891

Pyon Su is the first Korean to earn a degree at a U.S. college. He is killed by a train shortly after graduating and buried in nearby Beltsville.

1892

Richard W. Silvester begins a 20-year tenure as president.

MAC fields its first football team.

1894

The College of Engineering is founded.

1898

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

1912

On Nov. 29, a fire that started at a Thanksgiving dance destroys all dormitory rooms, half of the classrooms and offices and most of the college records, but no one is injured or killed. Silvester resigns. Thomas H. Spence, a professor of languages, serves briefly as acting president.

1913

Harry J. Patterson, AES director, is appointed president.

Gamma Pi becomes the first fraternity established on campus.

1915

Chunjen Constant Chen, enters MAC as its first Chinese student. He later teaches Chinese at the university (1956-67).

1916

The state takes full control of the college and changes its name to the Maryland State College of Agriculture.

Elizabeth Hook and Charlotte Vaux, the first women students, enroll.

1917

Albert F. Woods is named president. He creates seven schools, each with its own dean: agriculture (now the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources,) a reorganized school of engineering and mechanic arts, liberal arts, chemistry, education (now the College of Education), home economics and the Graduate School.

1919

Grace B. Holmes is the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree.

1920

The College Park and Baltimore campuses are consolidated. Woods becomes president of the new University of Maryland. The Graduate School awards its first Ph.D. degrees, and total enrollment reaches 522 students, including 22 women.

Sigma Delta becomes the first recognized sorority.

The student newspaper, beginning its eighth iteration, is reborn as The Diamondback.

1922

Dean of Women Adele H. Stamp, namesake of the student union, arrives on campus. Stamp helps expand the number of female students from 103 in 1922 to 4,162 in 1960, when she retires.

1925

The Association of American Universities grants accreditation to UMD.

1926

Raymond A. Pearson becomes president. UMD greatly expands in Baltimore and College Park, with 13 new buildings and additional acreage.

1932

Ritchie Coliseum opens to improve gymnasium facilities. A library, Shoemaker Hall, now the Counseling Center, opens. 

1933

Members of the Class of 1933 donate the money for Testudo, the original campus statue of the diamondback terrapin that became the university’s mascot. The 300-pound bronze statue is placed on a pedestal in front of Ritchie Coliseum.

1935

H.C. “Curley” Byrd is appointed acting university president, and leads a massive expansion of buildings and enrollment. He began his 43-year career at UMD with a two-week stint coaching football, taught English and history, was athletic director and served as an assistant to Raymond Pearson before becoming president. He was also a segregationist who fought integration and supported “separate but equal” educational facilities for white and Black students.

1938

The School of Commerce, now the Robert H. Smith School of Business, is established.

1939

Maryland Hillel, the hub for Jewish life on campus, opens.  

1944

The Health & Human Performance Building opens with classrooms, a gym and space for ROTC activities. … it was later renamed Reckord Armory for Maj. Gen. Milton Reckord, adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard.

1946

Under the new GI Bill, enrollment doubles to nearly 10,000 students, with three-fourths living off campus.

1947

The College of Journalism, which now bears the name of newspaper publisher Philip Merrill, is founded.

1949

The College of Physical Education, Recreation and Health, now the School of Public Health, is established.

1950

Byrd Stadium, now called Maryland Stadium, opens.

1951

With the assistance of the NAACP and lawyers such as Thurgood Marshall, Hiram Whittle, the first African American undergraduate student, enrolls. Three African American students receive master’s degrees in education.

1952

Parren Mitchell, the first African-American graduate student to take all of his classes at College Park, graduates. He becomes a civil rights leader, Maryland’s first Black member of Congress and the founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. The Art-Sociology Building, which opens in 1976, is later renamed in his honor.

Memorial Chapel opens, dedicated to Terps who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

1953

Under head coach Jim Tatum, the Terrapins football team is declared national champions with a 10-1 record.

1954

Thomas B. Symons is acting president of the university for nine months before Wilson H. Elkins takes over as president. Elkins emphasizes basic subjects and strict academic standards, unveiling an academic probation plan in 1957 and sending 18% of undergraduate students home. By 1964, 77% of freshmen are from the top half of their high school classes.

The student union, later named for Adele H. Stamp, dean for women, is built.

1955

Elaine Johnson arrives as one of seven Black students and in 1959 becomes the first African American female undergraduate to complete her degree, in education.

The University Senate is officially established.

Cole Field House opens.

1957

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Great Britain visit campus for a football game as guests of Elkins and Maryland Gov. Theodore McKeldin. The contest becomes known as the Queen’s Game.

1958

McKeldin Library is completed.

1963

Darryl Hill becomes the first Black football player at Maryland and breaks the color barrier in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Two years later, Billy Jones accomplishes the same in basketball.

1965

The Tawes Fine Arts Building opens.

The Graduate School of Library Sciences, now the College of Information Studies (iSchool), is founded.

1966

The General Honors Program, precursor to the Honors College, begins.

Rebecca Carroll is the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate, in education.

1967

The School of Architecture, now the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, is founded.

1969

Hagerstown Hall becomes the first co-ed residence hall, a significant change from restrictive rules previously placed on female students.

1970

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

National Guard troops are called to campus to respond to anti-Vietnam War protests. For much of May, clashes continue among students, police officers and guardsmen. 

1971

The Nyumburu Cultural Center, a hub for Black social, cultural and intellectual events and programming, opens. “Nyumburu” means “freedom house” in Swahili.

1972

The Undergraduate Library opens and is named in 1980 for R. Lee Hornbake, a faculty member who rose to vice president for academic affairs for the University System of Maryland.

Shuttle-UM is established by the Black Student Union to promote security for students walking through campus during the evening hours.

1974

UMD economics Professor and Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs John W. Dorsey is named acting chancellor.

1975

Physics Professor and University of Massachusetts administrator Robert L. Gluckstern becomes chancellor.

1976

Four years after the passage of Title IX prohibits sex-based discimination in federally funded schools and programs, Paula Girven and Jane Connolly are the first women to recieve athletic scholarships, in track and field and basketball, respectively.

Disability Support Services, now Accessibility and Disability Support Services, is established to provide equal access to UMD programs. 

The University of Maryland celebrates the U.S. bicentennial by establishing the M Circle on Campus Drive.

1981

School of Public Affairs, now the School of Public Policy, is founded.

1982

UMD mathematics Professor William E. Kirwan is named interim chancellor.

John B. Slaughter, an engineer and National Science Foundation director, becomes UMD’s first African American chancellor.

1986

Terp basketball star Len Bias dies of complications from cocaine intoxication, prompting changes in everything from UMD’s academic standards to national drug policy.

The College of Arts and Humanities is formed in a campuswide academic reorganization following the dissolution of the Division of Arts and Humanities.

African American studies, anthropology, economics, geography, government and politics, hearing and speech sciences, criminology and criminal justice, psychology and sociology merge in the new College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

1988

The five University of Maryland campuses are reorganized to form the University of Maryland System, now the University System of Maryland; College Park is designated the flagship university, and the title of chancellor is changed to president.

The university establishes its own alumni association.

1989

William E. Kirwan begins serving as president.

1993

The business college moves from Tydings Hall to the new Van Munching Hall, named for benefactor Leo Van Munching Jr. ’50.

The College Park-University of Maryland Metro station opens, connecting the university to the D.C. region’s growing mass transit network.

1994

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

1998

The Office of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity, now the LGBT Equity Center, is established.

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is given the name of its 1950 alumnus and benefactor.

1999

Clayton Daniel (Dan) Mote Jr., an engineering professor and vice chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, is inaugurated as president.

2001

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center opens, named in honor of a gift from the wife of Robert H. Smith ’50.

The David C. Driskell Center is created in honor of the pioneering African American artist, collector, scholar and distinguished university professor.

2002

The Terps men’s basketball team, led by head coach Gary Williams, wins the NCAA championship over Indiana, 64-52.

The Comcast Center, now called Xfinity Center, opens as home to basketball and gymnastics.

2004

M Square launches as the largest research park inside the Washington Beltway. Renamed the Discovery District in 2017, it spans 150 acres and is home to more than 60 organizations and companies and four federal agencies. 

2005

The Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center opens, named for a 1950 alumnus.

2006

The women’s basketball team under Coach Brenda Freese wins its first NCAA championship, beating Duke 78–75 in overtime. UMD becomes one of only two schools to have won the NCAA championship in men’s and women’s basketball.

2010

Wallace D. Loh, a public policy professor and administrator at several major universities, becomes UMD’s 33rd president, and its first of Asian heritage.

The College of Chemical and Life Sciences merges with the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences to form the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

2011

The field hockey team wins its second consecutive national championship, defeating North Carolina, 3-2. Coach Missy Meharg has led the team to seven of its eight NCAA titles.

2012

UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore forge the MPowering the State strategic partnership to expand academic and research programs, technological research and commercialization, and public service.

UMD completes the $1 billion Great Expectations fundraising campaign.

2014

UMD leaves the ACC and begins athletic competition in the Big Ten Conference.

The Physical Sciences Complex opens, housing the physics and astronomy departments, Institute for Physical Science and Technology, and Joint Quantum Institute.

2015

Byrd Stadium is renamed Maryland Stadium, due to the former president’s support of segregation.

The Frederick Douglass statue on Hornbake Plaza, honoring the abolitionist, statesman and Maryland native, is dedicated.

2016

UMD launches the Do Good Initiative to create a new generation of leadership in philanthropy, nonprofit management and social change.

2017

The Hotel at the University of Maryland opens as the first anchor of Greater College Park, a $2 billion public-private partnership to revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor.

Army ROTC 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, a Black Bowie State University student, is murdered by a white UMD student on campus; Bowie State and UMD later create the Social Justice Alliance to honor his legacy.

The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, named for the 1961 alum and benefactor, opens as the first new academic building on McKeldin Mall in 50 years.

The men’s lacrosse team, coached by John Tillman, defeats Ohio State 9-6 to win its third NCAA championship and 12th national title.

The A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation makes a $219.5 million investment to support scholarships and fellowships, faculty and new facilities at UMD, the sixth-largest gift to any public university.

2018

The men’s soccer team defeats Akron 1–0 to capture its third NCAA title under Coach Sasho Cirvoski and the fourth for the program.

2019

The women’s lacrosse team wins its 15th national title, and fifth under Coach Cathy Reese, with a 12-10 win over Boston College.

The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering officially opens with support from the alum’s $31 million gift. 

2020

Darryll J. Pines becomes UMD’s first Black president after a quarter century on the engineering faculty and more than a decade as A. James Clark School of Engineering dean. 

The COVID-19 pandemic prompts an unprecedented mobilization of faculty, staff and students, with most classes and operations moved remotely for more than a year and new public health measures such as masking and social distancing required for safety.

A new “M” landmark is completed along Campus Drive in anticipation of the light-rail Purple Line that will extend from Bethesda to New Carrollton and include stops on campus.

Information provided by University Archives.

About

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,700 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and nearly 400,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus.

DO GOOD 

Introducing The Nation's First Do Good Campus Transforming Idealism into Impact 

Academics

Spanning 12 schools and colleges, Maryland offers more than 300 degree-granting programs, many of them ranked among the best in the country. Our faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 58 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. And our students, who include the highest achievers in the state and nation, enjoy experiences unique to our location just outside the nation’s capital, including internships, research, and leadership and service opportunities.

Research and Innovation

The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. With our strategic location and scores of partnerships with government and businesses, UMD conducts groundbreaking research on some of the biggest challenges facing our global community, including cybersecurity and terrorism, bioengineering, public health equity, food safety and climate change. We strive to discover new knowledge and put it to work through innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing economic development and transforming lives. 


The newly launched Innovation Gateway will guide you to the resources, programs, partners, and spaces you need to activate and scale your fearless ideas into innovations that launch new ventures, catalyze growth, and advance economic development.

Arts

At the University of Maryland, the arts, the humanities and the sciences intersect to address important societal issues and shed new light on the human experience. Our vibrant campus arts community collaborates with local and national cultural organizations such as the Phillips Collection, Kennedy Center and Folger Shakespeare Library. Student and faculty artists, designers, historians, writers and performers are exploring new media, presenting new perspectives, investigating new techniques and engaging new audiences.

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Athletics

Home of the Terrapins, the University of Maryland has one of the nation’s most recognizable and successful athletics programs. More than 550 student-athletes compete each year in 20 intercollegiate sports—12 for women and eight for men. Since 2005 alone, Maryland has won 19 national championships, including NCAA titles in women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men's lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and field hockey. Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2014, UMD has won a combined 32 regular season and tournament championships. Fear the Turtle!

Our Commitment to Student-Athletes

At the University of Maryland, our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students is paramount and resolute. For our student-athletes, that means both on and off the field.
The University of Maryland is committed to accountability, transparency, and fairness and is working to ensure our program upholds the values of our University.
Learn more about our commitment.

Student Life

The Terp experience extends beyond classrooms, labs and studios. It encompasses residence halls and dining halls, clubs and sports, fraternities and sororities, campus events and performances, and countless off-campus destinations. Maryland touts 800-plus student organizations, dozens of prestigious living and learning communities, and countless other ways to get involved. Students here can create a unique identity and grow as individuals, even as they’re part of a close-knit and diverse community. 

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Coronavirus Updates:
We have worked diligently to develop and enhance plans for reopening our campus while prioritizing the health and safety of our community members. Hundreds of faculty, staff and students have collaborated in work-groups and teams to create and maintain a physically distant, yet academically and socially rich environment for the fall semester. Our plans continue to be coordinated with state and county health officials, with additional guidance provided by the University System of Maryland. Latest 4 Maryland Updates

Terps are bold, smart, curious and proud. We do good, in our communities and out in the world. We are fearless. And we are always looking to expand our ranks. Interested in becoming a University of Maryland student? This is where to start.

 

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