University of Iowa | History and definition of the University of Iowa | University of Iowa Logo

The University of Iowa (also known as UI, or simply Iowa) is a public flagship state-supported research university located in Iowa City, Iowa. The University of Iowa is the oldest public university in the state. The university is organized into eleven colleges granting undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. UI is categorized as RU/VH Research University (very high research activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The university is a group member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, the Big Ten Conference, Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and the Universities Research Association.

The University is home to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, nationally recognized as one of America's best hospitals. According to U.S. News and Reports, three specialty departments were recognized as being in the top ten across the country. They are Otolaryngology (4th), Ophthalmology and visual sciences (6th) and Orthopaedics and rehabilitation (9th). It is one of the largest university-owned teaching hospitals in the nation. Iowa was the first American institution of higher learning to accept creative work for academic credit, and developed the Master of Fine Arts degree.

The University of Iowa was originally named The State University of Iowa, and this remains the institution's official 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 Iowa became a state.

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 Amos Dean.

The original campus was composed of the Iowa Old Capitol Building and the 10 acres (40,000 m2) (4.046 hectares) 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 Moines in 1857, Old Capitol became the first permanent "home" of the University.

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). The university offered its first doctoral degree in 1898.

The university was the first state-university to officially recognize the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied Union (1970).

Iowa established the first law school west of the Mississippi 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).

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 City, 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, Iowa 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, UNESCO designated Iowa City the world's third City of Literature, making it part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

On April 18, 2011, anthropology and women's studies professor Ellen Lewin responded to a campus-wide email from the University of Iowa College Republicans with the controversial response of "F*** YOU REPUBLICANS!" The eventual response drew nationwide attention.

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

Of architectural note is the Pentacrest at the center of The University of Iowa campus. The Pentacrest comprises five major campus buildings: Old Capitol, 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 are five residence halls (Burge, Daum, Stanley, Currier, and Mayflower), the Iowa Memorial Union, the Pappajohn Business Building, Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences, the Lindquist Center (home of the College of Education), Phillips Hall (the foreign language building), Van Allen Hall (home to physics and astronomy), the English-Philosophy Building, and the buildings for biology, chemistry, geology & environmental sciences, psychology, communications, and journalism. The Main Library can also be found on the east side.

The Colleges of Law, Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Public Health are on the western side of the Iowa River, along with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Theatre Building, and Voxman Music Building. Additionally, five residence halls (Hillcrest, Slater, Reinow, Quadrangle, and Parklawn), Kinnick Stadium, and Carver-Hawkeye Arena 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 Coralville.

The flood of 2008 had a major impact on a number of campus buildings, forcing many building to temporarily close. The Iowa Memorial Union was closed for a period of time, and the ground floor of this building is still closed as it undergoes renovation. The arts campus, which includes Hancher, Voxman, Clapp Recital Hall, and the Theatre Building, was hit especially hard. The theatre building has since reopened, but the music facilities have not. Music classes were for a short time held in temporary trailers, and now music classrooms are spread throughout campus. Recently, a University task force suggested to state regents that Hancher be rebuilt near its current site on the West bank of the Iowa River and Voxman and Clapp be built nearer to the main campus on South Clinton Street.

University of Iowa in rankings
  1. One of the top ten international universities in the U.S. according to the Asian Correspondent, April 1, 2010
  2. 26th best public university in the nation — U.S. News & World Report, 2008 edition
  3. 66th best university in the nation, tied with University of Connecticut and Purdue University – U.S. News & World Report, 2009 edition
  4. The best university in the state of Iowa – U.S. News & World Report, 2008 edition
  5. 21 graduate programs ranked among the top 10 such programs in the country — U.S. News & World Report, 2008 edition.
  6. One of only two public universities in the Midwest listed as "best buys" — Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2008
  7. 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
  8. 188th best university in the world according to the 2010 QS World University Rankings.
  9. "A picturesque campus, a thriving social scene, and the excitement of Big Ten athletic teams" — Insider’s Guide to the Colleges, 2007
  10. 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.
  11. Iowa's 1,700-acre (6.9 km2) 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.
  12. The University of Iowa Law Library is ranked #1 in the nation by the National Jurist.
  13. The University of Iowa's graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology has been ranked #1 in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2010 Edition).
  14. 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.
  15. The University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business was named by Business Week as one of the top fifty business schools in the nation.
  16. The Tippie School of Management's full-time MBA program is in the top 3% of MBA programs in the U.S. The program is ranked in many categories by several different organizations including: 20th overall and the 4th fastest payback (U.S.) by Forbes; 20th for public universities and 40th overall (U.S.) by U.S. News; 64th overall (world), 32nd overall (U.S.), 9th in finance, 1st for employment percentage (11th in the world), 3rd for value, 15th for placement success (19th in the world) and 17th for aims achieved by Financial Times; 37th (North America) and 15th (U.S.) by The Economist; .
  17. The 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.
  18. The 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.
  19. The University of Iowa's College of Pharmacy has been ranked #16 in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2008 Edition).
  20. The University of Iowa School of Art & Art History's Fine Arts program has been ranked #21 in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2008 Edition).
  21. The University of Iowa's College of Education is the nation's first permanent college-level department of education (1872)
Campus museums
  1. University of Iowa Museum of Art
  2. Museum of Natural History
  3. Old Capitol Museum
  4. Medical Museum
  5. Athletic Hall of Fame and Museum
  6.  Project Art (University Hospitals and Clinics)
Much of the student night-life in Iowa City is centered around the pedestrian mall ("ped mall"), which contains numerous restaurants, local shops/boutiques, and over thirty bars. A popular university event that draws both students and also a vast number of residents from the entire midwest is home football games. A related activity that many students engage in is tailgating, which many students begin promptly as the sun rises. The University of Iowa is well known for its party and social scene: it was given the rank of 10th-best party school in the United States by Playboy magazine in 2010, and has appeared on similar top ten lists of several other publications. 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 contract with the newly reopened Iowa City Englert Theatre to host concerts and performances for as many as 40 nights a year.

Students also participate in a variety of student media organizations. Students edit and manage The Daily Iowan newspaper (often called the DI), which is printed every Monday through Friday while classes are in session. An early editor of the DI was noted pollster George Gallup. Daily Iowan TV, KRUI radio, Student Video Productions, Off Deadline magazine and Earthwords magazine are other examples of student-run media.