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UNF Digs: Highlights from the school’s first 25 years

Graphic by Ben Cross
Graphic by Ben Cross

UNF Digs is a weekly column that delves into UNF’s archives to find treasures worth sharing. This column would be more of a snapshot of UNF’s history than an excerpt from a history textbook. But let us do the digging and brush up on your university history with UNF Digs.

This week: Highlights from the school’s first 25 years

Ever hear of the quarter-life crisis? Well, step aside because there’s a new kind of pressure that makes us college students feel like we should have life figured out before 25.

If you think about it, the University of North Florida wasn’t built in a day. Although the University had many successes during its first 25 years, there was still much to accomplish. Let’s look at the bright side and read-up on the top ten milestones for UNF before it turned 25. While you’re at it, take a moment to reflect on your own achievements and to look forward to the ones to come.


650 guests attend the UNF groundbreaking including Florida Governor Reubin Askew, Board of Regents Chancellor Robert Mautz, Commissioner of Education Floyd Christian and local Regent J.J. Daniel.


UNF welcomes 2,027 students during its first semester. At this time, the campus consists of only four major buildings and three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Education and Business Administration. The library opens with 100,000 cataloged volumes on its shelves.


The UNF Nature Trails open. And on June 10, the University holds its first graduation for 35 students.


UNF’s original Boathouse is destroyed by fire. UNF Downtown Center opens for students.


The library is renamed as the Thomas G. Carpenter Library, dedicated on August 15.


This is the first year freshmen are admitted to UNF.


The Aquatic Center and Olympic size pool opens.


Rich Matteson, professor of music, is inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame. The first doctoral degree program begins.


The UNF Arena opens, and UNF joins NCAA Division 11.


More than 10,000 students enroll during Fall registration. The new College of Health building opens. Dottie Dorion Fitness Center opens.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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