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The University of Wyoming: Founded in 1886
The University of Wyoming was founded in 1886, when Wyoming was still a territory. In September 1887, UW opened its doors to 42 students and 5 faculty members-as befitted the university of "The Equality State" both the students and faculty included women from the first day. Built on the outskirts of town in Laramie's city park, Old Main was UW's first building and held classes, the library, and administrative offices during the first years of the University's existence.
The first university president, John Wesley Hoyt, established a curriculum focused on arts and humanities and created a graduate and normal school.
Additionally, as Wyoming's land-grant institution, the University taught courses in agriculture, engineering, and military tactics.
UW has since grown into a major teaching and research university with approximately 13,000 students and over 700 faculty members. Throughout its existence, UW has been the only four year university in the state of Wyoming, though it has maintained a close and cordial relationship with the state's community colleges.
Programs such as athletics, agricultural extension, state and federal partnerships-and more recently such initiatives as the School of Energy Resources and the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center-have played important roles in the lives of many Wyoming residents and communities for almost 125 years.
For a more in depth look at the University of Wyoming's history, please see Connecting Wyoming to the World: A History of the University of Wyoming Virtual Exhibit.
The University Archives at the American Heritage Center is a great resource to access historical materials about important events in UW's history such as President Kennedy's speech on campus in 1963 and the Black 14 civil rights incident (1969)-films about both can be viewed here. The AHC also has thousands of photographs of the University of Wyoming in its online digital collections.
All content and photos provided by the American Heritage Center.