University of Maryland College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park (also known as UM, UMD, or UMCP) is a public university located in College Park, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. As the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, the university is most often referred to as the University of Maryland or simply Maryland, even though the formal name remains University of Maryland, College Park.
On March 6, 1856, the University of Maryland was chartered as the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC). Two years later, 420 acres (1.7 km²) of the Riverdale Plantation in College Park were purchased for $21,000 by a descendant of the Barons Baltimore and future U.S. Congressman, Charles Benedict Calvert. Calvert founded the school later that year with money earned by the sale of stock certificates. On October 6, 1859, the first 34 students entered the Maryland Agricultural College, including four of Charles Calvert's sons. The keynote speaker on opening day was Joseph Henry, the first Sectretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
In July 1862, the same month that the MAC awarded its first degrees, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act. The legislation provided federal funds to schools that taught agriculture, engineering, or provided military training. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the school became a land grant college in February 1864 after the Maryland legislature voted to approve the Morrill Act.
Civil War period
A few months after accepting the grant, the Maryland Agricultural College proved to be an important site in the Civil War. In April 1864, General Ambrose E. Burnside and 6,000 troops of the Union's Ninth Army Corps camped on the MAC campus. The troops were in route to reinforce General Ulysses S. Grant's forces in Virginia. Later that summer, Confederate soldiers led by General Bradley T. Johnson stayed on the grounds while preparing to take part in a raid against Washington. Problems caused by the Civil War and a decline in student enrollment sent the Maryland Agricultural College into bankruptcy. For the next two years the campus was used as a boys preparatory school.
Following the Civil War, the Maryland legislature pulled the college out of bankruptcy and in February 1866 assumed half ownership of the school. The college then became, in part, a state institution. George Washington Curtis Lee, son of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, became president of the college but was replaced within the year. By October 1867, the school reopened with 11 students. In the next six years, enrollment at the college continued to grow, and the school's debt was finally paid off. Twenty years later, the school's reputation as a research institution began as the federally funded Agricultural Experiment Station was established at the college. During the same period, a number of state laws granted the college regulatory powers in a number of areas—including controlling farm disease, inspecting feed, establishing a state weather bureau and geological survey, and housing the board of forestry. Also in 1888, the college began its first official intercollegiate baseball games against rivals St. John's College and the United States Naval Academy. Baseball, however, had been played at the college for decades before the first "official" games were recorded.
In 1897 the first fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, was established on campus, and Morrill Hall (the oldest instructional building still in use on campus) was built the following year. Unfortunately, in November 1912 a fire that began at a Thanksgiving dance destroyed the dormitories, all the school's records, and most of the academic buildings; only Morrill Hall was left untouched. The loss was appraised at $250,000 despite no injuries or fatalities. A large brick and concrete compass inlaid in the ground designates the former center of campus as it existed in 1912. Lines engraved in the compass point to each building that was destroyed in the Thanksgiving Day fire. The only building not marked on the compass is Morrill Hall, which was eerily spared by the blaze.
The State took complete control of the school in 1916, and consequently the institution was renamed Maryland State College. Also that year, the first female students enrolled at the school and four years later established the first official sorority, Sigma Delta. On April 9, 1920, the college merged with the preestablished professional schools in Baltimore to form the University of Maryland. The graduate school on the College Park campus awarded its first Ph.D. degrees, and the University's enrollment reached 500 students in the same year. In 1925 the University was granted accreditation by the Association of American Universities.
By the time the first African American students enrolled at the University in 1951, enrollment at the school had grown to nearly 10,000 students—4,000 of whom were women. In 1957 president Wilson H. Elkins made a push to increase academic standards at the University. His efforts resulted in the creation of one of the first Academic Probation Plans. The first year the plan went into effect, 1,550 students (18% of the total student body) faced expulsion. Since then, academic standards at the school have steadily risen. Recognizing the improvement in academics, the national honors fraternity Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at the University in 1964. Previously, the school had been rejected twice for membership. The University continued to grow, and by the fall of 1985, the school reached an enrollment of 38,679—the highest in school history.
In a massive 1988 restructuring of the state higher education system, the school was designated as the flagship campus of the newly formed University System of Maryland and was formally named University of Maryland, College Park. On September 24, 2001, a tornado struck the College Park campus, killing two students and causing $15 million in damage to 12 buildings. The University is currently headed by president C. Daniel Mote, Jr.
Name and structural changes
In 1997, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation allowing the University of Maryland, College Park to be known simply as the University of Maryland, recognizing the campus's role as the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland.
The other University System of Maryland institutions with the name "University of Maryland" are not satellite campuses of the University of Maryland, College Park, and are not referred to as such. For the above historical reasons, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is also sometimes called "University of Maryland." This is not a significant point of confusion, as UMB is limited to graduate professional education.
Colleges & degree programs
The University of Maryland also has a number of stand-alone academic programs in many fields. These undergraduate programs pull faculty from many different colleges and departments and a degree certificate or minor may be granted upon completion.
† denotes availability of both undergraduate and graduate program
‡ denotes availability of graduate or professional program only
◊ denotes availability of undergraduate minor or certificate program
Program Notes: An undergraduate minor may be available even if marked as a graduate program only. Programs marked as having a minor may not have a complete undergraduate major available. Some programs may also be interdisciplinary in nature, in which case the program is listed under its administrating college or school.
Specialized programs offer students academic, community service, and research opportunities outside of the traditional classroom interaction. Students are often invited into these programs based on academic merit, current community service involvement, and racial/ethnic designation. In some programs, a degree certificate or minor may be awarded upon completion. Current programs are given with their specific emphasis:
- Civicus - Emphasis on broad community service;
- College Park Scholars - Community service and academic rigor within a chosen field;
- Gemstone - Specific topical research-based academic rigor;
- Global Communities - Cultural diversity program;
- Hinman CEOs – Entrepreneurship-based business-style learning;
- Honors Humanities – Seminar-based academic rigor with an emphasis on the arts and humanities;
- Language House - Language acquisition and immersion program;
- Jimenez-Porter Writers' House - Creative writing program; and
- University Honors Program – Broad-seminar-based academic rigor.
On October 14, 2004, the university added 150 acres (607,000 m²) in an ambitious attempt to create the largest research park inside the Washington, D.C., Capital Beltway. "M Square" solidifies the university's goal of excellent undergraduate education coupled with breakthrough research. The current construction of a new Bioscience Research Building on campus will also be sure to bolster university research in life sciences and continue driving forward the state's already impressive biotechnology industry.
The University of Maryland's unique location near Washington, D.C., has created strong research partnerships, especially with government agencies. Many of the professors have funding from federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, FDA, and NSA. These relationships have created numerous research opportunities for the university including:
- taking the lead in the nationwide research initiative into the transmission and prevention of Avian influenza
- creating a new research center to study the behavioral and social foundations of terrorism with a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- launching the joint NASA-University of Maryland "Deep Impact" spacecraft in early January 2005.
The school's sports teams are called the Terrapins (a type of turtle). The Terrapin mascot of the University (pictured at right) is named Testudo ( Latin for protective shell). The Terrapins sports teams participate in the NCAA's Division I-A, and the school is a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The school uses the same colors which appear on the Maryland State Flag: black, gold, red, and white.
Since 2000, the university's athletics program has achieved national prominence.
The football program won the national championship in 1953, but had achieved little success for many years until Ralph Friedgen, a 1970 Maryland graduate, was hired as head coach in November 2000. Friedgen dramatically reversed the fortunes of Terrapin football in his first three seasons, leading the team to 31 wins, an appearance in the BCS Orange Bowl, commanding victories in the Peach Bowl and the Gator Bowl, consecutive top-3 finishes in conference, and the only outright ACC regular season title since Florida State's entry into the conference in 1992.
Men's basketball is the most popular sport at Maryland and is under the guidance of another Maryland graduate, Gary Williams of the class of 1968. Williams, who returned to his alma mater in 1989 after successful stints at other universities, inherited a program that was suffering the aftereffects of the death of Len Bias as well as NCAA rules infractions under Williams's predecessor. After several years of competing under recruiting sanctions related to these events, Williams has elevated the Terp program to the level of conference foes Duke and North Carolina. Williams led Maryland to eleven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (1993–2004) and eight consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins (1996–2004). In addition, he has taken the Terps to the tournament's Regional Semifinals (Sweet Sixteen) seven times, to the Final Four twice, and led the school to its first NCAA title in men's basketball in 2002. With one of the youngest teams in the nation, Williams led his team to his first ACC Tournament title in 2004.
Beyond these primary revenue sports, Maryland excels in other areas as well. Women's basketball is in the midst of a resurgence under former Minnesota coach Brenda Frese, having advanced to the second round of the 2004 women's NCAA tournament. This was the first tournament win for the program in twelve years. Men's soccer has been to three Final Fours since 1998. The field hockey team has made a handful of Final Four appearances and won the 1999 national title. The volleyball team won the ACC tournament in 2003 and qualified for their own NCAA tournament. In lacrosse, Maryland has been a consistent national leader. The women's lacrosse team, under the direction of Cindy Timchal, has won seven national titles, been an NCAA finalist in eleven of the last fourteen years, and produced more All-Americans in the sport than any other school. The men's program is always among the top 10 programs nationally.
The independent student newspaper is The Diamondback. It was founded in 1910 as The Triangle and renamed in 1921 in honor of a local reptile, the Diamondback terrapin (the terrapin became the official school mascot in 1933). The newspaper is published five times a week during sessions and once a week during the summer.
In the late 1990s, editor Jayson Blair (later of New York Times notoriety) became the first editor to carry Aaron McGruder's comic strip "The Boondocks" in 1997. The comic has now gone on to widespread success in syndication. However, Blair also made serious reporting errors and acted irresponsibly, according to a letter signed by 30 former staffers who also complained about the lack of involvement by the board which owns the paper. Larry Weisman, a journalist at USA Today, was a sports editor at the Diamondback in the early 1970s.
- List of University of Maryland, College Park alumni
- List of University of Maryland, College Park faculty
- List of University of Maryland, College Park notable others
- Official site
- The Diamondback - the independent student newspaper
- WMUC - the college radio station
- University of Maryland Terrapins - official athletic site
- Maryland State Archives - page on the university
- University System of Maryland - page on the university