The University of Akron is a coeducational public research university located in Akron, Ohio, United States. The university is part of the University System of Ohio. It was founded in 1870 as a small college affiliated with the Universalist Church. In 1913 ownership was transferred to the City of Akron. In 1967 the university became a state institution. The University of Akron is regarded as a world leader in polymer research. As a STEM-focused institution, it focuses on industries such as polymers, advanced materials, and engineering. In the last decade it has sought to increase its research portfolio and gain recognition for its productivity in technology transfer and commercialization.
The University recently underwent a $300 million construction project, which added nine new buildings and renovated fourteen, and closed several streets. A new football stadium, InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, was constructed on campus as a replacement for the University's previous stadium, the Rubber Bowl. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate and more than 100 graduate majors. Total enrollment was 29,251 students in Fall 2010, with students representing 46 U.S. states and 80 foreign countries, making Akron the third-largest main campus in Ohio.[self-published source?] The University's best-known program is its College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, which is located in a 12-story reflective glass building that overlooks the western edge of the campus. UA’s Archives of the History of American Psychology, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, contains some of the nation’s most famous psychology artifacts and is visited regularly by researchers from around the world.
The university has a branch campus, Wayne College in Orrville, Ohio, and the Medina County University Center, located in Lafayette Township, Ohio. In addition, the University hosts various nursing programs in affiliation with Lorain County Community College under the University Partnership program.
In 1867, at the annual Convention of the Universalist Church of the state of Ohio, the Committee on Education expressed an interest in founding a college compatible with Universalist religious principles. It was announced that the location would be given to those who could find an appropriate location and also supply $60,000 for the college. John R. Buchtel, a prominent Akron businessman and Universalist, promptly contributed $25,000 to the endowment fund and $6,000 to the building fund. This led other Akronites to donate, setting the goal and securing Akron as the location for Buchtel College, named after its greatest supporter. John R. Buchtel would continue to be the college's most significant contributor, giving $500,000 over his lifetime, approximately equivalent to $9 million today. When the university opened for business in 1872 it was a single building campus, housed in what is now known as "Old Buchtel." George Washington Crouse donated $10,000 of the $20,000 needed to build a new gymnasium, completed in 1888. It was named Crouse Gymnasium in his honor, and was known as "the finest gym west of the Alleghenies."
Tragedy struck the small college on December 20, 1899, when Old Buchtel burned to the ground. Insurance only covered $65,000 of the estimated $100,000 in loss. While new campus buildings were being constructed, the Crouse Gymnasium was divided into seven classrooms and served as the college until a new Buchtel Hall was opened in 1901. The new Buchtel Hall, which itself was gutted by fire in 1971, survives to this day but had some blackening on the exterior up until a 2011 restoration.
In 1907, the college shed its Universalist affiliation and became a non-denominational institution, in order to be able to receive funds from the Carnegie Foundation, which would not give funds to religiously affiliated schools. In 1913, Buchtel College trustees transferred the institution and its assets to the city of Akron, and Buchtel College became the Municipal University of Akron. At this time, the enrollment was 198 students. Tax money levied for the school and Akron's growing population led to strong growth for the university. Over the next several decades the university continued add new buildings to accommodate its growing student population, acquiring more land through purchases and donations. In 1963, Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes approved the university as a state-assisted institution. Enrollment in 1964 was 10,000 students. In 1967, it fully became a state university, giving it its current name of The University of Akron.
A $300 million construction program was completed in the fall of 2004. Called "A New Landscape for Learning," the program included the construction of nine new buildings, the renovations or updating of 14 other buildings and structures, and numerous capital improvement projects. The New Landscape for Learning included a new College of Arts & Sciences Building, Honors Residence Hall and classroom complex, a new Student Recreation and Wellness Center, and a new Student Union. Multiple new parking decks were constructed to address high demand for parking (placed on the outskirts of campus in accordance with the university's goal to be less of a commuter school), and several public streets were closed to consolidate the campus, provide a more friendly environment for pedestrians and to add 30 acres (120,000 m²) of new greenspace.
The University opened on a satellite campus in neighboring Medina County and is shopping around ideas for workforce centers in the suburbs.
UA opened its on-campus InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field on Sept. 12, 2009, before a sellout crowd. The new football stadium replaced the Rubber Bowl, which was located 3 miles from campus and had been built in 1940.
The University purchased the Quaker Square Crowne Plaza Hotel and shopping complex in downtown Akron, using half of the rooms as residence space and the other as a working hotel. The University did a land-swap with the city of Akron so that the city may find a new hotel for the Central Business District.
The University of Akron campus is made up of 82 buildings on 222 acres (0.90 km2) near downtown Akron with a total property value of $1.84 billion.
The tire and rubber industry and the University of Akron share an intimate history. Historically, many of the world's leading corporations, such as Goodyear, Firestone, and Goodrich, were headquartered in Akron. In 1909, the world’s first courses in rubber chemistry were offered at the University. The University is also credited with having the world’s first College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, which was founded in 1988. The University of Akron's newest addition, the National Polymer Innovation Center, was unveiled at a groundbreaking ceremony on September 14, 2009. The 42,750-square-foot (3,972 m2) center, scheduled for June 2010 completion, will house 10 laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art research instruments and a multipurpose-processing high-bay area designed for the installation of prototype manufacturing apparatus. The $13.2 million building is fully funded with state dollars through the Ohio Third Frontier initiative.
The University of Akron offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, ranging from certificate programs to the PhD. The largest college of the university is the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. Bierce Library is the main campus library. It is named for Lucius Bierce, a Civil-War era General, whose personal library constituted the first collection of the University Libraries.
The University offers nearly 300 undergraduate majors. The various undergraduate schools offer an array of Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Associate's degrees. In conjunction with the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), the University offers an accelerated six-year, BS/MD program, where ambitious students can earn a bachelor's degree in two years and complete medical school in the traditional four years. The University of Akron is also the first and only University in the nation to offer a baccalaureate program in corrosion engineering.
The University of Akron Honors College students earn degrees from any of the four-year accredited colleges in the university while receiving special advisement and having the opportunity to live in the Honors Complex, a dorm exclusively for honors students. The college has numerous clubs and organizations, including: EUREKA Honors Engineering, the Honors club, Honors Delegates, Honors Business group, Association of Honors Educators, Rhythm n' Roos': Honors A Capella singers, Honors Book Club, Honors Nursing Club, and Honor's Chess Club.
The University of Akron currently offers more than 100 graduate degrees to its current population of 4,000 graduate students. The graduate schools at the University of Akron variously offer the Master's degree, PhD, J.D., and LL.M., among others. The Cleveland Clinic and University of Akron have formed the Integrated Bioscience Fellowship in Biomedicine. The first fellowships in this newly joined program will be awarded in Fall 2010. Fellowships will allow students to conduct cutting edge research at the University of Akron and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute while pursuing a PhD in Integrated Bioscience. Recipients of Fellowships will be able to work with faculty at both institutions.
The University of Akron School of Law was founded in 1921 as Akron Law School and became affiliated with the University in 1959, becoming fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1961. It has both day and evening full-time and part-time programs that lead to the J.D. and LL.M. The University of Akron School of Law is also one of only 22 institutions in America to offer the LL.M. in intellectual property, and one of two such programs in Ohio.
The University of Akron comprises the following colleges, schools, and campuses:
The University of Akron produced more revenue in technology licensing in 2007 than any other year in its history, bringing in $6.33 million - more than all other Ohio public universities. This licensing amount gives UA a ranking of seventh in the nation among public and private U.S. universities without medical schools, just behind such notables as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and the University of Texas. When normalized with respect to research expenditures, UA ranks No. 1 in the country. This is the first time UA has achieved a top national standing in licensing efficiency. A 2007 report supported by the National Science Foundation identified UA as one of 10 exemplars for technology transfer, commercialization and industry partnership.
The BioInnovation Institute in Akron is creating a center of research excellence, Center for Biomaterials and Medicine, with core strengths in orthopaedics and wound healing. The Center will capitalize on Northeast Ohio’s rich 100-year history in polymer science and engineering, including: world-class commercial capability, a highly educated workforce, extended R&D capabilities, and knowledgeable capital sources. The Center will be a collaboration of regional organizations including: The University of Akron, The Summa Health System, NEOUCOM, Akron General Health System, and Akron Children's Hospital.
In fact, Akron is already developing early-stage companies and clinical centers with a key emphasis on orthopaedics and wound care. The region boasts more than 200 researchers in orthopaedics and polymers, and more than 50 companies are directly linked with the orthopaedic device industry. The Center for Biomaterials and Medicine plans to recruit 40 additional senior researchers and their lab teams in the following focus areas:
The University of Akron's athletic teams are known as the "Zips," originally short for "Zippers," overshoes that were nationally popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and the zipper—an invention from Akron (Judson). The university's mascot is "Zippy," a kangaroo. Zippy is one of only eight female college mascots in the United States. Zippy won the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year in 2007.
Akron's major football rivalry is with Kent State University, whom they play for the Wagon Wheel. They also formerly played Youngstown State University for the Steel Tire until that series was discontinued in 1995. In 2005, the Akron Zips football team won their very first MAC championship giving them a chance to play in the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I-A bowl game appearance where they lost to the University of Memphis.
The Akron Zips men's soccer team, ranked number one throughout the 2009 regular season, went undefeated, making it to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship. They lost to the University of Virginia Cavaliers. They rebounded the following season by capturing the 2010 "College Cup" against the University of Louisville, winning 1 - 0 on a 79th minute goal by Scott Caldwell. This was the first NCAA national team championship won by the University of Akron.
In 2006, the men's basketball team, under head coach Keith Dambrot, won its first ever Division I postseason game by defeating Temple University in the NIT. The team, led by first team All-MAC performer Romeo Travis (former teammate of NBA star LeBron James in high school), won the most games in a season, 23.
In 2008, Keith Dambrot led Akron to the MAC Tournament Final for a second year in a row, yet the team fell for a second time, this time to arch rival Kent State. The Zips advanced to the NIT for a second time in Dambrot's four years as head coach and won their first game at Florida State, eventually falling in the Sweet 16 in a game at UMass.
In 2009, the men's basketball team captured the MAC Tournament title, defeating Buffalo in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena 65–53, thus qualifying Akron for its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1986 and first as a MAC member.
In 2010, the team reached the MAC Tournament Championship game for the fourth straight year, but lost to Ohio 75–81 in overtime. The Zips played in the postseason CBI tournament where they lost to Wisconsin–Green Bay 70–66.
In 2005, the women's cross country team, women's indoor track and the men's soccer team also won the MAC championship in their respective sports, making the 2005–06 year the most successful in Akron athletics history with a total of four Mid-American Conference championships in the same year.
The 2005 men's soccer team was the first team in UA history to hold a national no. 1 ranking in any sport, and was coached by Ken Lolla, now the head coach at the University of Louisville.
The 1978 men's archery team, led by 3-time national individual college champion Richard Bednar and hall-of-fame coach Bill Bednar, was the first team in UA history to win a national collegiate team championship.
The University of Akron has produced four individual national champions, including two in 2009, one in 2000 and one (Richard Bednar) who was a 3-time champion (1976–78).
The Akron Zips compete in the following sports:
*the golf, rifle, and women's tennis teams begin their seasons in the Fall, but conclude in the Spring with conference and NCAA tournaments.
The Alma Mater of The University of Akron is a tribute to the university's past and the rise of the university from the fires that twice devastated Buchtel College.
Close beside Cuyahoga’s waters, Stream of amber hue,
O’er old Buchtel Summit’s glory, Waves the gold and blue.
Hail we Akron! Sound her praises, Speed them on the gale,
Ever stand our Alma Mater, Akron hail, all hail!
The Fight Song for the University is "Akron Blue and Gold". The lyrics for the song are:
We cheer the Akron Blue and Gold,
We cheer as the colors unfold.
We pledge anew, we're all for you,
As the team goes crashing through,
We cheer the Akron warriors bold,
For a fight that's a sight to behold,
So we stand up, cheer and shout,
For the Akron Blue and Gold.
Zzzip! Zip go the Zippers!
Zzzip! Zip go the Zippers!
Gold and Blue,
All for you, and the Zippers too!
The University of Akron is home to over twenty different fraternities and sororities, a number of which were actually founded on the University of Akron campus. Delta Gamma sorority, Eta chapter, is currently the oldest existing chapter of Delta Gamma and was founded in 1879. The Lone Star Fraternity (Pi Kappa Epsilon) is the oldest local fraternity in the United States of America, and the only chapter in existence. Lone Star Fraternity was founded by W.V.N. Yates on February 22, 1882. The 130th anniversary was celebrated in the year 2012. The majority of the university's fraternity and sorority houses can be found East of campus, adjacent to the Infocision Stadium.
The University of Akron has seen many prominent individuals pass through its halls. Former Akron mayor and Ohio Congressman Thomas C. Sawyer attended undergraduate and graduate school there. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit federal judge Deborah L. Cook received her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the university. Current Ohio congresswoman Betty Sutton received her Juris Doctor from the university as well. Former Republican National Committee chairman Ray C. Bliss graduated from Akron in 1935. The university's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics is named for him.
Former Akron Zips football players Chase Blackburn, Charlie Frye, Domenik Hixon, Dwight Smith, and Jason Taylor have each gone on to find success in the National Football League. Blackburn and Hixon were members of the 2008 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, while Smith won a Super Bowl Ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003. Taylor was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 and was named the NFL's Man of the Year in 2007.
Former Akron Zips baseball players Mike Birkbeck and Mark Malaska have gone on to find success in Major League Baseball. Birkbeck played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986 to 1989 and the New York Mets in 1992 and 1995. Malaska played for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 and was a member of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.
Minerva councilman Phil Davison earned a bachelor's degree in sociology, a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in public administration, and a master's degree in communication from the University of Akron. Davison unsuccessfully sought to become Stark County treasurer, however ultimately was not elected due to his notorious speech to the Stark County Republican Party Executive Committee.
Former Akron Zips Soccer Players include Steve Zakuani and DeAndre Yedlin, both of Seattle Sounders FC.