The University of Vermont was chartered in 1791, making it the oldest public school in the Northeast. Indeed, 1791 is also when Vermont was established as a state.
People are commonly confused by UVM’s initials and wonder why it’s not referred to as UVT. Ira Allen (brother of Ethan Allen) was a major player in the school's founding, and he's responsible for the initials UVM, which stand for the Latin Universitas Virdis Montis – University of the Green Mountains. Ira Allen was responsible for essentially all of the school's initial planning and funding, and a statue of Allen stands on the main quad.
UVM established itself early on as a beacon for social change, and the university made a commitment to gender equality among its student body before it was the custom. UVM was the first school to induct women into Phi Beta Kappa, the country’s famous honors society, and it was also the first to induct an African-American,in 1877. In the 1960s, and during the Kent State Riots, activism and riots were so widespread at UVM and that final exams were canceled.
The past decade has seen serious change in UVM's makeup, as it grows from a small school for predominantly in-state residents (35 percent still come from Vermont) to a larger one that also attracts out-of-state students.
The 460-acre UVM campus is located in the heart of Burlington, VT (the nation’s biggest small city). The campus is surrounded by Burlington's bustling small city life, set against the stunning backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains and expansive Lake Champlain.
Due to the size of the campus, there are many separate areas. Burlington’s Main Street essentially dissects the campus. To the north is the university’s Green Historic District, the UVM Hospital, and Central Campus. South of Main Street is East Campus, the Athletic Complex, and Redstone Campus. Housing and academic buildings are spread out across the divisions.
Burlington is by far the largest city in Vermont, with a population of 40,000. Some consider Burlington to be the ideal college town - it's not nearly as intimidating as some major cities, yet it offers a substantial nightlife, shopping, and restaurant scene, mostly centered on the strip of Church Street that stretches through the city.
The Church Street Marketplace is a pedestrian mall that hosts multiple festivals and events throughout the year. The Burlington waterfront is also a noteworthy sight, with beautiful bike and walking/running paths, views of the mountains and Lake Champlain, and an increasing number of shops and eateries. Students can see local music (especially bluegrass and jam bands) at several clubs, including Nectar’s, Club Metronome, and Higher Ground (which brings in big-name touring acts from time to time).
The university has a great relationship with the city, and the local government has made valiant efforts in recent years to get students and young people across the state to stay in Burlington after graduation. But since it is a small city, students often leave after their time at UVM to pursue other options.
The Naked Bike Ride: On the last day of classes, at midnight, hordes of UVM students assemble at the center of campus and cheer on a parade of their naked classmates who roll through the crowd on bikes, roller blades, barefoot, or whatever else. Everyone is welcome to get naked, and kids get really in to it, with body paint, angel wings, and lots of alcohol.
Ray Collins (1908) was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and former UVM coach.
David Franzoni (1970)is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Gladiator and Amistad.
Eric Lipton (1987) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times.
Rollie Massimino (1956) was a legendary NCAA basketball coach.
E. Annie Proulx (1969) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain.
Henry Jarvis Raymond (1840) co-founded the New York Times and Harper's Magazine
All of UVM’s 20 varsity sports compete in Division I of the NCAA. Women's teams include basketball, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, skiing, soccer, cross-country, swimming and diving, softball, and track & field. Men's teams include baseball, cross-country, basketball, ice hockey, skiing, lacrosse, soccer, and track & field. The school’s mascot is the “Catamount.”
The university also offers a variety of club sports options, such as sailing and cycling.
UVM’s athletic teams won three straight America East Academic Cups, 2005, 2006, and 2007, for having the best combined GPA among its student-athletes.
UVM’s hockey and ski teams draw the biggest crowds and the most attention. Twelve UVM hockey players have gone on to play in the NHL, and their ski teams have won 52 national championships. Sixty-six of their skiers have competed with the official USA team.
UVM is the fifth-oldest university in New England
UVM is the first college or university to express public support for freedom of religion.
The citizens of Burlington helped fund the university's first building and, when fire destroyed it in 1824, also paid for its replacement, the Old Mill building.
UVM is divided into four campuses: Central, Athletic, Redstone, and Trinity. But do not be deceived by the term “campus,” because all of UVM is contiguous. All four campuses are home to various residence halls, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Central campus, as the name suggests, is the hub of UVM. The vast majority of Central is dedicated to academic buildings, the Davis Student Center, the library, and administrative buildings. However, there are three small residence halls located in the middle of it all. These three aging buildings, Chittenden (commonly referred to as Chitty), Buckham, and Wills (known as ‘ills), were constructed in the 1940s and are remnants of an older, smaller UVM. With only a few exceptions, CBW (the collective name for the three dorms) houses first-year students. Common complaints include the incredibly small size of the rooms, the aging facilities, and the overall unappealing aesthetics of the buildings. But freshmen do enjoy the incredibly close-knit community that arises from the tight living conditions. Students who lived in CBW recall it as a great place to spend their freshman years. Furthermore, CBW is within a five minute walk from virtually every academic building. There is also a fourth residence hall on campus, Converse. This large medieval-looking structure offers single-occupant dorms for upperclassmen who choose to live on campus. Freshmen are never assigned to live in Converse, and it is not viewed as a desirable place to live as a sophomore.
Athletic Campus is the next closest to Central – slightly more than a five-minute walk from class. Athletic is home to all of UVM’s sporting facilities, which include the Patrick Gymnasium, the Gutterson Arena, and the various athletic fields. There are also four residence complexes on Athletic: The Living/Learning Center (LLC), Harris-Millis, University Heights, and Marsh-Austin-Tupper (MAT). UVM offers multiple academic programs where you live with the same people you take specified classes with. These programs are housed in the LLC, a labyrinth of a building that contains dorm rooms, a dining hall, and classrooms. Harris-Millis and MAT are traditional-style residence halls that mostly house freshmen, but sophomores occasionally live there, too. Residents of Harris-Millis and MAT complain about small dorm size, but beyond that, it’s a solid place to live. University Heights was completed in 2005 and is usually occupied by sophomores, as well as students in the new Honors College. Uni Heights, as it is known, is generally regarded as the best dorm on campus, because of its modern amenities, large rooms, and in-room bathrooms. Indeed, it is sometimes referred to as The UVM Hilton, or Hotel UVM.
Redstone Campus is the farthest from Central Campus, about a ten- to fifteen-minute walk, and is almost entirely residential, with the exception of the academic buildings for the music school. Redstone dorm complexes include Christie-Wright-Patterson (CWP), Mason-Simpson-Hamilton (MSH), Wing-Davis-Wilks (WDW), and Coolidge Hall, as well as various minor dorms reserved for specialty programs. Coolidge is the only dorm on Redstone devoted entirely to freshmen (with a few exceptions). It is similar to the three Central Campus dorms in that Coolidge is an aging structure. Residents complain about small room sizes and facilities in constant need of repair. But Coolidge freshmen always remark that it’s a great place to be freshman year. The alphabet soup of other Redstone dorms, CWP, MSH, and WDW, are large, modern residential complexes that usually house sophomores. The rooms are large, the facilities are new, and the view of the Green Mountains from most rooms is beautiful. Residents of Redstone, or Redstoners, lament that the walk to class is far compared to the rest of campus, but the school does provide reliable shuttle bus service via the on-campus bus and a Redstone Express that goes right to the heart of Central Campus.
Finally, there is the new Trinity campus, officially known as North Campus, which was purchased within the last decade by UVM from the now-defunct Trinity Women’s College. Trinity is considered among UVMers as the “outcast” campus, not because of those who live there, but because of its removed location. Trinity is entirely residential—students who do not live on Trinity never have any reason to go there. There is one main residential building for freshmen, Mercy Hall. Freshmen who live there initially feel like they have been sidelined from the mainstream UVM campus life because of Trinity’s location, but as the year progresses, they tend to come to enjoy living there. Trinity Campus is between five and ten minutes from class, but it is in a prime location in relation to downtown, a detail that freshmen find to be useful on weekends and party nights.