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History

Timeline of the College and the University of Chicago

  • 1856: Judge Stephen A. Douglas donates 10 acres of land north of 35th Street and west of Cottage Grove Avenue for the first University of Chicago (not affiliated with the current University of Chicago)
  • 1857: The first University of Chicago is incorporated
  • 1886: The first University of Chicago is dissolved
  • May 15, 1889: John D. Rockefeller pledges $600,000 for the founding of the University of Chicago, provided funds of $400,000 can be raised from other donors
  • 1890: Year the University of Chicago was founded by the American Baptist Education Society and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller (the University’s land was donated by Marshall Field)
  • July 1, 1891: William Rainey Harper becomes the first president of the University
  • June 28, 1891: Architect Henry Ives Cobb presented his campus plan
  • July 25, 1892: First Dean of Women, Alice Freeman Palmer appointed
  • June 28, 1892: University of Chicago Press incorporated
  • September 1, 1892: Cobb Hall, the first building on campus is completed, at a cost of $221,956.03
  • October 1, 1892: First Day of Classes
  • July 2, 1897: Dedication of the Hull Biological Laboratories
  • August 15, 1902: Hitchcock Hall construction finished
  • April 2, 1903: Theodore Roosevelt attends the ceremony to lay the cornerstone to the old Law School (Stuart Hall)
  • December 22, 1903: Mitchell Tower completed
  • January 29, 1904: Bartlett Gymnasium dedicated
  • February 20, 1907: Harry Pratt Judson elected 2nd president after the death of William Rainey Harper.
  • June 11, 1912: Harper Memorial Library dedicated
  • March 16, 1915: Rosenwald Hall dedicated
  • June 5, 1916: Masque of Youth, a large, outdoor pageant by 300 students, alumni, and school children to celebrate the dedication of Ida Noyes Hall and the 25th anniversary of the University
  • August 10, 1920: University established the School of Social Service Administration
  • July 12, 1923: Ernest DeWitt Burton elected 3rd president
  • April 30, 1925: Bond Chapel cornerstone ceremony
  • August 28, 1925: Rockefeller Chapel groundbreaking
  • October 1, 1925: Max Mason becomes 4th president
  • October 21, 1926: Bond Chapel dedicated
  • July 10, 1928: Wieboldt Hall dedicated
  • November 8, 1928: Official University flag adopted
  • October 28, 1928: Rockefeller Chapel dedicated
  • December 16, 1929: Social Science Research Buliding dedicated
  • November 20, 1929: Robert M. Hutchins becomes the 5th president
  • May 25, 1930: First baby born at the Chicago Lying-in Hospital
  • March 5, 1931: New Plan accepted by the College Faculty
  • December 5, 1935: First Heisman Trophy awarded to Jay Berwanger, A.B. ’36
  • December 2, 1942: Enrico Fermi sets off the first nuclear chain reaction under Stagg Field
  • December 10, 1945: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist begins publication
  • May 2, 1951: Research Institutes dedicated
  • October 18, 1951: Lawrence A. Kimpton becomes the 6th president
  • April 14, 1955: First annual Festival of the Arts takes place April 14 – 17
  • February 3, 1961: First annual Folk Festival hosted on campus
  • May 4, 1961: George W. Beadle becomes the 7th president
  • June 13, 1968: University of Chicago’s School of Medicine renamed the Pritzker School of Medicine
  • November 14, 1968: Edward H. Levi inaugurated as 8th president
  • September 21, 1968: New Stagg Field dedicated
  • September 1969, Athletic Director Walter Hass reinstates the football program (Division III) at the University of Chicago
  • October 31, 1970: Joseph Regenstein Library dedicated
  • March 4, 1976: John T. Wilson becomes the 9th president
  • October 6, 1978: Hanna H. Gray inaugurated as 10th president
  • January 1983: Dean of the College Donald Levine introduces first ever Kuviasungnerk festival to the University community
  • June 12, 1987: D'Angelo Law Library dedicated
  • May 6, 1987: First annual Scavenger Hunt begins
  • July 15, 1992: John W. Boyer appointed Dean of the College
  • July 1, 1993: Hugo Sonnenschein begins his term as the 11th President of the University of Chicago
  • July 1, 2000: Don Michael Randel begins his term as the 12th President of the University of Chicago
  • May 14, 2004: The University of Chicago Center in Paris inauguration
  • July 1, 2006: Robert J. Zimmer becomes the 13th President of the University of Chicago
  • July 1, 2006: John W. Boyer begins 4th term as the longest serving Dean of the College at the University of Chicago
  • April 13, 2007: Nicholas Marinides ’07 first ever Chicago student awarded the Bliss Prize Fellowship in Byzantine Studies
  • March 23, 2007: The College leads the nation with three third-year students winning Truman Scholarships
  • June 12, 2008: College sets new record with 20 Fulbright fellowship recipients
  • June 19, 2008: College announces record diversity in Class of 2012
  • June 12, 2009: Construction begins on new Harper Memorial Library Commons
  • September 18, 2009: New students move into the newly opened South Campus Residence Hall
  • September 25, 2009: Harper Memorial Library Commons opens
  • October 9, 2009: University of Chicago celebrates its 500th Convocation
  • October 11, 2011: Mansueto Library Dedication

Have an item you think should be included on the timeline? Let us know!


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