University of Vermont

Close up of UVM building made with Vermont Redstone

History and Traditions

Chartered in 1791

  • Chartered the same year that Vermont became the 14th state.
  • Established as the fifth college in New England (after Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown).
  • The initials UVM stand for the Latin words Universitas Viridis Montis, or University of the Green Mountains. The phrase appears on the university's official seal as Universitas V. Montis.

Early Stages

  • Much of the initial funding and planning for the university was undertaken by Ira Allen, who is honored as UVM's founder. His statue sits on the university's main green.
  • 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.
  • The Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who became a commander in the American Revolution, laid the cornerstone for the Old Mill which still stands on University Row, along with Ira Allen Chapel, Billings Library, Williams Hall, Royall Tyler Theatre and Morrill Hall. A statue of Lafayette sits on the north end of the main green.

University's Public Status

  • Although it began as a private university, UVM attained quasi-public status with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act in 1862 and the addition of the State Agricultural College.
  • Today, the university blends the traditions of both a private and public university, drawing 13.6% (as of 2012) of its general fund from the state of Vermont.

Tradition of Equality

  • Throughout its history, the University of Vermont has demonstrated its commitment to fairness and equality. It was the first American college or university with a charter plainly declaring that the "rules, regulations, and by-laws shall not tend to give preference to any religious sect or denomination whatsoever."
  • In addition, the university was an early advocate of both women's and African-Americans' participation in higher education. In 1871, UVM defied custom and admitted two women as students.
  • Four years later, it was the first American university to admit women to full membership into Phi Beta Kappa, the country's oldest collegiate academic honor society.
  • Likewise, in 1877, it initiated the first African-American into the society.

Today's Continuation of Justice and Excellence

Some of our most famous graduates exhibit a similar social consciousness. Some notables:

  • John Dewey, the late-19th-century educational philosopher.
  • Jody Williams, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign to ban landmines.
  • John McGill, who led the U.S. section of Doctors Without Borders when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.
  • Jon Kilik, who has produced thought-provoking major motion pictures, including "Malcolm X," "Do the Right Thing," "Dead Man Walking," and "Babel."

Last modified February 12 2013 01:59 PM