University of Vermont

2013-2014 Catalogue

Policies and General Information

University - A Brief History

Chartered in 1791, the same year that Vermont became the fourteenth state in the union, the University of Vermont was established as the fifth college in New England (after Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown). The university is popularly called UVM, a derivation of its Latin name, Universitäs Viridis Montis, the University of the Green Mountains. Ira Allen, brother of Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen and a central figure in Vermont’s early economic and social development, led the drive to charter a state university and locate it in Burlington and is credited with founding the university. The new university’s charter explicitly declared support for freedom of religion – making it the nation’s first institution of higher learning to take such a public stance. This tradition of openness continued in 1871, when the university defied custom and admitted two women as students. Four years later, the university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter became the first honor society in the nation to admit women; two years after that, in 1877, the society became the nation’s first to admit African-American students.

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. 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 the historic University Row, along with Ira Allen Chapel, Billings Hall, Williams Hall, Royall Tyler Theatre and Morrill Hall.

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 14 percent of its general fund (and about 7 percent of its total budget) from the state of Vermont.

Some of our most famous graduates typify the university’s independence of spirit and social consciousness. They include 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; and John Kilik, who has produced groundbreaking major motion pictures, including “Malcolm X,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Dead Man Walking”.

UVM offers more than 100 undergraduate majors, 54 master’s programs, and 22 doctoral degrees including a medical degree.

During the 2011-12 academic year, the university enrolled approximately 10,450 undergraduate students, 1,530 graduate students, and 450 medical students. The university’s academic units include: the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Education and Social Services; Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; Medicine; Nursing and Health Sciences; the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; the School of Business Administration; the Honors College; the Graduate College; the University of Vermont Extension; the Division of Continuing Education; and the UVM Libraries. UVM is the nation’s smallest land grant institution with a medical school. UVM is classified as a “Doctorate-granting University” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is one of about 70 institutions in the U.S., out of over 4,300, that combine a “high research” profile with a “high undergraduate” enrollment mix. The university employs over 3,700 full- and part-time faculty and staff.

The campus of the University of Vermont is located in Burlington, the state’s largest city. Within a greater Burlington area of 150,000 people, the city with its population of 42,000 enjoys magnificent views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west and Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east. Burlington is located approximately 200 miles northwest of Boston, 300 miles north of New York City, and 100 miles south of Montreal.