University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

UVM Bound

New book showcases the university

UVM Bound
The University of Vermont: Tradition Looks Forward is a new coffee-table format book that celebrates the campus, culture, and history of the university.  The publication, rich in photographs, features sections focused on the Green, the historic buildings of University Row, Catamount sports, and UVM’s hometown and home state. An anecdotal history hits the high points and pivotal moments across UVM’s 223 years. Vermont Quarterly editor Thomas Weaver is the book’s writer; principal photography is by Sally McCay and Mario Morgado; and VQ art director Elise Whittemore-Hill is the designer. During its initial release, the book has a limited distribution, as a thank you gift to lifetime members of the Alumni Association. In this issue, we offer a glimpse of the volume.
“Lore has it that UVM’s first president, Daniel Clarke Sanders, joined with students to fell towering white pines on the green, timber that was used to build the university’s original academic building. It takes an imaginative leap to picture the Green in those early years—the raw, ragged look of newly logged forest, the occasional bear passing through.”
“Taken together, University Row—Ira Allen Chapel, Billings Library, Williams Hall, Old Mill, Royall Tyler Theatre, Morrill Hall—create the university’s architectural signature. It’s a diverse signature, to be sure, written in a blend of scrolled calligraphy and careful print.”

“Dig down to the daunting scope reflected in the root of this familiar word “university” and such breadth resonates. This universal vastness within the bounds of UVM’s campus is glimpsed in moments, any given day, any given hour. While the undergrads in the CREAM program are caring for their dairy herd on Spear Street, a WRUV student DJ is tending the fire of college rock in the Davis Center studio, a professor is in a College of Medicine lab pushing forward a critical research trial, and the women’s cross-country team is striding across the Green on a morning run.”

“It’s this balance that makes the city an integral part of students’ years at the university. For every memory of Old Mill, Gutterson, or Billings, there is another of the Flynn Theatre, the Burlington Bike Path, or Ben & Jerry’s.  For every memory of Living/Learning, Ira Allen Chapel, or the Green, there is another of North Beach, Halverson’s, or that first apartment on Isham Street.”
“As the shot snapped through the net, the diehard Catamount faithful who had made the trip south to Worcester, Massachusetts, and all the underdog lovers in the arena erupted. Coach Tom Brennan threw his fists in the air as his team ran to the bench for a timeout. While the game was far from over, the air was suddenly electric with belief—‘Vermont is going to win this.’”
Morril Hall, Aiken staircase, Pomeroy Hall, Redstone path

From the moment of founding, it takes the trustees almost a decade to establish the institution in Burlington. During these years, the citizens of Burlington pledge $2,310 to fund the university’s first building, library, and “philosophical apparatus.” This is a considerable sum, particularly considering there are just 816 Burlington residents at the time.

October 17   Rev. Daniel Clarke Sanders is appointed as the University of Vermont’s first president. An account from the era describes Sanders as “a powerful man, over six feet in height, so strong that he could lift a barrel of cider by the chines and place it in the tail-end of a cart.” That proves a good thing, as Sanders basically does everything at the fledgling university—chopping down the towering pine trees to provide a clearing for the campus, cataloguing the first library, helping plan the construction of the first building, serving as the university’s entire faculty for the first seven years. Says President Sanders: “There was everything to be created and many shrunk away from the bold and arduous labor of founding a college in a wilderness.”

President James Marsh writes the introductory essay to the American edition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Aids to Reflection,” an essay that would have a major impact on the Concord circle of Transcendentalist philosophers and writers. The UVM faculty publishes a thirty-two-page pamphlet “Exposition of the System of Instruction and Discipline Pursued in the University of Vermont.” It will have a major impact on the development of American higher education. Together, these place UVM as a progressive center of humanistic educational thought.

A building boom at UVM and in Burlington, puts the face on the campus that we still know today. 1883, Old Mill renovation, funded by a gift from Burlington leader John Purple Howard, creates the building’s Victorian façade. 1885, Billings Library; 1896, Williams Hall; 1901, Gymnasium (Royall Tyler Theatre); 1906, College of Medicine Building (Dewey Hall); 1907, Morrill Hall. 
The university purchases the Buell Estate on South Prospect Street, creating the heart of Redstone Campus. Robinson Hall and Redstone Hall are converted for use as women’s dormitories, and soon generations of UVM women will experience the pairing of a skirts-only dress code with winter morning walks to class.   
James Wilbur leaves the university a trust in excess of $2.5 million, money that will seed a long-standing scholarship fund. Wilbur, a banker by vocation/historian by avocation with a deep interest in Ira Allen, also provided funds for Ira Allen Chapel and the statue of UVM’s founder on The Green.
The UVM Dairy Bar opens under the leadership of Professor Henry Atherton ’48 G’50. The beloved home of UVM ice cream was a campus institution, housed in the Carrigan Dairy Science Building, until its close in 1995. The Dairy Bar’s chrome stools live on in the Davis Center.

Kake Walk is abolished. Part of the university’s Winter Festival since 1893, the dance performance/competition, rooted in minstrel shows and featuring students in blackface, had stirred protest on campus beginning in the 1950s.

Head Coach Jim Cross leads the Catamounts to the first of three Division II national championships in men’s hockey and an eventual step up to Division I in 1974.

Burlington waterfront, women's lacrosse team, 2005 men's basketball team

February 12  Barbara Ann Cochran ’78 wins the gold medal in slalom at the Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

Phish plays their first concert, performing for a handful of fellow students in Harris-Millis residence hall.
Students occupy the executive wing of the Waterman Building in protest of what they see as a lack of progress and administrative commitment to building diversity and multicultural awareness at UVM.

December  Jody Williams ’72 receives the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Two years later, Dr. John McGill, a 1978 graduate of the College of Medicine and president of Doctors Without Borders, again puts Vermont in the Nobel spotlight.

October 5  The university dedicates the Dudley H. Davis Center and celebrates the successful conclusion of the $250 million Campaign for the University of Vermont. 


“Lifetime members of the UVM Alumni Association will receive a copy of the limited-distribution University of Vermont book as a thank you gift for their expression of support for the University and the Alumni Association.

Here’s a thought for current annual members—consider upgrading your annual UVMAA membership to a lifetime membership, and you, too, can receive what’s bound to be one of your most treasured UVM keepsakes.

Here’s thought for UVM parents of the Class of 2014—why not consider giving a lifetime UVM Alumni Association membership to your son or daughter as a graduation gift? They’ll get Tradition Looks Forward as a sentimental journey through their years at UVM as they start their next chapter in life, plus all the other benefits their lifetime membership conveys.

Full details of the UVM Alumni Association’s “Forever UVM” membership program, costs, and benefits are available online at

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