The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

The University of Arkansas was established in Fayetteville in 1871. It opened its doors to students on January 22, 1872.

There were few facilities and practically no money for the beginning of that first academic year over a century ago, but the new institution had one advantage which has been of increasing importance throughout the years. It was established under provisions of the Morrill Act as both the state university and the land-grant college of Arkansas. This fact gave it an academic heritage from the universities of the past and the educational responsibilities in "agriculture and the mechanic arts" envisioned by Senator Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont, sponsor of the legislation setting aside federal land-grant funds to assist the various states in their efforts to establish programs of higher education.

The location of Fayetteville for the university was determined as a result of an election held in counties, cities, and incorporated towns for the purpose of voting bonds or subscriptions to support the establishment of the university. The largest bid came from the county of Washington and the city of Fayetteville for a combined total of $130,000. To this amount and the congressional land grant of 150,000 acres, the state added an appropriation of $50,000.

The 160-acre homestead of William McIlroy was selected as the site at a purchase price of $12,000. The McIlroy home was converted into classrooms, and a new two-story frame building was constructed with one classroom on each floor.

From a small beginning of eight students and three faculty members on the opening day of classes, the university has developed into a mature institution and has become the major center in Arkansas for graduate-level instruction and basic and applied research. Its public service activities reach every county in Arkansas.

The academic units in Fayetteville include nine colleges and schools: the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, the School of Architecture, the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the College of Education and Health Professions, the College of Engineering, the Honors College, the School of Law and the Graduate School.

The university maintains more than 60 special research and outreach programs, which are often interdisciplinary, and are conducted at centers and research units on campus, throughout the state, and in association with other universities. Information about these centers and research facilities can be found in the University of Arkansas Profile published annually and also available on the University's web site,

In 1997, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools continued the university's accreditation through the doctoral level, with the next review scheduled in 2006-2007. Full information concerning the current scope of the university's academic program, including course offerings, undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs and requirements for degrees can be found in the Catalog of Studies, the Graduate School Catalog, or the School of Law Catalog, all of which are available online.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, serves as the major center of liberal and professional education and as the primary land-grant campus in the state. In addition, it is Arkansas's major source of theoretical and applied research and the provider of a wide range of public services to people throughout the state and the nation. It is the vision of the University of Arkansas to be a nationally-competitive student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university are working to realize that vision through five major institutional goals: strengthening the university's academic quality and reputation by enhancing and developing programs of excellence in teaching, research and outreach; increasing the size and quality of the student body; enhancing diversity among our faculty, students and staff; increasing public financial support; and increasing private gift support. The mission of the University of Arkansas:

The University of Arkansas is determined to build a better world by providing transformational opportunities and skills, promoting an inclusive and diverse culture, nurturing creativity, and solving problems through research and discovery, all in service to Arkansas. 

Since 1871, our fundamental purpose as a land-grant institution and state flagship remains unchanged — to serve the state of Arkansas as a partner, resource and catalyst by:

  • Providing access to a comprehensive and internationally competitive public education, and fostering student success across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
  • Utilizing research, discovery and creative activity to improve the quality of life, develop solutions to the challenges we face and drive the state's economy.
  • Contributing service and expertise through outreach, engagement and collaboration.

The university offers a broad spectrum of academic programs leading to baccalaureate, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees, not only in the traditional disciplines within arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, but also in the core professional areas of agriculture, architecture, business, education, engineering, home economics and law. Through its faculty and its student body, the campus seeks to have all of its programs regionally competitive and, in addition, to offer nationally competitive programs in selected areas.

The campus has statewide responsibility to provide research leadership in advancing the frontiers of knowledge. The research programs serve three primary purposes. First, as part of graduate instruction, research promotes students' abilities to appreciate and implement, to discover, and to teach. Second, research programs serve as vital sources of information on the economic and social needs of Arkansas. Third, in selected areas, research on the Fayetteville campus serves a national and international scholarly community. The campus is committed to a future which includes sustained growth in its research and scholarship.

The university provides extensive technical and professional services to varied groups and individuals throughout the state, helping to further Arkansas's economic growth. In addition, the Fayetteville campus serves as a significant academic resource to the state. It operates nationally respected high school and college level correspondence programs; it assists other institutions in developing educational programs; it offers graduate programs, both cooperatively and singly, throughout the state; and it makes specialized campus resources such as computing services and library resources available to other institutions in the state. The campus will continue to serve this unique role and may expand these services to continue providing distance education through an uplink/downlink network, through the World Wide Web and other distance-learning connections, and through additional cooperative graduate education programs.

Monday, January 05, 2015 4:08 PM