University of Florida

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Century Tower, University of Florida.

The University of Florida, or UF, is a public university located in Gainesville, Florida. Founded in Ocala in 1853, UF is the fourth-largest university in the United States with over 48,000 students. It also has the eighth-largest budget (nearly $1.9 billion per year) and is considered one of the top public universities in the United States, ranking first among public institutions and second among all institutions in the number of National Merit Scholar students enrolled. Its president as of 2005 is Dr. James Bernard "Bernie" Machen.



In 1853, the East Florida Seminary was founded in Ocala. During the Civil War, the school closed and upon reopening it was moved to Gainesville. In 1895, the Florida Agricultural College at Lake City was founded and changed its name to University of Florida by 1904. The 1905 Buckman Act created the current University of Florida by consolidating the University of Florida at Lake City, the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School at St. Petersburg and the South Florida Military College at Bartow in to one campus at Gainesville. Andrew Sledd from the University of Florida at Lake City became the first president, while architect William A. Edwards designed the first campus buildings in the collegiate gothic style. The alligator was chosen as the school mascot in 1911.

The Buckman Act established the University of Florida as the only public school in Florida for white males. In 1947, UF began allowing women to enroll. Admission of African-American students began in 1958.

Shands Hospital at UF first opened in 1958 along with the medical school. Rapid campus expansion began in the 1950s and continues to the present. In 1985, UF's status as a major research institution was confirmed by its admission to the prestigious Association of American Universities. Current efforts at UF continue to focus on expanding the university's role in research in all fields.

Historic sites

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Statue of Albert A. Murphree, university president 1909-1927, in Peabody Courtyard, part of the campus historic district

The University of Florida Campus Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The district includes 19 buildings, eleven of which had been added to the register previously. Two buildings outside the historic district, the old WRUF radio station (now the university police station) and the old P. K. Yonge Laboratory School (now Norman Hall), are also listed on the register.

Additionally, a former East Florida Seminary residence building, Epworth Hall, is listed on the register. Epworth Hall is now part of the First United Methodist Church of Gainesville.


UF is divided into twenty-one colleges, which offer over 100 undergraduate majors and an equally wide array of 200 graduate degrees, including the only dentistry and veterinary medicine programs in the state. The centerpiece of the critically-acclaimed journalism programs at UF is WUFT, which consists of both a PBS television station and an NPR radio station.

Florida's programs are generally ranked highly among public universities, and the university was ranked as a Top Tier school by US News and World Reports for 2004. The graduate programs in chemistry and tax law are consistently ranked among the best in the United States. UF's engineering programs are very well-funded, partly from royalties on the sale of a UF invention, Gatorade. The university is 13th among all universities - public and private - in the number of U.S. Patents awarded in 2000.

The acceptance rate at UF has trended downward as the applicant pool has become more competitive. In 2004, the average incoming freshman had a weighted GPA of 4.0, an SAT score of 1290, and an ACT composite of 28. Undergraduate tuition is around $100 per credit for Florida residents, and $460 per credit for out-of-state students, with a typical load of 30 credits per year.


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Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka "The Swamp", has a seating capacity of about 93,000
The school's sports teams are called the Florida Gators and compete in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA's Division I-A. Florida has one of the strongest collegiate athletic programs in the United States and dedicates about $44 million per year to its sports teams and facilities. For the sixth time, UF swept the overall men's and women's Southeastern Conference All-Sports Trophy in 2002. With its third-place finish in the 2001-02 Sears Directors' Cup rankings, Florida has ranked among the nation's top 10 athletic departments for 19 straight years.

The Gator football team is often ranked among the top 25 in the NCAA. In 1996, the Gators, led by head coach Steve Spurrier and quarterback Danny Wuerffel, won their only national championship. In January 2001, Spurrier left the Gators to coach the NFL's Washington Redskins. He was eventually replaced by Ron Zook, who failed to meet the high standards that Spurrier had set over the previous 12 years. In October 2004, Zook was fired in the middle of his third season but remained coach for the rest of the regular season. In December 2004, Urban Meyer, previously the coach of the Utah Utes, replaced Zook as the head football coach. Traditional football rivals include the Seminoles of Florida State University, the Hurricanes of the University of Miami, the Bulldogs of the University of Georgia, and since the early 1990's the Volunteers of the University of Tennessee. A hallmark of the Gator football season is "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party", the rivalry game against the University of Georgia, played in Jacksonville, Florida. The Gators' home stadium is Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, also known as "Florida Field" or "The Swamp".

Basketball is another sport at which the Gators have seen success. The UF men's basketball squad won their first Southeastern Conference Tournament title in 2005, beating Kentucky. They have also appeared in the 1994 Final Four and lost in the 2000 NCAA Championship game to Michigan State. They are currently coached by Billy Donovan, who has been the head coach of the Gators since 1996. Florida's primary men's basketball rival is traditional SEC basketball superpower Kentucky - though the rivalry is felt more keenly in Florida than in Kentucky.

The Gators have also seen success in gymnastics, volleyball, tennis, soccer, and baseball. Since 1990, Gator athletes have won over 100 individual national titles as well as team NCAA national championships in women's tennis (1992, 1996, 1998, 2003), men's golf (1993, 2001), women's indoor track (1992) and women's soccer (1998). UF's 164 SEC Championships are the most in league history.

Since 1968, 118 Gator student-athletes have represented 27 countries in ten Olympiads and laid claim to 76 medals, including 39 golds.


Famous UF alumni include:

The University of Florida has more of its graduates in the United States Congress than any other university or college in the country - currently nine alumni serve in the House or Senate.

In the last four decades, more presidents of the American Bar Association have come from the Levin College of Law than any other U.S. law school.

See also



  • University of Florida Facts ( University of Florida website. Accessed January 6, 2004.
  • Teague, Edward H. Historic Sites Guide ( George A. Smathers Libraries website. February 2, 2000. Accessed April 30, 2005.

External links


Template:Southeastern Conference Template:State University System of Florida


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