A History of the University of Nevada, Reno

Offered here is a history of the University of Nevada, a land-grant institution, presented through images of students and campus.

Some information in this timeline was excerpted from "The University of Nevada; A Centennial History" by James W. Hulse and the "History of the University of Nevada" by Samuel Bradford Doten.

Early Mining Education

As a major part of the Nevada economy, mining and mining education have played an important role in shaping the University.

The Morrill Act

In 1862 President Lincoln signed into law the Land-Grant College Act of 1862, more commonly known as the Morrill Act.

The Elko Years

In 1873 the Nevada Legislature selected Elko as the home of the University, and Governor L.R. Bradley signed the legislative bill siting it there.


Due to low enrollment and negative public opinion, the 1885 Nevada Legislature voted to relocate the University to Reno.

Beginning in Reno

The first term in Reno began March 31st 1886.

Early Growth

By the end of the 19th century the university had grown to include 9 buildings and a student body of over 400.

Early Faculty and Presidents

The early leadership of the University of Nevada allowed the institution to grow and flourish in those early years.

First Commencement

The first graduating class of three students received their degrees from the university in Reno in 1889.

The State Normal School

In 1887 the state legislature created the Nevada State Normal School as a unit of the university that was concerned with the training of teachers.

Early Classrooms

Originally, the university was comprised of three schools: the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Agriculture, and the School of Mechanic Arts and Mining.

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