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.

1862-07-02 00:00:00

The Morrill Act

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

1874-09-01 00:00:00

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.

1885-06-01 00:00:00


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

1886-03-31 00:00:00

Beginning in Reno

The first term in Reno began March 31st 1886.

1886-09-01 00:00:00

Early Mining Education

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

1886-09-01 00:00:00

Early Agriculture Education

The College of Agriculture has contributed to the well-being of Nevada by helping farmers and ranchers improve the quality of their livestock, operations and crops.

1887-02-01 03:23:10

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.

1887-09-01 00:00:00

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.

1888-09-01 00:00:00

University Corps of Cadets

In 1888, the University Corps of Cadets was established due to provisions in the Morrill Act and the Nevada state constitution.

1889-05-09 00:00:00

First Commencement

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

1889-12-31 00:00:00

Early Growth

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

1894-09-01 07:38:37

Early Faculty and Presidents

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

1895-01-30 00:00:00

The Research of James Church

Dr. James Church taught at the university from 1892 to 1939, and made tremendous contributions to the university and to the world.

1897-03-01 00:00:00

Early Sports

In 1898, the Athletic Association was organized by members of the faculty. Football, baseball, basketball, and track teams were organized.

1901-03-01 00:00:00

Early Home Economics Education

Early home economics education was an integral part of the female student's collegiate experience in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

1908-06-03 00:00:00

Mackay Gifts, Part One

The gifts of Clarence Mackay were the first substantial private donation made to the university.

1913-08-01 00:00:00

Early Greek Life

As early as 1913 Greek-letter organizations formed on the University of Nevada campus.

1914-06-03 00:00:00

World War I and the National Defense Act of 1916

The first World War and the National Defense Act directly affected life at the University of Nevada.

1916-06-03 00:00:00

The University and World War I

The first World War brought out the best of university faculty and students.

1923-06-03 00:00:00

The Wolf Pack Battalion

With the creation of the R.O.T.C program during World War I, the modern Wolf Pack Battalion was born.

1929-04-01 00:00:00

Mackay Gifts, Part Two

In 1929 Clarence H. Mackay again donated to the university for enhanced instruction of its students.

1939-09-01 00:00:00

World War II

World War II, much like its predecessor, affected life at the University of Nevada.

1941-12-07 00:00:00

The University During World War II

During the course of World War II, the University of Nevada was dedicated to preparing for the struggles of war.

1944-09-01 00:00:00

Movies Filmed at the University

During the 1940s-50s, the charming, traditional 'academic' style of several campus buildings made the University of Nevada an ideal location for filming several movies with campus settings.

1947-09-01 00:00:00

Arts Education

It wasn't until 1947 that Arts Education progressed beyond being an appendage of the professional training programs.

1951-09-01 00:00:00

Expansion in the South

In the autumn of 1951, the first formal college program was offered in Las Vegas.

1958-09-01 00:00:00

Nuclear Engineering at the University

In the late 1950's the University initiated a program in nuclear engineering, with its own nuclear reactor.

1960-04-01 00:00:00

Home Economics in the 1960's

In the 1960's and 1970's the School of Economics experienced a backlash due to cultural changes.

1964-08-02 00:00:00

The Vietnam Conflict

The Vietnam War is one of the most debated military actions in U.S. history.

1968-09-01 00:00:00

The North and South Rivalry

The rivalry between the two Nevada universities began in the early days of Nevada Southern.

1970-05-04 00:00:00

Kent State

The events at Kent State University had a huge influence across America and directly influenced protests at the University of Nevada.

1970-05-05 00:00:00

Governor's Day Protest

The Governor's Day Protest was a defining moment for the University of Nevada during the latter half of the 20th century.

1980-05-01 00:00:00

Present Day Commencements

Today's commencements are much large affairs than its first.

1980-09-01 00:00:00

Faculty and Staff

Today, the faculty and staff of the university work to make the college experience a great one.

1980-09-01 00:00:00

Painting the 'N'

Painting the N has been a tradition for at least 90 years.

1980-09-03 00:00:00

Campus Today

The University of Nevada campus has grown exponentially.

2003-09-03 00:00:00

The Blue Crew

Nevada fans play an important part of the university's athletic program

A History of the University of Nevada, Reno

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