University of Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa
Motto Lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Type Public
Established 1876
Endowment $107.3 M[1]
President TBD on 12/6/2016
Academic staff
Undergraduates 11,981[2]
Postgraduates 1,933
Location Cedar Falls, Iowa, U.S.
Campus Urban, 900 acres (3.6 km2)
Colors Purple and Gold[3]
Athletics NCAA Division IMVC
Sports 15 varsity teams
Nickname Panthers
Mascot TC Panther (the man panther) & TK Panther (the woman panther)
The Campanile, a major university landmark at the center of UNI's campus.

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is a university located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States. UNI offers more than 90 majors across the colleges of Business Administration, Education, Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, and Social and Behavioral sciences, and graduate college.

UNI has consistently been named one of the "Best in the Midwest" in the Princeton Review Best 351 College Rankings guide, and has ranked second in the category "public regional universities (Midwest)" by U.S. News & World Report for twelve consecutive years.[4] UNI's accounting program has consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the nation for the pass rate of first-time candidates on the CPA Exam.

Class sizes at UNI average around 32 students;[5] they are mostly taught by faculty, not teaching assistants. Tenured and tenure-track faculty teach 75 percent of UNI's classes. The Fall 2013 enrollment is 12,159.[2] Ninety-two percent of its students are from the State of Iowa, in the United States.

For students interested in studying abroad, UNI is ranked fourth in the nation for the total number of students who study abroad among master's degree institutions, according to Open Doors 2002, the annual report on international education published by the Institute of International Education.


Iowa State Normal School, c. 1904
Curris Business Building at University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa was founded as a result of two influential forces of the nineteenth century. First, Iowa wanted to care for orphans of its Civil War veterans, and secondly, Iowa needed a public teacher training institution. In 1876, when Iowa no longer needed an orphan home, legislators Edward G. Miller and H. C. Hemenway started the Iowa State Normal School.[6]

The school's first building opened in 1869 and was known as Central Hall. The building contained classrooms, common areas, and a living facility for most of the students. It was also a home to the college's first principal, James Cleland Gilchrist. The building was the heart and soul of the school, allowing students to study courses of two-year, three-year, and four-year degrees. In 1965, a fire destroyed Central Hall, and school faculty and Cedar Falls citizens donated over $5000 to start building Gilchrist Hall.[6]

The school has been known under the following names:

Student newspapers:

Memorial to 2LT Robert Hibbs and Campanile at University of Northern Iowa


University of Northern Iowa Colleges include:

Student Statistics

For the class entering in Fall 2009, 3505 of 4133 applicants were admitted. The mean ACT composite and mean SAT total (critical reading + math) for admitted freshmen were 23.3 and 1035 respectively. That same year, 1470 of 1822 transfer applicants were accepted.[7]

Educational opportunities

The University of Northern Iowa has a very active program of allowing students to pursue educational opportunities outside the state of Iowa and also the country. Students have the ability to study aboard or study at another North American institution though National Student Exchange.

Liberal Arts

UNI has implemented a Liberal Arts Core (LAC) in order to provide a common liberal-arts foundation for all undergraduate students.

LAC Categories
Category 1 Core Competencies
Category 2 Civilizations and Cultures
Category 3 Fine Arts, Literature, Philosophy and Religion
Category 4 Natural Science and technology
Category 5 Social Science
Category 6 Capstone Experience

Study Abroad Center

UNI provides an opportunity for the students to study in 80+ countries and select from over 1,000 programs. In addition to semester and academic year programs students may choose to take part in summer, faculty-led, and short-term programs abroad. Over 50 study abroad programs are exchanges in which students continue to pay UNI tuition to attend international partner schools. UNI also offers research, internship, and student teaching opportunities abroad. All exchange programs offer courses in English as well as training in the local language, if desired. Students interested in improving foreign language skills have many program choices available to them through UNI Study Abroad programs. UNI Study Abroad Center also offers scholarships to qualified students studying overseas.

Study Abroad participation is rapidly increasing at UNI as more financial support is being offered by individual campus colleges. Internationalization has been integrated into the most recent draft of UNI's Strategic Plan. Additionally, the program has been recognized by the website Studyabroad101 and the Institute of International Education as one of the best in the nation.

Culture and Intensive English Program

The Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP) is an intensive program in English for non-native speakers. It is designed to prepare students for academic work at the undergraduate or graduate degree level. University of Northern Iowa students are also encouraged to participate in the Conversation Partner Program to help foreign students with their English ability and foster cross-cultural relationships while gaining mutual understanding.

North American Review

The university is the publisher of The North American Review (called the NAR), a celebrated literary magazine that began originally in Boston in 1815. Its past editors have included James Russell Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton, and Henry Adams; while among its past contributors are Mark Twain, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Walt Whitman, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Guy Davenport and Margaret Atwood. In 1968, when the magazine was purchased by UNI, Robley Wilson was appointed editor, a position he continued in until his retirement in 2000. The current editors are Grant Tracey and Vince Gotera.

In S. Duperray and R. Vidaling, Front Page: Covers of the Twentieth Century (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2003) the NAR is featured with Paris Match, The New Yorker, Vogue and twenty-four other famous magazines, and is described as being "a real institution in the United States, as much for its quality as its longevity." Since its acquisition by UNI, that book continues, the magazine has "distinguished itself" by winning a long list of prizes, both in literature and design. It has twice won the National Magazine Award for Fiction and was a finalist for that award five times; placed stories in the annual O. Henry anthologies four times, in the Pushcart Prize annuals nine times, in Best American Short Stories eight times, in Best American Essays twice, in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Travel Writing. As for its graphics, the NAR has three times been represented in Communication Arts illustration annual, twice in the Society of Publication Designers' annual, four times in the Print regional design annual, and twice won the "Ozzie" gold award for best cover among consumer magazines with a circulation of less than 100,000.

Teaching and Research Greenhouse

The University of Northern Iowa Teaching and Research Greenhouse is a greenhouse complex incorporating botanical gardens for research and education. It is located on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The greenhouse contains plants from many ecotypes, including 250 tropical plants, an extensive collection of arid climate plants, and the 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) Aquatic Learning Center

Campus buildings


Student Life


The school's mascot is the Panther. They participate in the NCAA's Division I (I-FCS for football) in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Missouri Valley Conference for most other sports, and the Mid-American Conference for wrestling. The major arena on campus is the UNI-Dome, currently the home of the football team. The Dome also serves as a venue for many local concerts, high school football playoffs, trade shows, and other events. In 2006, the University opened a new arena, the McLeod Center, to serve as the home for several athletic programs, including volleyball and men's and women's basketball.

UNI Athletics has enjoyed great success lately with the men's basketball team competing in the NCAA tournament three consecutive times in 2004, 2005, 2006, again in 2009 and 2010 and in 2015 and 2016. On March 20, 2010, the men's basketball team defeated the heavily favored, top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. It was the school's first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. The Jayhawks were favored to win the NCAA championship. Their Cinderella potential ended with a loss to Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen, 59-52. The win over Kansas earned them the 2010 ESPY Award for Best Upset.

The football team has been ranked in the I-AA (FCS) top 25 almost every year for the last two decades. The team appeared in the I-AA championship game in 2005, only to lose a close game to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. During 2007, the team was ranked #1 in the country by the TSN FCS poll for several weeks. The football team went undefeated in 2007 with an 11-0 record, a first for any school in the 23-year history of the Gateway conference. In 2001 and 2002 the volleyball team reached the NCAA Sweet 16 round, and in 2006 made it to the second round, and has competed in the tournament numerous times. The track team is also very successful (usually ranked in the top 25), as are the wrestling and volleyball teams.

The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team won the NCAA Division I national championship as ISTC in 1949 and NCAA Division II national championships in 1975 and 1978. They competed in the Western Wrestling Conference until 2012, when UNI became an associate member of the Mid-American Conference since the MVC is a non-wrestling conference. In 1977 the women's softball team won the AIAW national championship.[10]

Bryce Paup won the Defensive Player of Year Award by the Associated Press in 1995. In 1999 and 2001, UNI alumnus Kurt Warner was named NFL MVP by the AP.[11]

During the 2014-2015 season, the men's basketball team ended the regular season ranked #11 by the AP Poll, the highest ranking in school history, and #9 by USA Today.[12]

UNI's offense getting to work against the St. Francis Red Flash September 19, 2009


There are many traditions at UNI.[13] Perhaps the most popular tradition is campaniling. The UNI campanile comes alive Friday night of Homecoming week each year. At the stroke of midnight, students flock around the tower to steal a kiss from a long-time lover or new acquaintance. Oftentimes pins and chap-stick are passed out at the campanile during this time. This tradition began shortly after the tower was constructed in the 1920s. At that time, there were many more women on campus than men. It is said that a male student would call a random female student to meet him at the campanile. The male student would hide in the bushes and if he did not like what he saw, he would leave the girl waiting and go back and call another one instead. It was also "common knowledge" at one time that if a female student was never kissed during campaniling, she was not a true female. The campaniling tradition faded out over the decades but has since been revived with the efforts of the Alumni Association.

There is also a tradition of wearing purple on the Friday of Homecoming. The entire city of Cedar Falls is encouraged to show support for UNI, along with wearing "UNI: Purple For Life" buttons, or any others they have. It promotes a sense of unity and school pride in the community.

A more recent trend, The Interlude, is a dance that is performed to the band "Attack Attack!"'s song of the same name. The Interlude is an all inclusive dance that was started by a small group of students at dance parties during 2010. During the 2010-2011 Basketball season the student section erupted into the dance which helped bring additional publicity. Many attempts at recreating The Interlude have popped up all over YouTube, and the dance has been featured on ESPN as well as regional media outlets, and was mentioned by First Lady Michelle Obama in her May, 2011 commencement speech at UNI.

Fraternity and Sorority life

UNI is home to three NIC fraternities, one unaffiliated fraternity, and four NPC sororities. The university has had a variety of different fraternities and sororities on campus, with many current ones being on campus for an extended period of time since their founding. The university has recently seen a huge increase in membership. Greek Life has always been a mainstay at the university with many members serving on student government and other student organizations on campus.

A main tradition of the fraternities and sororities is the annual Greek Week. Chapters participate in campus wide events such as olympics, lip sync competitions, charity drives, Greek God and Goddess, and Walk a Mile in which men wear red heels and walk an entire mile around campus for sexual assault awareness. Another tradition would be Letter Days, in which members of chapters wear their respective letters as a large community around campus. Yet another tradition would be Greek study tables, where check in tables are provided and members study together in Maucker Union amassing study hours for their chapter's respective scholarship program.

The perhaps biggest tradition of the chapters would be philanthropy. Each individual chapter runs a philanthropy program as well as having community wide ones. Fraternities and sororities are a very big part of UNI Dance Marathon.

UNI is looking to expand its Greek Life in the near future.


NPC sororities

Notable alumni, faculty and staff


Notable faculty

University presidents

No. President Start of term End of term
1 James Cleland Gilchrist 1876 1886
2 Homer Horatio Seerley 1886 1928
3 Orval Ray Latham 1928 1940
4 Malcolm Poyer Price 1940 1950
5 James William Maucker 1951 1970
6 John Joseph Kamerick 1970 1983
7 Constantine William Curris 1983 1995
8 Robert D. Koob 1995 2006
9 Benjamin Allen 2006 2013
10 William Ruud 2013 2016
11 TBD on 12/6/2016 2016 Present


  1. 1 2 Lense, Marcia (2013-09-12). "ISU Becomes Iowa's Biggest University". KWQC. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  2. "UNI Web Colors". University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  3. "University of Northern Iowa | Best College | US News". 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  4. "UNIBusiness Page Not Found" (PDF).
  5. 1 2 University of Northern Iowa, Gerald L. Peterson, Aracadia Publishing, 2000.
  6. "Colleges and Universities in Iowa". College-Admission-Profiles. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  7. "Gilchrist Hall". Rod Library.
  8. "KULT". KULT.
  9. "Baseball - Media Guide - Official Site of University of Northern Iowa Athletics".
  10. National Football League Most Valuable Player Award
  11. "NCAA College Basketball Polls, College Basketball Rankings, NCAA Basketball Polls - ESPN".
  12. "Traditions Challenge - University of Northern Iowa".
  14. "Theta Zeta – University of Northern Iowa".
  15. "Sigma Alpha Epsilon".
  16. "Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity - University of Northern Iowa -".
  17. "Alpha Delta Pi Epsilon Mu". Alpha Delta Pi Epsilon Mu.
  18. Scotch. "Alpha Xi Delta".
  19. "Alpha Phi University of Northern Iowa - Welcome".
  20. "Gamma Phi Beta". Gamma Phi Beta.
  22. "Edward Arthur Thomas, 58, Parkersburg". The Daily Freeman Journal. 25 June 2006. Retrieved 14 January 2014.

External links

Coordinates: 42°30′48″N 92°27′45″W / 42.513361°N 92.462482°W / 42.513361; -92.462482

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