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UNF 50th at the Library

Accessible Timeline

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1963 - Bill Introduced

In the 1963 legislative session, state Senator John E. "Jack" Mathews Jr. introduced a bill to authorize a four-year institution of higher education for Duval County. The bill did not pass through the committee process.

Unknown person overlooking construction of the future University of North Florida.

1966 - Florida Junior College at Jacksonville

The Florida Junior College at Jacksonville opens.

Assorted Florida State College at Jacksonville lapel pins.

1967 - Jacksonville's Consolidation

In August 1967, the voters of Jacksonville and Duval County elected to consolidate the existing city and county governments, and in October of the following year, the two governments were united into one. Jacksonville became--overnight--one of the largest cities in area in the world.

1967 - Feasibility Study

Responding to the legislative action of 1965, the Florida Board of Regents conducted a feasibility study which was published in February of 1967.

1967 - 1967 Legislature

To begin construction of the new institution, the 1967 Legislature authorized the expenditure of $1.4 million, subject to the sale of bonds. Planning money was not provided by the 1967 Legislature.

1968 - UNF Site

Jacksonville Mayor Hans Tanzler appointed Gert H.W. Schmidt chairman of a committee to select a site for the public university recently authorized by the Florida Legislature for Duval County.

1968 - Florida Legislature

A special session of the 1968 Florida Legislature appropriated $225,850 to plan for the new institution and employ the early administrators.

1969 - Site Acquired

A special session of the 1968 Florida Legislature appropriated $225,850 to plan for the new institution and employ the early administrators.

Black and white aerial view of future UNF site.

1969 - First UNF President

Florida Board of Regents appointed Dr. Thomas G. Carpenter as UNF's first president.

Black and white photo of Thomas G. Carpenter, UNF's first President.

1969 - Campus Site Title

Board of Regents accepted title to the campus site. Murphy states, "...the City of Jacksonville and area landowners donated the 1,000 acre campus site midway between the beaches and the city."

1971 - UNF's Groundbreaking

650 guests attend UNF’s groundbreaking, including Florida Governor Reubin Askew, Board of Regents Chancellor Robert Mautz, Commissioner of Education Floyd Christian and local Regent J.J. Daniel, for whom Building 1 is named. "Florida governor Reubin Askew was the keynote speaker." (Murphy, p. 2)."

1971 photo of UNF staff with UNF groundbreaking sign.


1972 - UNF's First Day of Class

UNF opens for its first quarter with 2,027 upper division and master’s-level students attending classes. Campus consists of only four major buildings and three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Education and Business Administration. The average age of the faculty is two years younger than the average age of students. The Library (now Founders Hall) opens with 100,000 volumes on its shelves. "In just 10 months from the ground-breaking ceremonies, four buildings were completed - an administration building, classrooms, a library and a laboratory." Florida TU.

1972 photograph of unidentified students on UNF's inaugural day of classes.

1973 - UNF's First Graduating Class

UNF's first graduating class consisted of 35 students, including 28 baccalaureate degree candidates and seven master of education degree students. Since the University opened in 1972 as an upper-level institution, these first graduates started at UNF as seniors or were already working on master's or second degrees.

First Commencement Program

1973 photograph of unidentified students on UNF's first commencement ceremony.

1974 - Charter Class Commencement

685 students in UNF’s charter class graduate. "June, 1974, marked the commencement of UNF's charter class. At the commencement, 591 bachelor's degrees and 96 master's degrees were conferred. The charter class was comprised of students who first enrolled when UNF opened in October, 1972." (Murphy, p. 5).

Vintage aerial photograph of UNF's first class of graduates.

1974 - Three Additional Buildings

Three additional buildings open on campus.

Aerial photograph of three new buildings under construction on UNF campus.

1974 - Full Accreditation

"Full accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was announced December 11, 1974. A first in Florida educational history, both the undergraduate and graduate level programs were accredited simultaneously." (Murphy, p. 5).

1976 - Alumni Association Founded

The University establishes the UNF Alumni Association.

Vintage photograph of unknown UNF alumni at a circa 1970s alumni event.

1978 - National Recreational Trail

U.S. Dept. of the Interior recognizes UNF Nature Trails as a National Recreational Trail.

UNF leadership shaking hands with U.S. Department of the Interior staff.

1979 - UNF Selects Osprey Mascot

The Osprey becomes UNF's official mascot by write-in vote, beating out the armadillo, seagull, manatee and shark in a campus-wide election.

Photograph of the UNF mascot with two students.

1980 - New UNF Library

The new library opens, named for then UNF president Thomas G. Carpenter.

Presidents Thomas Carpenter and Andrew Robinson outside the Carpenter Library.

1982 - President Curtis L. McCray Inaugurated

McCray inaugurated as the second president of University of North Florida.

Black and white portrait photograph of UNF President Curtis L. McCray.

1983 - First Varsity Scholarship Awarded to Marilyn Krichko

Marilyn Krichko signed the University's first varsity athletic scholarship.

Black and white photo of the UNF Tennis Team in 1985.

1984 - Freshmen & Sophomores

Freshman and sophomore programs are authorized in 1983.

Aerial photograph of UNF's first freshman and sophomore classes.

1987 - UNF Women's Center Opens

UNF Women's Center opens with Shirley Webb as founder and first executive director as a volunteer.

The Founders Hall building, current location of the UNF Women's Center.

1987 - New Aquatics Center

The new Aquatics Center with an Olympic-size pool opens.

Photograph of the opening of the Aquatics Center in 1987.

1988 - UNF establishes College of Health

The University establishes the College of Health.

1988 - First Student Graduates with Perfect 4.0 GPA

Monique French becomes the first four-year student to graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Photograph of Monique French, UNF's first four-year student to graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

1989 - Adam W. Herbert Becomes UNF President

In 1989, Adam W. Herbert became UNF's third president. After nine years at UNF, he went on to become the chancellor of the State University System.

Photograph of Adam W. Herbert, UNF's third president.

1989 - Founder's Hall

Founder's Hall is dedicated.

The Founder's Hall building on UNF campus.

1989 - University Establishes Fifth College

UNF establishes its fifth college, known as the College of Computer and Information Sciences.

UNF Computer and Information Sciences professor and classroom circa 1990.

1990 - UNF's First Doctoral Program

UNF accepted degree candidates for its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Education, in fall 1990. This program is a part of the College of Education and Human Services.

1990 - Faculty Inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame

Rich Matteson, professor of music, is inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame.

Photograph of Rich Matteson, UNF professor of music.

1994 - Women's Tennis Wins NCAA Division II National Championship

Team Members: Elizabeth Donovan, Katherine Kaminer, Kendra Pascoe, Marcey Smith, Adriana Isaza, Leigh Ann Tabor, Tonya Pedata, Jeriann Johnston and Heather Hyme. Head Coach: Charley Jenks. Assistant Coach: Adam Kework.

Photograph of UNF's tennis complex.

1995 - Harriet the Mascot

Harriet the mascot is born in 1995. Ozzie had been portrayed in costume since 1988, which is almost eight years after the Osprey was chosen as UNF's mascot. Student Government officials chose the name Harriet, which was reminiscent of the popular 1950s TV show "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", which aired for 14 years. The UNF mascot jersey numbers "19" and "72" were chosen to combine and form the year 1972, when UNF opened its doors for classes.

Harriet the UNF mascot.

1997 - 25th Anniversary

UNF celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Past and then present UNF presidents celebrating UNF's 25th anniversary.

1999 - Anne H. Hopkins Inaugurated as UNF President

Anne H. Hopkins became UNF’s fourth president.

Photograph of Anne H. Hopkins, UNF's fourth president.

2001 - Fine Arts Center Opens

UNF's new Fine Arts Center, with seating for 1,300 in the Lazzara Performance Hall, opens.

Then UNF president Anne H. Hopkins and UNF staff at the groundbreaking of the Fine Arts Center.

2002 - College of Business Renamed

The College of Business Administration becomes Coggin College of Business in honor of Luther and Blanche Coggin, who donate $5 million to the college.

Photograph of the Coggin College of Business building.

2003 - Desmond Tutu

Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu arrives on campus to teach for one semester.

Dr. Anne Hopkins greeting Desmond Tutu at the Jacksonville International Airport.

2003 - John A. Delaney, 5th UNF President

John A. Delaney becomes UNF’s fifth president.

Portrait of John A. Delaney, UNF's fifth president.

2005 - School of Nursing Flagship Program

The School of Nursing becomes UNF's first flagship program, which focuses resources to help transform existing excellence into academic programs with national prominence.

Photo of the Brooks College of Health and Madeline Wiener's sculpture, Healing Place.

2006 - The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review ranks UNF as one of nation’s five best buys in public higher education.

2006 - College of Health Renamed

The College of Health officially becomes Brooks College of Health after Brooks Health System following a $5 million gift to the college.

2006 - Soccer and Track Stadium

George and Kernan Hodges donate $2 milllion to upgrade what is now called Hodges Soccer and Track Stadium.

Photo of the Hodges Soccer and Track Stadium.

2006 - LGBTQ Resource Center Opens

UNF founds the LGBTQ Resource Center.

The UNF LGBTQ Resource Center logo with Pride flag elements.

2007 - UNF Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

UNF marks its 35th Anniversary. Highlights of 2007: UNF named Best Southeastern College and a Best Value College by the Princeton Review. The University is awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Banner marking UNF's 35th anniversary, 1972-2007.

2007 - UNF Awarded LEED Certification

The University is awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The University of North Florida dedicated its new Social Sciences building during a ceremony held on campus in 2006 October. The facility is Jacksonville's first LEED-registered facility (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), making it an environmentally responsible and healthy building for students, faculty and staff.

UNF's Social Sciences building, Jacksonville's first LEED-registered facility.

2009 - UNF Establishes Military Veterans Resource Center

The University established the MVRC in 2009 to serve as an entry point for veterans and their families as they navigate the civilian and academic worlds. Since then, UNF has been named one of the most military friendly schools in the country for eight consecutive years by Victory Media, which honors education institutions doing the most to "serve America’s service members and veteran students".

Photo of Founders Hall, current location of the Military Veterans Resource Center.

2009 - UNF opens new Student Union.

UNF's new Student Union opens, named for former UNF president John A. Delaney.

Photo of the Delaney Student Union.

2010 - The College of Education Building achieves LEED Gold Status.

The College of Education Building achieves LEED Gold Status. The building was named the Tom and Betty Petway Hall in 2012.

Photo of the College of Education Building, named Tom and Betty Petway Hall in 2012.

2011: UNF on 50 "Best Value" Public Colleges and Universities List

UNF is named one of the nation's 50 "Best Value" public colleges and universities according to the Princeton Review.

2012: Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations

UNF Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations Founded

The Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in UNF's Peace Plaza.

2012: Biological Sciences Building

The Biological Sciences building opens with 27 faculty research labs and a 6,000 gallon-capacity seawater system.

Photo of the Biological Sciences building.

2013: Ogier Gardens Dedicated

The Frederick C. and Ophelia Tate Ogier Gardens are officially dedicated.

The Gardens entrance with a ivy-covered sign that reads Frederick C. and Ophelia Tate Ogier Gardens.

2015: Hicks Honors College Dedication Ceremony

The University of North Florida added its sixth academic college - the Hicks Honors College - further expanding learning opportunities for some of UNF’s highest achieving students, thanks to a multimillion dollar donation. Formerly known as the Honors Program, the new College, which received the support of the Faculty Association and was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees, was made possible by a $7 million gift from long-time friends of UNF - Ann and David Hicks.

2016: Princeton Review: UNF Among Best Regional Colleges

The Princeton Review names UNF among the "Best Colleges in the Southeast" region for eight years running.

2018: President Dr. David M. Szymanski

Dr. David M. Szymanski becomes the sixth president of the University of North Florida.

Portrait of Dr. David M. Szymanski, sixth president of the University of North Florida.

2020: UNF Transitions to Remote Instruction due to Pandemic

UNF transitions to remote instruction in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote instruction starts for two weeks and continues until the end of the semester. Summer classes would also be offered remotely.

UNF sign with instructions to help minimize the spread of the Coronavirus.

2020: UNF Announces MedNexus

The University of North Florida announces the creation of UNF MedNexus. UNF MedNexus will be the nation's first comprehensive, university-based medical and healthcare nexus, further placing UNF at the center of the Northeast Florida healthcare enterprise by connecting healthcare providers with University students, faculty and researchers.

MedNexusmap illustrating partnerships between Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties.

2020: Campus Reopens after Pandemic Closures

Campus reopens to UNF Faculty, Students, and Staff for in person attendance.

Photo of a UNF sign featuring Ozzy the Mascot that reads 'Mask Up, Ospreys'!

2021: Lend-a-Wing Food Pantry

The Lend-a-Wing food pantry holds its Grand Reopening in the Student Union.

Dr. David Szymanski, his wife Maria Szymanski, and Lend-a-Wing Food Pantry staff.