1854 - Elizabeth Alexander, a pioneer woman living near what is now Fayette, proposes the idea of a college. Her husband, Robert Alexander, donates $10,000; a son-in-law, Samuel Robertson, donates $5,000 and 10 acres of land.
1855 - Construction begins on what has come to be known as Alexander-Dickman Hall. It is built of native limestone blocks and houses classrooms, administrative offices, the president's quarters, and student rooms.
1856 - The first Board of Trustees meeting is held, and articles of incorporation are adopted.
January 7, 1857 - Classes begin in what is called the "Fayette Seminary of the Upper Iowa Conference," which is affiliated with the Methodist Church.
July 15, 1858 - The name of the institution is changed to "Upper Iowa University."
1861 - A company of male students and faculty members enlists in the Army and goes off to fight in the Civil War. The student-soldiers participate in 17 major battles, carrying a flag hand-sewn by UIU women. The women students and their professors carry on with their studies and welcome back those who are able to return.
1861 - David B. Henderson, who will later become the first Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from west of the Mississippi, leaves Upper Iowa University to fight in the Civil War.
1862 - The first commencement ceremony for baccalaureate degrees is held on June 26 in J.E. Robertson Grove.
1865 - For the first time, there are women graduates in the May commencement exercises.
1879 - Susan Angeline Collins is the first African-American to become a student on campus; she later becomes a missionary in Africa.
1880 - The "tow'ring white pine trees" featured in the University's alma mater are planted.
1882 - George Safford Parker, founder of the Parker Pen Company, is a student.
1883 - The first issue of the campus newspaper, The Collegian, appears. Student John R. Mott goes on to become a leader of the YMCA movement and shares the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for his work with prisoners of war.
1885 - Men's and women's residence halls are constructed on campus. Later on, an observatory is constructed and equipped with a telescope.
1890 - An auditorium building is constructed. The students choose peacock blue and white as official UIU colors. The peacock soon becomes the unofficial school mascot. The peacock becomes the official mascot in 1920 when The Collegian begins using "peacocks" as the name for UIU athletics teams.
1892 - The first gymnasium is constructed on campus. Milo Maltbie, future world-renowned economist and leader in the administration and regulation of public utilities, graduates.
1893 - The first football team is organized, with 14 men reporting for the squad. The team plays three games the first season: one win, one loss, one tie.
1895 - Electricity comes to the campus.
1896 - Carleton Magee graduates; he patents the first parking meter and plays an important role in bringing to light the Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s.
1900 - Andrew Carnegie gives the University $25,000 to build a library, honoring David B. Henderson, his friend. John "Doc" Dorman graduates. Doc establishes a dental practice in Fayette and in 1907 becomes football coach at Upper Iowa, a position he will hold for over 50 years. (Doc set the record for having coached football at one college longer than any other person in the United States, and was elected to the Coaches' Hall of Fame.)
1902 - The David B. Henderson Library is completed.
1908 - The tradition of "Passing of the Gown" is instituted in which the outgoing president of the senior class presents a graduation gown to the president of the incoming senior class. The gown is on display in the Henderson-Wilder Library.
1909 - A memorial arch, marking the west entrance to the campus, is presented to the University by the graduating class.
1910-1913 - Famous alumni of the University receive their diplomas: John C. Baker, inventor of enriched flour and Desenex skin care products, among others (he had 50 patents for inventions); Dr. Arlie V. Bock, called "the founding father of sports medicine" because of his research into the physiological effects of exercise; Dr. William Albright, instrumental in the deciphering, describing, and dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls; and Zinita B. Graf, noted stage actress.
1915 - The Alumnus magazine is begun, keeping alumni informed of campus doings and news of their fellow classmates. The first yearbook, The Peacock, is published.
1917 - The United States enters World War I; the gym becomes a barracks, and the athletic field is the scene of military drills. Many male students enlist, and women students organize Red Cross classes.
1920 - A systematic program of extension work throughout northeastern Iowa is begun, with Upper Iowa referred to as "a pioneer in the field." The old gym and observatory are torn down, and a new gym built with an indoor swimming pool.
1924 - Upper Iowa University is a charter member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association and wins the football championship.
1928 - The University separates from the Methodist Church, which had helped to maintain and support it, and becomes an independent institution. The curriculum is broadened, and academic advisors are assigned to students to provide personalized education.
1934 - A new science hall is constructed.
1935 - A watershed student self-help project is instituted: a broom factory that employs many students and gives instruction in the techniques of manufacturing and marketing.
1941 - Many students enter the military to serve in World War II.
1947-1950 - Enrollments increase dramatically as veterans take advantage of the G.I. Bill to complete their education. Extensive improvements and readjustments take place on campus. William (Bill) Andres and William Hiller graduate; both become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
1951-Present - Upper Iowa is continuously accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
1952-1970 - Enrollments increase again, and many new buildings are constructed: Zinita B. Graf Hall for women, Colgrove-Walker Hall (with auditorium), Garbee Residence Hall, Maltbie-McCosh Hall (men's residence hall), Baker-Hebron Hall, a bookstore building, an addition to the library, and the Dorman Memorial Gymnasium.
1972 - Upper Iowa launches an external degree program, one of the first (and most successful) in the United States.
1974-1984 - As returning Vietnam veterans graduate and Iowa's population of young people decreases, enrollments decline.
1984-1994 - The systematic establishment of learning centers is begun: in Des Moines (Iowa) and Madison (Wisconsin) in 1984; in Waterloo (Iowa) in 1985; in Prairie du Chien (Wisconsin) in 1988; in Manchester (Iowa) in 1991; and at Fort Riley (Kansas) and in Milwaukee and Wausau (Wisconsin) in 1992. The University's administrative structure is reorganized, and a new mission statement is adopted. In accordance with mission goals, academic programs are strengthened with new faculty and equipment, and student life is enhanced with new facilities and increased operating budgets. As a result of these changes, enrollments quadruple. A master landscaping plan for the Fayette campus is developed and approved by the Board of Trustees, and implementation begins in 1991; land adjacent to the University is acquired. A visiting North Central accrediting team commends University personnel for the dramatic turnaround and revitalizing of the institution.
1994-2003 - Continuation of the landscaping and building renovation program brings exciting changes to the campus each year, especially with the construction of Lee Tower Residence Hall. The expansion of the Extended University continues, with establishment of centers at Fort Polk (Louisiana) in 1993, Janesville (Wisconsin) in 1994, Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) in 1997, Jackson Barracks (Louisiana) in 2001, and Elkhorn (Wisconsin) in 2002. In 1995, North Central grants approval of the University's new graduate program. In 1999, with endorsement of North Central, degree programs are begun in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, and in Vancouver, Canada. In the fall of 1999, a master's degree program is offered online. The new millennium is inaugurated with the acquisition of a new physical plant building and the construction of a recreational center on the Fayette campus. In 2003, centers open in Ankeny (Iowa) and Brooks City-Base (Texas).
2004 - Two significant events mark the year: the announcement of a major gift by alumna Betty Andres to fund a new building, the Andres Center for Business and Education; and the inauguration of Dr. Alan G. Walker as the 20th President of the University.
2005 - The Andres Center is completed, and the University is accepted by the Higher Learning Commissions (North Central Association) into the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), which infuses the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into colleges and universities (www.aqip.org). After a two-year reclassifying phase of membership in NCAA Division II athletics, the University moves to active membership status and is welcomed into the Northern Sun intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC).
2006 - An RN-to-BSN program and a master's degree in education were inaugurated. Two more centers in Cedar Rapids, IA, and Rockford, IL, opened in 2007. Shortly after observing the University's 150th anniversary, UIU adopted a strategic plan that emphasized the seamlessness of UIU curriculum and programs and which emphasized its global focus. The University also accepted a $500,000 endowment from Bob and Betty Firth to launch the Upper Iowa Business Development (UIBD) grant. The grant is designed to boost economic development of the Fayette area by awarding up to $40,000 annually to a new business or an expanding business in the city.
2007 - The University celebrates its 150th year.
2009 - Classes began for the newly approved master's degree of higher education administration. The Board of Trustees also approved a multi-million dollar capital improvement program and broke ground for Phase I of a $75 million capital improvement program, the largest in the University's history. As a result, by Fall 2011, UIU had enhanced campus entrances and built and opened the Liberal Arts Building, a new Student Center, and South Village I, a suite-style residence hall. UIU also constructed and opened a restaurant and retail facility as part of the UIBD grant program.
2011 - UIU consolidated its Ankeny and Des Moines centers and relocated them to West Des Moines. Construction was completed on a new center in the Quad Cities, Iowa, and new centers were announced for opening in 2012 in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. A major gift of $7.5 million was received from 1973 alumni, Steve and Diane Harms, to transform the University football complex, which triggered the public phase of the University's first-ever capital campaign to raise $25 million. The Andres family pledged $4 million to the campaign, and the University named the Andres School of Education in their honor. Ground was broken for two additional suite-style residence halls. Additional construction, including a new science center, is also part of the capital campaign.
2012 - UIU returned full force to the Jackson Barracks-based center in New Orleans. Even though classes had never completely ended, UIU had been operating on a much smaller scale in temporary locations since Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana also became home to UIU-Baton Rouge center, which began accepting students in July and started classes in October. UIU-Mesa (Arizona) also opened, offering both nursing and education majors outside of Iowa for the first time. On campus in Fayette, the Harms-Eischeid Stadium was completed and opened in September, and South Village 2 and 3 were nearing completion by the end of the calendar year. President Walker announces he will be leaving UIU, and Richard Patrick, Ph.D., Dean of Faculty and Professor of Business is named Acting President. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association reaffirms UIU accreditation.
2013 - The University launches a search for a new UIU President, and names William R. Duffy II, Ed.D., Ed.S. The remainder of the academic divisions become "Schools," including the School of Business, the School of Liberal Arts, and the School of Science & Mathematics. Another new downtown Fayette business opens, funded by the Upper Iowa Business Development grant. The University adopts a provost model for governance and administration. The master of education program and RN-BSN program add online options, and the MBA is offered as an evening program and a weekend program at some of the off-campus centers.