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Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University, the second largest private university in Iowa, is a four-year, liberal arts institution of higher learning offering quality degree programs to over 670 on-campus students and to over 3,600 center, graduate, and independent study students. Located in the city of Fayette in the scenic Volga River Valley of northeast Iowa, Upper Iowa University provides education to a widely diverse student clientele, including both recent high school graduates and mature learners.


1854: Elizabeth Alexander, a pioneer woman living near what is now Fayette, Iowa, proposes the idea of a college. Money and land are donated.

1855: Construction begins on what is now called Alexander-Dickman Hall; it is built of native limestone blocks and at first 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.

1857: Classes begin January 7 in what is called the "Fayette Seminary of the Upper Iowa Conference."

1858: The name of the institution is changed on July 15 to "Upper Iowa University."

1861: A company of male students 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.

1862: The first commencement of baccalaureate degrees is held as an outdoor ceremony, June 26, in J.E. Robertson Grove.

1883: The first issue of the campus newspaper, The Collegian, appears. Student John R. Mott goes on to become one of the founders of the YMCA movement and receives 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.

1890: An auditorium building is constructed. The students choose peacock blue and white as official UIU colors, and the peacock is adopted as school mascot.

1892: The first gymnasium is constructed on campus.

1893: The first football team is organized, with 14 men reporting for the squad. The team plays three games the first season.

1900: John "Doc" Dorman graduates. Doc establishes a dental practice in Fayette and in 1907 becomes football coach at Upper Iowa, a position he is to hold for over 50 years. (Doc set the record for having coached football at one college longer than any other person in the U.S., and was elected to the National Coaches' Hall of Fame.)

1902 :The David B. Henderson Library is completed, with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie in memory of Colonel Henderson, first U.S. Speaker of the House west of the Mississippi.

1909: A memorial arch, marking the west entrance to the campus, is presented to the University by the graduating class.

1910-1913: Several famous alumni classmates receive their diplomas: John C. Baker, inventor of enriched flour; Arlie V. Bock, the founding father of sports medicine; William Albright, discoverer and translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls; Zinita B. Graf, noted Shakespearean 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 U.S. enters World War I; the gym becomes a barracks and the athletic field becomes the scene of military drill. 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." A new gym is built, with an indoor swimming pool.

1924: Upper Iowa is a charter member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association and gains the football championship.

1934: A new science hall is constructed.

1941: Many students enter the military to serve in World War II.

1947: Enrollments increase dramatically as veterans take advantage of the G.I. Bill to complete their education.

1948-1950: Successful alumni William Andres and William Hiller graduate; both become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

1951-Present: Upper Iowa is continuously accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

1952-1970: Enrollments increase again, and many new buildings are constructed: Colgrove-Walker Hall (with auditorium), Garbee Residence Hall, Zinita B. Graf Hall for women, a library addition and the Dorman Memorial Gymnasium.

1973: Upper Iowa launches a worldwide external degree program.

1984: James Rocheleau becomes president and launches a program of extensive improvements in the physical plant and academic programs of the University. In particular, off-campus satellite centers are begun in Iowa, Wisconsin and in Kansas. The University's administrative structure is reorganized, and a new mission statement is adoped; in accordance with mission goals, academic programs are strengthened with new faculty and equipment, and student life is enhanced. Enrollments quadruple. A master landscaping plan for the Fayette Campus is approved by the Board of Trustees, and implementation begins in 1991; land adjacent to the University is acquired.

1994-Present: Ralph McKay becomes Upper Iowa's 19th president and articulates his vision for UIU's future as "a distinctively entrepreneurial university meeting the needs of learners worldwide." A graduate program is inaugurated, with the first master's degrees conferred in May 1996. Continuation of the landscaping and building renovation program brings exciting new changes to the campus each year, especially with the construction of Lee Tower Residence Hall and the new 40,000 sq. ft. recreation center, which is scheduled to open Fall 2001. The expansion of Upper Iowa University continues, with North Central Association approval for centers at Fort Polk (Louisiana), Janesville (Wisconsin), Ft. Leavenworth (Kansas), and overseas sites in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The athletic program continues to be a powerhouse in the Iowa Conference, with a 1998 Conference championship in baseball, a 1998-1999 Conference championship in men's basketball and advancement to the NCAA playoffs, and an undefeated national wrestling champion in 1999. The students, faculty, staff and administration of Upper Iowa University look to the twenty-first century with confidence.


Upper Iowa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Upper Iowa University is approved by the Louisiana Higher Education Board, the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board, and the Iowa Department of Education for teacher education. The programs offered are approved by the states of Iowa, Kansas (restricted), Louisiana, and Wisconsin for veterans' benefits.


Upper Iowa University is a member of the following educational organizations: American Association of University Women; American Library Association; Council for the Advancement and Support of Education; Council of Independent Colleges; Iowa Association of Colleges of Teacher Education; Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; Iowa College Foundation; Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association; National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Uppuer Iowa's sports teams are the Peacocks. They participate in the NCAA's Division III, and in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Web Page is All above information is publicly available on their website.