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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Nebraska Notables

Highlights in UNL History

1869 - The University of Nebraska is chartered as a land-grant institution on Feb. 15, 1869. The cornerstone for the first building, University Hall, was laid on Sept. 23, 1869.

1871 - Allen R. Benton is named first chancellor of the University of Nebraska. He designs the university seal on a railroad trip east, sketching it on a piece of paper he had been carrying in his coat pocket.

1872 - The College of Agriculture is established.

1874 - The university museum is founded.

1884 - Charles Bessey, considered the "father of modern botany," joins the faculty.

1886 - The first graduate college west of the Mississippi River is established at the University of Nebraska.

1889 - Harry Kirk Wolfe establishes what is believed to be the first undergraduate psychology laboratory in the world at the University of Nebraska.

1891 - John J. Pershing becomes professor of military science at the University of Nebraska. Work begins on the university's first library building, later to become the home of the College of Architecture.

1892 - An iron fence is erected around campus to keep cows and "town loafers" off the grounds. Students participated in weeding the campus green spaces on "Dandelion Day."

1893 - Henry Baldwin Ward introduces the first laboratory parasitology course in the western hemisphere.

1901 - The university's two student newspapers, The Hesperian Student and the Weekly Nebraska merge to become the Daily Nebraskan.

1902 - The College of Medicine opens and is affiliated with the Medical College in Omaha. Two years later the Lincoln Dental College becomes associated with the university.

1904 - The university's first agricultural substation opens in North Platte.

1906 - The Temple Building becomes the first campus building to be constructed outside of the fence that surrounded the original four-block campus. It was the first building at a state university paid for by private funds - provided, amid controversy - by John D. Rockefeller.

1909 - The University of Nebraska is selected for membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities.

1912 - The first May Queen, Louise Barr, is crowned on Ivy Day.

1916 - Alumnus Nathan Roscoe Pound ('88) is named dean of the Harvard Law School.

1919 - The tractor-testing lab is established at the university.

1922 - Alumnae and novelist Willa Cather ('95) wins the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours. Aaron Douglas, the leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance, graduates from the University of Nebraska.

1923 - "There Is No Place Like Nebraska" is first sung at a football game by the University Quartet.

1927 - The Prairie Schooner, now one of the nation's oldest literary magazines, begins publication. Nebraska author Mari Sandoz is among its early contributors.

1930 - Twenty-four columns are transported by rail to the university from the old Burlington Railroad Station in Omaha. They would become one of the university's most distinguishing landmarks.

1938 - The Nebraska Union is completed.

1940 - A Hollywood crew comes to campus for the first time to film location shots for use in the motion picture "Cheers for Miss Bishop." Forty years later Hollywood would return to campus to film the Academy Award winning "Terms of Endearment."

1941 - The University of Nebraska Press, now the second largest state university press in the nation, is established.

1942 - The university made a concerted effort to bring students of Japanese ancestry to Nebraska rather than allow them to be forced into internment camps by the U.S. Army. Fifty of these students were enrolled at Nebraska. About 120,000 U.S. citizens and residents of Japanese origin were sent to internment camps during World War II.

1943 - Soldiers use the newly constructed Love Library as a barracks during WWII. Scrap drives were a common sight along "frat row."

1948 The Mueller Carillon Tower is built on the university campus.

1954 - The university's television station, KUON-TV, begins broadcasting as the seventh educational television station in the U.S. 1958 Alumnus George Beadle ('26) receives the Nobel Prize for his work in biochemistry.

1962 - Alumnus Johnny Carson takes over as host of the "Tonight Show."

1963 - The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery opens. Designed by architect Philip Johnson, it becomes one of the nation's top collections of 20th century American art.

1969 - The university celebrates its centennial as enrollment nears 20,000.

1974 - UNL's Cedar Point Biological Station opens near Lake McConaughy.

1977 - The Center for Great Plains Studies is established.

1978 - The National Science Foundation chooses UNL as the site for the Center for Mass Spectrometry. 1987 Alumnus Donald Cram (MA '48) shares the Nobel Prize in chemistry. 1989 The Lied Center for Performing Arts opens.

1991 - Enrollment nears 25,000 students. One of a few existing Shakespeare folios published in 1623 is added to the 2.5 million volumes at Love Library.

1993 - Alumnus Warren Buffett ('54) topped the Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans.

1994 - The George W. Beadle Center for Genetics and Biomaterials Science opens. The university is named a Carnegie I research institution.

1996 - The landmark sculpture "Torn Notebook," by Claes Oldenburg, is installed near 12th and Q streets, joining 30 other works in the Sheldon sculpture garden.

1999 - A building boom was well underway on the university campus, including major expansions of Memorial Stadium and the Nebraska Union and a number of building renovations. Construction began on the Esther L. Kauffman Residential Center and on a new building to house Teachers College. The University of Nebraska marked its 130th anniversary.