Extra - History

1963 - Establishment of the University of West Florida

The Florida Legislature allocated funding to develop the University of West Florida, which became the sixth university in the State University System of Florida.

1965 - Breaking Ground

Groundbreaking for UWF took place on April 16, 1965. In the same year, the University adopted the chambered nautilus as the official UWF emblem.

1967 - Classes Begin

The first students enrolled in the fall of 1967. The first commencement ceremony was held in June 1968, and 58 students received degrees.

1969 - University Accreditation

UWF earned its accreditation for undergraduate programs from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1969. That year, the University also established its first master's degree programs.

1979 - Creation of Traditional Colleges

Initially, the University was organized into three resident colleges, Alpha, Gamma and Omega – all designed for upper-level and graduate students. In July 1979, the University organized into a more traditional structure by establishing three colleges — the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Education.

1983 – Establishment of a Lower Division

The University was authorized by the Florida Legislature to establish a lower division, and freshmen enrolled for the first time in the fall of 1983.

1985 - University Mascot Selected

In 1985, student consensus led the Argonauts to become the mascot of UWF. Argonauts – adventurers and demigods featured in the Greek epic poem "Argonautica" – accompanied Jason in search of the fabled Golden Fleece. UWF's colors represent the blue of the sky and the green of the waters surrounding the Argonauts' ship, the Argo, on their mythical voyage.

1988 to 2000 - Academic Realignment

In July 1988, the Department of Computer Science moved from the College of Business into a fourth college – the College of Science and Technology. In 1999, the colleges reorganized into the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Professional Studies.

1991 - Fine and Performing Arts Expansion

In 1991, President Morris Marx dedicated the newly opened Center for Fine & Performing Arts as the heart of artistic expression for UWF and a primary destination for arts and culture in Northwest Florida.

Home to the Departments of Art, Music and Theatre, the CFPA specializes in showcasing the work of its students. Additionally, in conjunction with the three academic departments it houses, the CFPA is committed to bringing artists from across the world onto campus for the enjoyment, enrichment and artistic development of the student body and the Northwest Florida community.

The CFPA consists of three performance spaces: the Mainstage Theatre, seating 442; the Music Hall, seating 309; and the Studio Theatre, an adjustable black box space that has variable seating capacity. In addition, the facility contains The Art Gallery, also known as TAG, a 1,500-square-foot creative setting for artists to display work.

1995 - Library Renovation and Expansion

In 1995, UWF unveiled an expanded and renovated John C. Pace Library, with the addition of the east side structure, which includes distinctive, curved first and second floors and a four-story stairwell. The fifth floor, used for University functions since 1967, became part of the library in 2010 and is home to the Skylab, the library's student-supported technology center.

The library also supports satellite libraries: the Curriculum Library in Building 86 and the Fort Walton Beach Center Library at Niceville, as well as supporting other collections kept where the University has remote teaching centers. In addition, library investments in electronic databases permit students to access library information wherever they reside or take classes.

Among the library's unique strengths are the U.S. Government Publications, available to all citizens of West Florida, as well as the West Florida historical collections of rare books, manuscripts, maps and other materials documenting the region from European settlement to the present.

2010 - Opening of the Science and Engineering Building

In the spring of 2010, UWF opened a brand new science and engineering facility in Building 4. The $30.6 million, state-funded building embodies the principles of Project Kaleidoscope, an advocate in the U.S. for building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Designed by architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent, the four-story, 94,000-square-foot facility is energy and water efficient, earning the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold Certification. It was UWF’s first Gold-Certified building.

2010 - Opening of Heritage Hall Residence Hall

Heritage Hall, which opened in the fall of 2010, was specifically designed to offer housing that eases the transition from a traditional residence hall to living in an apartment. The Oracle Living Learning program started in Heritage Hall prior to being moved to Presidents Hall. Programming for students living in Heritage Hall is designed for students in their first year to senior year in college at UWF. Heritage Hall offers a unique suite-style living option on campus for 252 residents. Each hallway has a common area with a kitchen to facilitate opportunities to develop community. Residents may request a single bedroom option or a double occupancy option within the suite-style rooms.

2012 - Continued Growth and Development

College of Business Education Center

The College of Business opened a brand new facility in the fall of 2012, offering a state-of-the-art location for business students to gather, study and network on campus. The three-story, 44,380-square-foot College of Business Education Center provides modern, high-tech conveniences for engaging in interactive learning.

The multi-story glass atrium invites students and visitors inside where a large open lobby awaits for gathering, relaxing or studying. A café and coffee shop offers an additional food service location on campus, and the exhibit space allows for presentations.

Presidents Hall

In the fall of 2012, UWF opened its newest residence hall, Presidents Hall. The twin of Heritage Hall, Presidents Hall is home to 250 residents in a suite-style building with both double and single rooms. Presidents Hall is the home of the Oracle program for second-year and third-year college students. Oracle assists students through different phases of their second and third year in college, specifically with major and career choices. In addition to residences, Presidents Hall features a Papa John’s pizza restaurant, convenience store, large programming space and nine community kitchens throughout the building.

2014 - College Reorganization

In the fall of 2014, a year-long academic reorganization process began. The former three-college structure transitioned into four academic colleges: College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; College of Education and Professional Studies; College of Science, Engineering and Health; and the College of Business.

University College

Additionally, UWF launched University College. To enhance the effectiveness of student support services, the College presented one comprehensive unit with a centerpiece focus on professional readiness and transformative learning experiences.

The Kugelman Honors Program, General Education, First Year Advising Center, International Programs, Office of Equity and Diversity and Quality Enhancement Program are all housed within University College to offer a wide range of high-impact practices and new learning opportunities, such as first-year experience courses, living and learning communities, collaborative assignments and projects, global and diverse learning, service- and community-based learning and internships.

2015 - College of Health

As a final step in the academic college reorganization, UWF announced the formation of the College of Health. The former College of Science, Engineering and Health divided into two separate colleges, the College of Science and Engineering and the College of Health, in order to position the University as a major player in the development of innovative solutions to substantial healthcare challenges.

2016 - The Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering

In January 2016, the University received the largest gift from a living donor in its history. Longtime supporter Harold E. ‘Hal’ Marcus allocated $5 million to the College of Science and Engineering. The College was named the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering in his honor, marking it as the University’s first named college.