1955 - The Founding of the University of West Florida
In the 1950s, a study found a need for an institution of higher education in Northwest Florida. In 1955, 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. The campus originally included seven academic and administration buildings, as well as 15 student residential buildings housing 500 residents.
1967 - Classes Begin
The first students matriculated in the fall of 1967, and the first commencement ceremony was held in June 1968. Fifty-eight students received degrees.
1969 - University Accreditation
UWF earned its accreditation for undergraduate programs from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1969. The University also established its first master’s degree programs this year.
1979 - Creation of Traditional Colleges
Initially, the University was organized into three resident or cluster colleges (Alpha, Gamma and Omega) and designed for upper-level (juniors and seniors) 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 - Academic Growth
In 1983, the first freshmen attended the University following authorization by the Florida Legislature to establish a lower division (freshmen and sophomores). Enrollment increased from 5,200 students to 5,920.
1988 to 2000 - Academic Realignment
In July 1988, the computer science department within the College of Business was changed to the Division of Computer Science, which was later incorporated 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, all of which still exist today.
1991 - Fine and Performing Arts Expansion
In 1991, President Morris Marx dedicated the new Center for Fine and Performing Arts. Built in 1991, the Center for Fine & Performing Arts (CFPA) is 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 at UWF, the CFPA specializes in showcasing the work of its students.Â Additionally, in conjunction with the three academic departments it houses, CFPA is committed to bringing on campus artists from across the world for the enjoyment, enrichment and artistic development of UWF’s student body and the Northwest Florida community.
The CFPA consists of three performance spaces: the Mainstage Theatre which seats 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 1,500-square-foot The Art Gallery (TAG).
1995 - Library Renovation and Expansion
In 1995, UWF unveiled the expanded and renovated John C. Pace Library with the addition of the east side structure and its distinctive curved first and second floors and four-story stairwell. The fifth floor, used for University functions since 1967, became part of the library in 2010, and is the home of 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 School of Science and Engineering Building
In the spring of 2010, UWF opening the brand new School of Science and Engineering facility in Building 4. The $30.6 million state0funded building embodies the principles of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), an advocate in the U.S. for building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) 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. http://news.uwf.edu/index.php/2010/11/science-engineering-building-receives-gold-certification/
2011 - Opening of Heritage Hall Residence Hall
Heritage Hall, which opened in Fall 2010, is the home to the University of West Florida's Second Year Experience program called “Oracle.” This program is specifically designed for students who were part of the Delphi Living Learning program during their first year at UWF.
Programming for students living in Heritage Hall will focus on academic success, career development and leadership opportunities at UWF. Heritage Hall offers a unique suite-style living option on campus. Each hall has a common area with kitchen to facilitate opportunities to develop community. Residents may request a single bedroom option or a double occupancy option.Â Â http://news.uwf.edu/index.php/2010/08/incoming-residents-thrilled-dorms-possibilities/
2012 - Continued Growth and Development
National Flight Academy Classroom
In 2011, UWF opened the U.S.S. Argo, an Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE) designed to better educate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. UWF was the first higher education facility to be equipped with one of these classrooms, as well as a member of the first Center of Inspiration in the United States. The Center of Inspiration is a partnership with the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and Escambia and Santa Rosa County school districts to better serve Northwest Florida by transforming STEM education for students.
The classroom is part of the National Flight Academy (NFA), a subsidiary of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, is designed to address the serious concerns of declining STEM skills and standards in the U.S., and UWF took the lead in developing curriculum not only for the U.S.S. Argo, but the entire National Flight Academy.
Since it is based at UWF, a regional university, the U.S.S. Argo is a Super ACE that can provide teacher development and training and host corporate events, in addition to providing educational experiences for students. Further, this is where localized mission development takes place in concert with the NFA Academic Advisory Board and the NFA Serious Game Development Studio. http://news.uwf.edu/index.php/2012/03/national-flight-academy-classroom-opens-uwf/
College of Business Expansion
The College of Business opens a brand new facility in Fall 2012, offering a state-of-the-art location for business students to gather, study and network on campus.Â The three-story, 36,000-square-foot College of Business Education Center will provide 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 exhibit space allows for presentations. http://news.uwf.edu/index.php/2011/03/uwf-college-business-breaks-ground-facility/
In Fall 2012, UWF will open the newest residence hall, Presidents Hall. The twin of Heritage Hall, Presidents Hall will be home to 252 residents in a suite-style building with both double and single rooms.
In addition to residences, Presidents Hall will feature a Papa John’s pizza restaurant, convenience store and programming space in the building. Presidents Hall will have other great amenities such as wireless Internet access and nine community kitchens throughout the building.
Presidents Hall will be the new home of the Oracle program, a program for second-year college students. Currently located in Heritage Hall, Oracle has been a very successful program assisting students through different phases of their second year in college, specifically with major and career choices.
By living in this community, residents also have the opportunity to become connected with the Pensacola community through Community Service Initiatives, as well as a "Mystery Bus Tour" each semester to Historic locations throughout Pensacola.