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When the doors to the University of West Florida opened in the fall of 1967, it didn’t just mark the beginning of classes. It marked the beginning of a story—the UWF story. This timeline details the University’s history over the past five decades, characterized by vision, hope and strategic growth. Where we’ve been is only the beginning—our foundation for the future.


UWF was established in 1963 and opened four years later. The University’s early days were marked by many firsts: president, class, athletic event and commencement ceremony. Explore the University’s start among the pines and the young UWF that would later evolve into an innovative leader in higher education that has awarded more than 100,000 degrees.


aerial photograph of campus in 1967
President Robinson


Greek organizations launched on campus invigorating UWF’s student life and the athletic department earned its membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. UWF’s second president took the helm and would make a big splash as president for 14 years. Learn more about UWF’s first steps to becoming a traditional college.



UWF added a presence in Fort Walton Beach, freshman enrolled for the first time as Argonauts and the National Public Radio for Florida’s Great Northwest took to the airwaves. Find out more about the University’s bigger exposure and the big impact UWF’s third president made during his 14 years of service to UWF.


Fort Walton Beach Center
315x177Library. Student.Professor


UWF expanded its offerings when it added another location. UWF athletics made a significant move in sports divisions and a team won UWF’s first national championship title. UWF gave students an updated and expanded space to study and a big space for theatre and the arts. Learn more about UWF’s growth and reorganization changes that were made to UWF’s colleges.



A “historic” move advanced the University culturally, several sports teams won national titles including one team which won back-to-back titles. A new president who would expand athletics, even more, took the helm. Students, staff and faculty celebrated a 10,000-square-foot facility with offerings for all Argos. Learn more about these big wins.


President Bense


Two colleges were named, one was formed and one moved into a new building. The University celebrated the opening of several new Centers and broke ground on new facilities and residence halls. UWF consistently ranked high in the Florida Board of Governors’ performance-based funding model. Find out more about these successes with UWF’s sixth and current president.



UWF helped the community stay healthier during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University has launched several new degree programs to meet state and regional needs. UWF has also celebrated several monumental gifts to the University. Read more about UWF’s growth and about the new five-year strategic plan the University is following as a blueprint for further success.