The University at College Park
The University of Maryland at College Park serves as the state's primary center for graduate study and research, provides undergraduate instruction across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and extends its vast intellectual resources to the community through innovative projects designed to serve individuals, governments and the private sector throughout the state of Maryland, the nation and the world. Today's comprehensive public research university for the state of Maryland had its origin in 1859 as the Maryland Agricultural College, the third such state institution the world. It became one of the nation's original land-grant institutions in 1862. The state assumed authority in 1920, joining College park with the professional schools in Baltimore to form an expanded University of Maryland. With students and faculty drawn to Maryland from all 50 states and 110 countries, College Park is home to a rich mix of social, intellectual and cultural perspectives.
Among public research universities in the Association of American Universities, College Park ranks first in percentage of African American undergraduate students. Also, the university has the largest number of African American and other minority faculty members among its peers. Such facts illustrate College park's progress toward becoming a national model of diversity. Rated as one of the 20 top-funded universities by the National Science Foundation, College Park is a national center of innovative scientific and engineering research. Such programs as the Engineering Research Center, the Institute for Systems Research and the Center for Global Change conduct ground-breaking studies on topics including global warming, robotics and sea-level rise.
Engineering's Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel is the most advanced aerodynamic testing facility of its kind on any university campus. In the wind tunnel, researchers perform airflow tests on state-of-the-art designs for such products as automobiles, aircraft wings, telephone cables, signs and power lines. Another one-of-kind is the Neutral Buoyancy Facility which resembles weightlessness for space research. Recalling its founding as a land grant institution, 1994 marked the opening of the new Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, reflecting the College of Agriculture's new philosophy of sustainable agriculture. Close to home, College Park faculty and staff provide technical assistance to state and local governmental bodies and education systems, outreach programs in support of technology transfer and in-service or continuing education programs is areas such as computer science, engineering, business, journalism and education. The University's efforts go far behind the state's boundaries in developing economic opportunities and partnerships abroad for Maryland businesses and industries. And, a $16 million, three-year contract from the USAID to the university's Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector (IRIS) is funding a project aimed at helping the leaders in the former Soviet Union establish a market economy. Recognizing the importance of the Far East, the university's strengthening relationships with mainland china, Japan and Taiwan are forging new research, business and cultural ties to promote greater exchange of students and scholars.
From athletics to aesthetics, talent takes many forms at the University of Maryland at College Park. The university presents hundreds of cultural events annually. The campus is also home to the Summer Institute for the Creative and Performing Arts, known as the Rossborough Festival, which sponsors nationally and internationally recognized programs including the National Orchestral Institute and the International William Kapell Piano Competition. Campus neighbors include such important national resources as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institutions, the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Center. Close by is Maryland's historic state capital, Annapolis, also known as the sailing and seafood capital of the nation, a tribute to its Chesapeake bay setting. The nearby Chesapeake Bay offers not only recreational diversions but e the opportunity to study and conduct research aimed at sustaining the nation's largest esturaine system.
The MARC train offers public transportation from College park to Baltimore's Camden Station, next door to where the Orioles play baseball in the heart of the historic city. And the highly efficient Metro system, with a new station at the campus doorstep, makes navigating the greater Washington, D.C. area easy. Add all the accolades and, still, only a partial picture emerges because the University of Maryland at College Park is far more than the sum of its parts. One thing is clear, however, with a student body increasing yearly in both quality and diversity, private support growing at a phenomenal rate and multifaceted research program attracting record funding. Maryland's flagship institution ranks as a national resource. Discover the many ways available to become part of the picture.
After the Civil War the institution became a land-grant college, with small appropriations from Washington. The little college began to grow about 1900 when agricultural experiments began to bring prosperity to Maryland, and when the college expanded its offerings into engineering, business and the liberal arts. In 1912 the old Gothic building burned, and the state provided modern structures. Women were admitted to the campus, and graduate work began. In 1920 the college combined with the long established professional schools of Baltimore and changed its name to the University of Maryland.
Growth accelerated after 1935 when the politically astute football coach, H.C. "Curley" Byrd, became president, added scores of new programs, and won national football championships. In the 1950s and 1960s President Wilson H. Elkins maintained the rapid growth, and College Park became one of the largest campuses in the nation. President Elkins, a Rhodes Scholar, transformed the institution's public image to one of high academic integrity. In the 1970s and 1980s the University's graduate and research programs flourished. In 1988 the General Assembly of Maryland combined six state colleges with the five campuses of the University of Maryland, and specifically charged College Park with the role of leadership in the revamped system.