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University of Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa
Former names
Iowa State Normal School (1876–1909)
Iowa State Teachers College (1909–1961)
State College of Iowa (1961–1967)
MottoLux (Latin)
Motto in English
TypePublic university
EstablishedSeptember 6, 1876; 147 years ago (September 6, 1876)[1]
Parent institution
Iowa Board of Regents
Academic affiliations
Endowment$163 million (2022)[2]
PresidentMark Nook
ProvostJose Herrerra
Academic staff
Students9,021 (Fall 2023) [4]
Location, ,
United States

42°30′54″N 92°27′38″W / 42.51500°N 92.46056°W / 42.51500; -92.46056
CampusSmall city, 900 acres (360 ha)
NewspaperThe Northern Iowan
ColorsPurple and gold[5]
Sporting affiliations
MascotTC Panther (male) & TK Panther (female)

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is a public university in Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States. UNI offers more than 90 majors across five colleges. The fall 2023 total enrollment was 9,021 students.[4]

The university was initially founded in 1876 as the Iowa State Normal School, with a purpose of training school teachers and educators. The University of Northern Iowa is one of three public universities in Iowa. The Iowa Board of Regents governs these universities as with the University of Northern Iowa.


The University of Northern Iowa was founded as a result of two influential forces of the nineteenth century. First, Iowa wanted to care for orphans of its Civil War veterans, and secondly, Iowa needed a public teacher training institution. In 1876, when Iowa no longer needed an orphan home, legislators Edward G. Miller and H. C. Hemenway started the Iowa State Normal School.[6]

The school's first building opened in 1867 and was known as Central Hall. The building contained classrooms, common areas, and a living facility for most of the students. It was also a home to the college's first principal, James Cleland Gilchrist. The building was the heart and soul of the school, allowing students to study courses of two-year, three-year, and four-year degrees. In 1965, a fire destroyed Central Hall, and school faculty and Cedar Falls citizens donated over $5,000 to start building Gilchrist Hall.[6]

The school has been known under the following names:

  • Iowa State Normal School, 1876–1909
  • Iowa State Teachers College, 1909–1961
  • State College of Iowa, 1961–1967
  • University of Northern Iowa, 1967–present

From 2014 through 2018 the UNI hosted the Midwest Summer Institute: Inclusion and Communication for All, a two-day conference on facilitated communication sponsored by the Inclusion Connection and Syracuse University's Institute on Communication and Inclusion. Facilitated Communication is a discredited practice, and in 2018 UNI decided to discontinue the conference at the urging of multiple nationwide academics.


Iowa State Normal School, c. 1904

Since its founding, the university has had eleven presidents.[3]

  • James Cleland Gilchrist, 1876–1886
  • Homer Horatio Seerley, 1886–1928
  • Orval Ray Latham, 1928–1940
  • Malcolm Poyer Price, 1940–1950
  • James William Maucker, 1950–1970
  • John Joseph Kamerick, 1970–1983
  • Constantine William Curris, 1983–1995
  • Robert D. Koob, 1995–2006
  • Benjamin J. Allen, 2006–2013
  • William Ruud, 2013–2016
  • Mark Nook, 2017–present
Lang Hall, 1907
Lang Hall, 1907


University of Northern Iowa colleges include:

  • Wilson College of Business
  • Education
  • Humanities, Arts and Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Graduate College

Study Abroad Center

UNI provides an opportunity for the students to study in 25+ countries and select from over 40 programs. It is also available to all students attending the university.[7] The mission of the Study Abroad Center at the University of Northern Iowa is to provide service and leadership in international education to UNI students, faculty, staff, the community and the State of Iowa.[8]

Culture and Intensive English Program

The Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP) is an intensive program in English for non-native speakers. It is designed to prepare students for academic work at the undergraduate or graduate degree level. University of Northern Iowa students are also encouraged to participate in the Conversation Partner Program to help foreign students with their English ability and foster cross-cultural relationships while gaining mutual understanding.

North American Review

The university is the publisher of The North American Review (called the NAR), a celebrated literary magazine that began originally in Boston in 1815. Its past editors have included James Russell Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton, and Henry Adams; while among its past contributors are Mark Twain, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Walt Whitman, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Guy Davenport and Margaret Atwood. In 1968, when the magazine was purchased by UNI, Robley Wilson was appointed editor, a position he continued in until his retirement in 2000. The current editors are Rachel Morgan, Jeremy Schraffenberger, Grant Tracey, and Brooke Wonders.

UNI Teaching and Research Greenhouse

Teaching and Research Greenhouse

The University of Northern Iowa Teaching and Research Greenhouse is a greenhouse complex incorporating botanical gardens for research and education. It is located on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The greenhouse contains plants from many ecotypes, including 250 tropical plants, an extensive collection of arid climate plants, and the 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) Aquatic Learning Center.


The school's mascot is the Panther. They participate in the NCAA's Division I (I-FCS for football) in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) for most other sports, and the Big 12 Conference for wrestling.[9] The major arena on campus is the UNI-Dome, currently the home of the football team. The Dome also serves as a venue for many local concerts, high school football playoffs, trade shows, and other events. In 2006, the university opened a new arena, the McLeod Center, to serve as the home for several athletic programs, including volleyball and men's and women's basketball.

UNI Athletics has enjoyed great success lately with the men's basketball team competing in the NCAA tournament three consecutive times in 2004, 2005, 2006, again in 2009 and 2010 and in 2015 and 2016. On March 20, 2010, the men's basketball team defeated the heavily favored, top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. It was the school's first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. The Jayhawks were favored to win the NCAA championship. Their Cinderella potential ended with a loss to Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen, 59–52. The win over Kansas earned them the 2010 ESPY Award for Best Upset. Jacqui Kalin helped lead the women's basketball team to consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, as the team won back-to-back MVC Tournament titles.[10][11][12][13][14] In 2010-11 she was named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year.[14][13] In 2012-13 she led the league in scoring (19.5 ppg; a school record), had the fourth-highest season free throw percentage in NCAA Division 1 history-and the highest of any senior (95.5%), and was again named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year.[11][14][15][16] For her career Kalin was first all-time at UNI in scoring (2,081), 3-point field goals made (265), free throws made (484), and free throw percentage (.920) the NCAA Division 1 career record.[11][17][14][15]

The football team has been ranked in the I-AA (FCS) top 25 almost every year for the last two decades. The team appeared in the I-AA championship game in 2005, only to lose a close game to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. During 2007, the team was ranked #1 in the country by the TSN FCS poll for several weeks. The football team went undefeated in 2007 with an 11–0 record, a first for any school in the 23-year history of the Gateway conference. In 2001 and 2002 the volleyball team reached the NCAA Sweet 16 round, and in 2006 made it to the second round, and has competed in the tournament numerous times. The track team is also very successful (usually ranked in the top 25), as are the wrestling and volleyball teams.

The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team won the NCAA Division I national championship as ISTC in 1949 and NCAA Division II national championships in 1975 and 1978. They competed in the Western Wrestling Conference until 2012, when UNI became an associate member of the Mid-American Conference since the MVC is a non-wrestling conference. In 2017, UNI wrestling joined the Big 12 Conference. In 1977 the women's softball team won the AIAW national championship.[18]

Bryce Paup won the Defensive Player of Year Award by the Associated Press in 1995. In 1999 and 2001, UNI alumnus Kurt Warner was named NFL MVP by the AP.[19]

During the 2014–2015 season, the men's basketball team ended the regular season ranked #11 by the AP Poll, the highest ranking in school history, and #9 by USA Today.[20]

Student life

Campanile 2018

Student newspapers

  • Students Offering, 1888–1889
  • Normal Eye, 1892–1911
  • College Eye, 1911–1967
  • Northern Iowan, 1967–present

Fraternity and sorority life

This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2020)


NPC sororities


UNI students may ride public transportation provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Black Hawk County for $0.75 a ride with a student ID.[29] Routes 6, 7, 9, and 10 connect campus to downtown Cedar Falls, downtown Waterloo and various other destinations.[30]

Notable people




  1. ^ "UNI Fact Sheet".
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2022. Endowment Management (Report). Archived from the original on September 28, 2022. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "UNI Fact Sheet | Rod Library". Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "UNI's enrollment tops 9,000 students, incoming freshman students up 8%". University of Northern Iowa. Archived from the original on September 7, 2023. Retrieved September 7, 2023.
  5. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Web Colors". Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b University of Northern Iowa, Gerald L. Peterson, Aracadia Publishing, 2000.
  7. ^ "Programs > List All > Study Abroad Center". Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "About Us | UNI Study Abroad Center". Archived from the original on December 6, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Nelson, Jim. "College wrestling: UNI welcomes move to Big 12 Conference". Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "Drake University Athletics - Jacqui Kalin - Staff Directory". Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  12. ^ 2008-09 University of Northern Iowa Women's Basketball Media Guide Guide, University of Northern Iowa.
  13. ^ a b "UNI's Kalin named to Jewish Sports Review's All-America team". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. May 17, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c d "Jacqui Kalin - 2012-13 - Women's Basketball". UNI Athletics.
  15. ^ a b 2015-16 UNI Women's Basketball Media Guide. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  16. ^ "Thea Lemberger Named JSR All-America". UCLA. May 16, 2013.
  17. ^ Barry Poe (March 9, 2020). "Kalin excited about next chapter". Sioux City Journal.
  18. ^ "Baseball - Media Guide - Official Site of University of Northern Iowa Athletics".[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ National Football League Most Valuable Player Award
  20. ^ "NCAA College Basketball Polls, College Basketball Rankings, NCAA Basketball Polls - ESPN".
    . Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  22. ^ "Sigma Alpha Epsilon". Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Alpha Delta Pi Epsilon Mu". Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  25. ^ Scotch. "Alpha Xi Delta".
  26. ^ "Alpha Phi University of Northern Iowa - Welcome". Archived from the original on August 6, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  27. ^ "Gamma Phi Beta".
  28. ^ "Alpha Sigma Tau". University of Northern Iowa Student Organizations. Archived from the original on December 14, 2019. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  29. ^ "MET Transit Fares". Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  30. ^ "MET Transit Routes". Retrieved July 24, 2023.
  31. ^ "The Des Moines Register". Archived from the original on November 8, 2013.
  32. ^ American Indians and Popular Culture: Media, Sports, and Politics. Volume 1 of American Indians and Popular Culture. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio. 2012. pp. 201–202. ISBN 9780313379901.
  33. ^ "Edward Arthur Thomas, 58, Parkersburg". The Daily Freeman Journal. 25 June 2006. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  34. ^ "State Representative". Retrieved January 4, 2023.
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University of Northern Iowa
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