University of Akron

University of Akron

Akron, University of, at Akron, Ohio; coeducational; established 1870 as Buchtel College, transferred 1913 as the nucleus of the Municipal Univ. of Akron. In 1967 the school became a state university. During World War II scientists connected with the university worked on the critical development of synthetic rubber. The university has an extensive adult education system.
The University of Akron is an open enrollment regional institution of higher learning located in Akron, Ohio. It was founded in 1870 as a small college affiliated with the Universalist Church. In 1913 ownership was transferred to the City of Akron due to financial problems. In 1967 the university became a state institution.

Enrollment in fall 2008 was 25,942 students. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate degrees and 100 graduate degrees. The University's best-known program is its College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, which is located in a 13-story reflective glass building that overlooks Akron's downtown. The graduate program in industrial and organizational psychology is highly regarded nationally, as are the engineering programs. The University's School of Law, ranked 2nd Best Value in the nation, has both day and evening programs leading to the Juris Doctor degree and recently added a Master of Laws program in intellectual property law. The university also has a branch campus, Wayne College, located in Orrville, Ohio.



The University of Akron was founded as Buchtel College in 1870. In 1913, Buchtel College trustees transferred the institution and its assets to the city of Akron. Today, although its official name is "The University of Akron," the institution is commonly incorrectly referred to as "Akron University" (or "Akron U") not only nationally, but especially by locals. The origins of the incorrect reference are unknown. The University of Akron name has existed since the transfer of the school in 1913.


The university has seen two notable fires. The original university building, known as "Old Buchtel," burned down in 1897, and was a total loss. A new central campus was constructed; the only building that remains from it is the current Buchtel Hall—which itself was gutted by fire in 1971. It was saved, but to this day has some blackening on the exterior.


A $300 million construction program was completed in the fall of 2004. Called "A New Landscape for Learning," the program included the construction of nine new buildings, the renovations or updating of 14 other buildings and structures, and numerous capital improvement projects. The New Landscape for Learning included a new College of Arts & Sciences Building, Honors Residence Hall and classroom complex, a new Student Recreation and Wellness Center, and a new Student Union. Multiple new parking decks were constructed to address high demand for parking (placed on the outskirts of campus in accordance with its goal to be less of a commuter school), and several public streets were closed to consolidate the campus, provide a more friendly environment for pedestrians and to add 30 acres (120,000 m²) of new greenspace.

The University has begun work on a satellite campus in neighboring Medina County and is shopping around ideas for workforce centers in the suburbs.

The University has launched with the City of Akron and many local businesses an initiative called the University Park Alliance to further improve the 40-block neighborhood around campus. The initiative includes a new apartment-style residence hall, new shops and restaurants, and street improvements.

On August 1, 2007, the University's Board of Trustees announced that a new stadium, Infocision Stadium, on East Exchange Street, is slated to open in September 2009, with groundbreaking in October 2007. The stadium is expected to have up to 30,000 seats and will replace UA's current stadium, the Rubber Bowl.

Because Brown Street, Walaroo, Joey, and Wallaby residence halls are in the new footprint of the stadium, the University has purchased the Quaker Square Crowne Plaza Hotel and shopping complex, with plans to convert the rooms to ultimately accommodate about 400 students.


The University of Akron comprises the following colleges, schools, and campuses:


The University of Akron's athletic teams are known as the "Zips," originally short for "Zippers," overshoes that were nationally popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and the zipper—an invention from Akron (Judson). The university's mascot is "Zippy," a kangaroo. Zippy is one of only eight female college mascots in the United States. Zippy currently holds the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year.


Akron's major football rivalry is with Kent State University, whom they play for the Wagon Wheel. They also formerly played Youngstown State University for the Steel Tire until that series was discontinued in 1995. In 2005, the Akron Zips football team won their very first MAC championship giving them a chance to play in the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I-A bowl game appearance where they lost to the University of Memphis.


In 2005, the men's basketball team, under head coach Keith Dambrot, won its first ever Division I postseason game by defeating Temple University in the NIT. The team was led by first team All-MAC performer Romeo Travis (former teammate of LeBron James in high school) and also won the most games in a season, 23.

In 2007, Keith Dambrot led Akron to the MAC Tournament Final for a second year in a row, yet the team fell for a second time, this time to arch rival Kent State. The Zips advanced to the NIT for a second time in Dambrot's four-years as head coach and won their first game at Florida State, eventually falling in the Sweet 16 in a game at UMass.

Other sports

In 2005, the women's cross country team, women's indoor track and the men's soccer team also won the MAC championship in their respective sports, making the 2005-06 year the most successful in Akron Athletics history with a total of four Mid-American Conference Championships in the same year.

The 2005 men's soccer team was the first team in UA history to hold a national No. 1 ranking in any sport, and was coached by Ken Lolla, now the head coach at the University of Louisville.

Fight Song

The Fight Song for the University is "Akron Blue and Gold". The lyrics for the song are:

We cheer the Akron Blue and Gold.
We cheer as the colors unfold,
We pledge anew, we're all for you,
As the team goes crashing through,
Fight! Fight!
We cheer the Akron warriors bold,
For a fight that's a sight to behold,
So we stand up, cheer and shout
For the Akron Blue and Gold.

Zzzip! Zip go the Zi-ips!
Zzzip! Zip go the Zi-ips!
Akron true,
Gold and Blue,
All for you and the Zi-ips too!
(to chorus)

Student Life

There are more than 200 student organizations at The University of Akron. Some include:

  • Associated Student Government- This organization is the official undergraduate representation.
  • Zips Programming Network - ZPN plans over 100 events each year for the student population, for traditional and non-traditional students. ZPN is responsible for the Battle of the Bands, Homecoming, Game shows, Comedians and more.
  • Greek Life - Akron's 22 fraternities and sororities are members of NIC, NPC, and NPHC. The many diverse chapters focus on academic achievements, leadership skills, career networking, fund-raising events, charity work, social experiences and large associations with many people.
  • Residence Hall Program Board - The board plans events for the 2,400 students who live on campus, and it collaborates with the Zips Programming Network to plan major events like Sibs Weekend.
  • The Buchtelite - The student newspaper of The University of Akron is published twice a week during the semester.
  • WZIP 88.1 FM - The largest student-run college radio station in terms of listenership. Plays top 40 music most of the time, but has special polka, sports, rock and news programs.
  • Tel-Buch - The university's yearbook, produced for over 90 years.
  • College Republicans and College Democrats of America host a number of political and social events every year.

Notable people

The University of Akron has seen many now notable persons pass through its halls. Former Ohio Congressman and Mayor of Akron Thomas C. Sawyer attended undergraduate and graduate school there. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit federal judge Deborah L. Cook received her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the university. Goodkirk Street on campus is named for 1978 graduate Clayton Kirk's performance in the Tony Award Winning drama A Few Good Kirks. Current Ohio congresswoman Betty Sutton received her Juris Doctor from the university as well.

Former Akron Zips football players Chase Blackburn, Charlie Frye, Domenik Hixon, Dwight Smith, and Jason Taylor have each gone on to find success in the National Football League. Blackburn and Hixon were members of the 2008 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, while Smith won a Super Bowl Ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003. Taylor was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 and was named the NFL's Man of the Year in 2007.

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