University of Utah

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The University of Utah (also The U or the U of U) was established by Mormon leader Brigham Young. Initially named "University of Deseret" (see also University of Deseret) in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 28, 1850, the school was closed two years later for financial reasons. It reopened as a commercial school in 1867 in the old Council House in what is now downtown Salt Lake City under the direction of Elder David O. Calder, a prominent Salt Lake City businessman and associate of Mormon prophet Brigham Young. The University was renamed University of Utah in 1894 and classes were first held on the present campus approximately two miles directly east of downtown Salt Lake City in 1900.

The University is known colloquially as "the U." This stands for both University and Utah, and lends its format to the nickname for in-state rival, Brigham Young University, which is known as "the Y." The U. is the flagship Research I institution of Utah, and is one of 10 institutions that make up the Utah System of Higher Education.


Campus history

The present campus is located on the grounds of the former Fort Douglas, previously Camp Douglas. Camp Douglas was established in 1862 in order to protect the Overland Trail and was garrisoned by the Third California Infantry of volunteers. Troops from the camp were responsible for the Bear Creek Massacre that killed upwards of 250 Shoshone near Preston, Idaho in 1862. In 1866 regular army troops replaced the volunteers and in 1875 the camp was rebuilt with more substantial buildings and renamed Fort Douglas. The fort was the base for several campaigns against Indians in the 1870s. Black troops arrived in 1896 and two years later were shipped off to the Spanish American War. During World War I the fort was used as an internment camp for enemy aliens. Fear of Japanese attack during World War II caused the 9th Corps to move its headquarters from San Francisco to Fort Douglas. Later it once again was used to house prisoners of war. It finally closed on October 26, 1991. The Fort Douglas Military Museum exists to preserve and illuminate the past of this military installation, a National Historic Landmark.


The University has a number of commendable graduate and professional programs including a well-regarded law school and medical school.

The University's School of Computer Science has made several important contributions to the field. In 1968, the University joined with the University of California, Los Angeles, the Stanford Research Institute, and the University of California, Santa Barbara to form the first four nodes of the ARPANET, direct ancestor to today's Internet. Other accomplishments include the first method for representing surface textures in graphical images, the Gouraud smooth shading model for computer graphics, invention of magnetic ink printing technology, the Johnson counter logic circuit, development of the oldest algebraic mathematics package (REDUCE) still in use, and the Phong lighting model for shading with highlights. The school has pioneered work in asynchronous circuits, computer animation, computer art, digital music recording (for which university alumni were awarded Academy Awards), graphical user interfaces, and stack machine architectures. Notable alumni include Nolan Bushnell, Ed Catmull, Jim Clark and John Warnock. Companies founded by faculty and alumni include Adobe Systems, Ashlar, Atari, CAE Systems, Centillium Technology, Cirrus Logic, WordPerfect, Evans and Sutherland, Myricom, NeoMagic, Netscape Communications Corporation, Pixar, Pixal Plane, PlanetWeb, and Silicon Graphics.

The University of Utah's School of Medicine is respected as the region's finest, with several notable achievements, and the University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics has consistently ranked as "Best Hospital" by U.S. News & World Report. In 1970, the school established the first Cerebrovascular Disease Unit west of the Mississippi River. In 1982, Barney Clark received the world's first permanently implanted artificial heart, the Jarvik-7, during an operation performed by William C. Devries, M.D. Clark survived 112 days with the device. The campus houses both the Huntsman Cancer Institute, one of the premier cancer research centers in the world, and the Moran Eye Center, an ophthalmic clinical care and research facility. Areas for which the school is often praised include cardiology, geriatrics, gynecology, rheumatology, pulmonology, oncology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology.

Also of note at the University is its economics department. Despite belonging to the major university of what is generally considered the most conservative state in the United States, the U's economics department has a distinctly left-leaning flavor.

The University is well known in the field of biology for its unique contributions to the study of genetics. This is due in part to long-term genealogy efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS or Mormon church) which is headquartered about four miles from the University. LDS members are an asset to researchers who are able to use family records to trace genetic disorders through several generations. Additionally, the relative homogeneity of Utah's population makes it an ideal laboratory for studies of population genetics. The population tends to volunteer for genetic testing in high numbers. The University is home to the Genetic Science Learning Center. In addition, University of Utah faculty member Mario Cappechi has made significant contributions to the field by developing a gene knockout technique that functions even in higher organisms.

The University suffered some embarrassment in 1989 as the result of its then-chair of chemistry (Stanley Pons) and Martin Fleischmann (visiting from the University of Southampton) purportedly discovering cold fusion, which was swiftly discredited by the nuclear physics community.

The university suffers from some inherent problems associated with its urban location. Some consider the University a "commuter campus" as many students commute from all over the Salt Lake Valley and from Davis County to the north and Utah County to the south.


In 2002, the University hosted some Winter Olympic events, including the opening and closing ceremonies. Prior to the events, the University received a facelift that included extensive renovations to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a light rail track leading to downtown Salt Lake City and an array of new student housing (used by the Olympic athletes) at nearby Fort Douglas.


The school's sports teams are called the Utes. There are many "nicknames" for the teams too, as for instance the basketball team is known as the "Runnin' Utes", the football team before the days of political correctness was known as "Runnin' Redskins", and the gymnastics team is known as "the Red Rocks". Utah participates in the NCAA's Division I (Division I-A for football) as part of the Mountain West Conference. The Utah football team went undefeated during the 2004-2005 season and became the first non-BCS (Bowl Championship Series) team to go to a BCS Bowl Game. The Utes, quarterbacked by Alex Smith, who became the top overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, embarassed Pittsburgh 35 - 7 in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1, 2005 and ended its season ranked #4 in the country. The Utah Utes have two major rivalries, both of which are in-state. They meet their primary rivals, the BYU Cougars, in a game called the "Holy War." Utah also battles Utah State University for the Beehive Boot, a traveling trophy.


As many large public schools do, the University of Utah hosts several public broadcasting entities.

  1. a television station, KUED-TV, Channel 7, the state's main PBS member station and producer of local documentaries;
  2. and a public radio station, KUER-FM 90.1, an NPR member station.
  3. Also, KULC-Channel 9, a resource for teachers and lifelong learners is operated from the U. campus by the Utah Education Network, a statewide partnership of public and higher education.
  4. Also a very small student station, KUTE

Daily Utah Chronicle

The Daily Utah Chronicle is the U's student-run paper. It publishes daily on most school days during fall and spring semesters, and tri-weekly during summer semester. In the early 2000s administration threatened to place the paper under a faculty advisor due to complaints of anti-Mormonism and religiously-themed comics deemed in poor taste. However, the paper remains independent.

The Daily Utah Chronicle is typically about eight pages with longer editions for weekend game-guide editions. The paper is a broadsheet and usually features full-color printing on the front page because of an arrangement to use Newspaper Agency Corporation printing facilities, a deal brokered by The Salt Lake Tribune and intended to inspire journalism mentoring.

The "Daily Utah Chronicle" was recently selected as the top newspaper in its region by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Famous Alumni

See also

External links

Template:Mountain West Conference Template:Salt Lake City


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