The Union Pacific Railroad brought people to Laramie and put it on the map in its early years but the University of Wyoming would add to that presence. Founded in 1886 as a land-grant university, the University of Wyoming opened its doors the following year while Wyoming was still a territory. From there, the university began its decades long history of teaching those in the West and anyone else that ventured to Wyoming to pursue an education.
The first class in September 1887 included 42 students, both men and women. These students were taught by 5 faculty members in the classrooms of Old Main. Originally built on the outskirts of Laramie in the city park, Old Main served as home for classes, the library, and administrative offices during UW’s early days.
With the university’s first president, John Wesley Hoyt, a curriculum of arts and humanities was created for both a graduate and normal school. Through the requirements of the land-grant act that had established the university, classes of agriculture, engineering, and military tactics augmented the curriculum established by the president.
Various other curricula of sciences and other disciplines as well as organizations like ROTC, athletics, and numerous other clubs and entities have grown out of the humble beginnings of the University of Wyoming. The university now is home to thousands of students and over 700 faculty members and continues to grow.
Our exhibit on The University of Wyoming is on display from September 4 to 17 in the 4th floor reading room.
-Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department