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University of West Florida
University of West Florida Seal
Established 1963
Type Public
Space grant
Endowment $47.4 million[1]
President Dr. Judith A. Bense
Faculty 374
Students 11,200[2]
Location Pensacola, Florida, United States United States
Campus 1,600 acres (6.5 km²)
Athletics NCAA Division II
Colors Blue and Green          
Nickname Argonauts
Mascot Argie the Argonaut[3]
Affiliations AACSB, SACS, SUSF, GSC

The University of West Florida, also known as West Florida and UWF, is a mid-sized public university located in Pensacola, Florida, United States. UWF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida. The University of West Florida is a Doctoral/Research University, which specializes in engineering and the humanities. UWF is a space-grant institution that was established in 1955. The University of West Florida sits on the third largest campus in the Florida University System, 1600 acres, and its campus is a natural preserve that is bordered by two rivers and Escambia Bay. The University of West Florida is an exceptionally progressive university in terms of technology and environmental policy, as exemplified by their investment in the BEST house and their investments in solar powered student housing. The University of West Florida is known for its small class sizes and its intimate, private school like educational atmosphere, which distinguishes it from the larger universities in the State University System.[4] The university's mascot is an Argonaut, and the school's logo is the Chambered Nautilus.



Foliage at UWF
The entrance of the John C. Pace library

In 1955, the Florida Legislature authorized the State Board of Education to locate a state university in Escambia County. Following a feasibility study which demonstrated the need for an institution of higher education in Northwest Florida, funds were allocated for the development of the University of West Florida. The founding President was Harold Crosby. UWF became the sixth state university of the State University System of Florida, which today consists of eleven institutions of higher learning.

Ground was broken on April 16, 1965, and in the same year the Chambered Nautilus was adopted as the official UWF emblem. The initial building program, consisted of an administration classroom complex, library, Commons building, science complex, humanities building, audiovisual facility, utilities building and 15 student housing buildings accommodating approximately 500 resident students. Current facilities at UWF include: 35 academic buildings, 21 student services facilities, 25 dormitories, two university village student apartment complexes and 20 plant support facilities. In 1997, 600 acres (2.4 km2) additional were acquired which brought the Pensacola campus to 1,600 acres (6.5 km2), the second largest main campus in the State University System.

Initially, the university was organized in three resident or cluster colleges: Alpha, Gamma and Omega. Not only were academic disciplines assigned to these colleges, but student government, cultural programs and other activities were conducted within the colleges. UWF was originally an upper-level institution enrolling juniors, seniors, and graduate students. The first students began classes in the fall of 1967, and the first commencement exercises were held in June 1968 where 58 students received degrees. In 1969, the university undergraduate programs were accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the first master's degree programs were established.

In July 1979, the university organized in a more traditional structure by establishing three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business and Education. Following authorization by the Florida Legislature, a lower division was established, and freshmen attended the university for the first time in the fall semester of 1983, boosting enrollment from 5,200 students to 5,920 students.

In July 1988, Computer Science, a department within the College of Business, was identified as the Division of Computer Science as a stand alone and plans were begun to incorporate it into a fourth college, the College of Science and Technology. That decision was later reversed and computer science was moved to the School of Computer Science and Engineering within the College of Arts and Sciences. During the fall term of 1999, the colleges reorganized as the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Professional Studies.


A 1965 edition of the Pensacola Journal announcing the beginning of UWF. It is located on the bottom floor of the library.
The Tivoli House, one of UWF's historic properties.

Main campuses

The main campus of 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of rolling hills and natural woodland along the Escambia River is ten miles (16 km) north of downtown Pensacola, Florida. Its facilities have been designed to complement the natural forest and waterways. On the main campus can be found the John C. Pace Library. It is the largest library in the Northwest Florida area. In addition to the main library on the main campus north of Pensacola, Florida, there is a branch library in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. It has 628,000 printed volumes, 1 million microfilms and microfiches, 3,000 serial subscriptions and nearly 2,000 online journal subscriptions.[5] It is the only University Library in the United States, serving a population of over 10,000 students, that closes its doors at 10:00pm. UWF shares a branch campus in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., with Okaloosa-Walton College, and has several centers and sites where academic programs and/or courses are taught. In addition, the University of West Florida has waterfront property on Santa Rosa Island that is available for recreational, academic, and research pursuits. The University operates the NWFSC/UWF Fort Walton Beach Campus, the Eglin Air Force Base Center and Hurlburt Field.

Online Campus

UWF also maintains an Online Campus with over 400 online course sections and 27 fully online undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs that are available to students anywhere in the world. Acceptance to any of the fully online degree or certificate programs provides an out-of-state tuition waiver that reduces out-of-state tuition to near that of in-state. The Online Campus provides students with an additional way to access education at UWF whether completing courses far away from the campus or selecting to take an online course to round out a semester.{Director, UWF Online Campus, 2010}

Historic Pensacola Village

In 2001, the university acquired West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc, the previously state-controlled group that manages the Historic Pensacola Village. A few years later, John C. Cavanaugh became the fourth president on July 15, 2002. Under his supervision the university has created several classes taught by and/or in conjunction with the staff at Historic Pensacola. The Clara Barkley Dorr House was also appropriated as a downtown home for the institute president.[6]

Administration and organization

The University of West Florida is a public institution, receiving most of its funding through state funds and tuition. A 13-member Board of Trustees governs the University.[7] The undergraduate and graduate programs are divided into three Colleges, with the College of Arts and Sciences being the largest and most complex, followed by the College of Professional Studies, and finally the College of Business.


A watermill at UWF, found outside the Archeology building.
The Dorr House, another historic UWF property. This is the residence of UWF's President.


The University of West Florida is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and Doctor of Education degrees.

Many of UWF's programs of study are also accredited by specific organizations, these are:

  • Business- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Education- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Chemistry- American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Clinical Laboratory Sciences- National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Engineering Technology- Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET)
  • Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science/Athletic Training- Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Education Training (CAATE)
  • Music- National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
  • Nursing- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Psychology- Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council (MPAC)
  • Social Work- Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Legal Studies- Florida Bar Association (FBA)


The 2010 edition of the US News and World Report currently (also in 2008 and in 2009) ranks UWF as a fourth tier post secondary institution in the National Universities category. In 2007 UWF was ranked 56th best in the category Masters Universities - South. In 2006 The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching changed UWF's classification from Master's University to Doctoral/Research University.[8] The University was voted a "Best Southeastern College" by The Princeton Review.[9]

The University of West Florida's Logistics team placed 1st in the Operation Stimulus National Logistics Case Competition in Denver on January 24 and 25. UWF's team, consisting of five marketing/management students, won the nationally recognized award for the first time by overcoming teams from nine other large universities.[10] In 2008, the University of West Florida was selected as one of the Top 60 Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities by Military Advanced Education Magazine.[11]

In 2009, UWF received the American Mock Trial Association Award when its mock trial team defeated The University of Florida, Florida State University, Georgia Tech, and Emory University at the East Coast Regional Tournament.[12]

In 2010, UWF placed first at The Journalism Championship at Southeast Journalism Conference.

Student demographics

Currently, UWF enrolls nearly 11,200 - 11,300 students (2009/2010 AY head count) in its three colleges, and has conferred more than 59,000 associate, bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees.[13] 40% of students are male, and 60% are female. 20% of UWF students are a minority, and 1.6% are international students. 89% of students are Florida residents, and 11% of students are non-Florida residents. The University of West Florida and Jikei College Group in Japan established an educational partnership in 1989. An official agreement was signed in January 1990 in Tokyo by Dr. Morris Marx, President of UWF, and Dr. Kunihiko Ukifune, Chairman and CEO of Jikei College Group. The purpose of the partnership was to provide students, both American and Japanese, with opportunities to learn about each other's country. On September 20, 1994, the office was formally named the Jikei-American Center and continues to be located on the main campus of UWF. The collaboration between UWF and Jikei has set the model for international education.

School of Science and Engineering

Enrollment Breakdown By College 2008[14]
College of Arts and Science 5,429 (51.63%)
College of Business 1,563 (14.86%)
College of Professional Studies 3,524 (33.51%)

In 2009 UWF will have a new multimillion dollar facility. This facility will become home of the new School of Science and Engineering. Some of the programs within the SSE will be: Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics, and Software Engineering.

The building will include prototype robot fabrication and testing laboratories, 3-D virtual reality simulator, and a glass wall atrium that will help put science into public view. This construction is based on Project Kaleidoscope, a national initiative funded project by the National Science Foundation and the Keck Foundation. This collegiate facility will be one of the first of its kind.[15]

Underwater Archeology

The shipwreck, which was discovered last summer in Pensacola Bay by two university students, is the remains of one of the colonization ships of the Tristan de Luna fleet that sank during a hurricane in 1559. The prehistoric sites at which we have conducted the most extensive investigations are an Early Woodland Stage Deptford shell midden on Pensacola Bay known as Hawkshaw (50 B.C.-A.D. 250) and a Middle Woodland Santa Rosa-Swift Creek shell ring on Escambia Bay (A.D. 400-650). UWF has one of the best underwater archaeology programs in the country because Pensacola has such rich, historically significant archaeological sites right in its own backyard. UWF’s graduate and undergraduate students gain hands-on experience that they simply would not have access to in other programs. [16]

Student life

The UWF trolley system is an important mode of transportation for many students.
A view of Martin Hall from Village East.

UWF hosts many opportunities for involvement through student clubs and organizations. Registered student organizations, administered by the University Commons, include: academic clubs, Greek organizations, professional and honor societies, religious organizations and special interest groups. Additionally, UWF own property on Pensacola Beach. The said property is frequently used by students for research and recreation. Because UWF is situated in a wilderness preserve, students may rent canoes, kayaks, and water-ski on Escambia river at their leisure. UWF’s offers numerous mountain bike trails that are located on campus and may be used by students free of charge. The University of West Florida offers its students a wide variety of recreational activities that are located on campus.


Nearly 1,800 students choose to live on campus. UWF offers traditional residence halls, small community residence halls, and University-owned apartment complexes. Single-student housing is also available.[17]

The traditional residence halls are Argo Hall, Martin Hall, and Pace Hall which offer double and triple spaces; the "Southside Villages" offer double and single spaces; student apartments are in University Village Student Apartments-East and University Village Student Apartments-West.

On June 3, 2009 ground was broken in order to build Heritage Hall, a new residence hall at UWF. Heritage Hall will be able to comfortably house around 250 students, and will cost around $12.9 million to build. It will be designed along the lines of a duplex. The new dormitory will be outfitted with solar panels and, during daylight hours, will be powered exclusively by the sun. Construction is scheduled to be complete in Fall of 2010.[18]

One of the great traditions at UWF is the inter-hall competition known as "Battle of the HallStars" which is held every October. The event features student teams from each of the areas competing in various field sports and spirit competitions, each team wears their hall colors to represent spirit and pride.

Greek life

The following Greek letter organizations are represented at UWF:

NIC Fraternities[19] Alpha Tau Omega (AΤΩ) Kappa Alpha Order (ΚA) Sigma Chi (ΣΧ) Sigma Alpha Mu (ΣAM) Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣAE)
NPC Sororities[20] Alpha Gamma Delta (AΓΔ) Alpha Delta Pi (AΔΠ) Alpha Chi Omega (AΧΩ) Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ)
NPHC Greek Life[21] Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Zeta Phi Beta (ZΦB) Delta Sigma Theta (ΔΣθ) Phi Beta Sigma (ФВΣ)
Local Organizations Zeta Psi Eta (ΖΨΗ)

Student media

UWF has a student paper called The Voyager, a TV station, and a radio station WUWF 88.1 FM.


UWF offers a trolley service and public bicycles around campus known as "Yellow Bikes". There is parking for all visitors, students, and employees. Freshmen are allowed to park on campus. Also, students may use the Escambia County Area transit Bus System at a discount rate.


The former athletic logo of the University of West Florida, used prior to Spring 2010.
The current athletic logo of the University of West Florida, used since Spring 2010.

UWF intercollegiate athletics compete in the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference.

Men's intercollegiate sports: Baseball, Soccer, Basketball, Tennis, Cross country, and Golf.

Women's intercollegiate sports: Basketball, Tennis, Cross country, Golf, Softball, Soccer, and Volleyball.


Alma Mater

Where learning's light sends forth its beam
Through darkness of our youth,
There you, West Florida, home of dreams
Prepare the way of truth.
You guide us toward tomorrow's shore
With knowledge of our past;
Your power in us rests secure,
And evermore will last.
Your stately mansions were our home
Where minds and hearts are free
And though we may far from you roam,
We will always honor thee.

Chambered Nautilus

Dr. Harold Crosby, the university’s first president, selected the chambered nautilus to represent UWF because he was inspired by the poem The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes; it is "a symbol of growth, change and accomplishment."[22]

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

Alumni and faculty

Many notable politicians, business professionals, professional athletes, high ranking military officials, and other notable individuals are graduates of the University of West Florida.

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ State of the University Address - PNJ
  3. ^ Get to know the face of UWF
  4. ^
  5. ^ "About the library". Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  6. ^ "Finance, Administration and Audit Committee Minutes - June 17, 2004" (DOC). Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  7. ^ "UWF Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  8. ^ "U.S. News and World Report: National Universities: Tier 4 (2008)". Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  9. ^ "Best Southeastern Colleges by the Princeton Review". Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "American Mock Trial Association Award News". Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  13. ^ "Quick facts". Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  14. ^ 2008 Enrollment by Department
  15. ^ "School of Science and Engineering - UWF". Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  16. ^ "Underwater Archeology- UWF". Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  17. ^ "UWF Housing". Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  18. ^ "PNJ New Housing". Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  19. ^ Interfraternity Council
  20. ^ College Panhellenic Council
  21. ^ National Pan-Hellenic Council
  22. ^ "University of West Florida Logo". UWF Graphic Identity Standards. University of West Florida. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 

External links

Coordinates: 30°32′58″N 87°13′05″W / 30.549493°N 87.21812°W / 30.549493; -87.21812


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