The University of Akron
Former names
Buchtel College (1870–1913)
Municipal University of Akron (1913–1966)[1]
MottoFiat Lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Let there be light
TypePublic research university
Established1870; 154 years ago (1870)
Parent institution
University System of Ohio
Academic affiliations
Endowment$235.3 million (2020)[2]
PresidentRobert J. Nemer
Academic staff
1,032 (2022) [3]
Undergraduates10,279 (2023) [4]
Postgraduates2,070 (2023) [4]
Location, ,
United States

41°04′31″N 81°30′41″W / 41.0752°N 81.5115°W / 41.0752; -81.5115
CampusUrban, 218 acres (0.88 km2)
ColorsBlue & gold[5]
Sporting affiliations
MascotZippy the Kangaroo

The University of Akron is a public research university in Akron, Ohio, United States. It is part of the University System of Ohio.[6] As a STEM-focused institution, it focuses on industries such as polymers, advanced materials, and engineering.[7] It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[8]

The University of Akron offers about 200 undergraduate[9] and more than 100 graduate majors[10] and has an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students. The university's School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is housed in a 12-story reflective glass building near downtown Akron on the western edge of the main campus. UA's Archives of the History of American Psychology[11] is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The university has three branch campuses: Wayne College in Orrville, Ohio; the Medina County University Center, in Lafayette Township, Ohio; and UA Lakewood, in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio. In addition, the university hosts nursing programs in affiliation with Lorain County Community College.[12]


John R. Buchtel, in front of Buchtel Hall

Buchtel College

In 1867, at the annual convention of the Universalist Church of the state of Ohio, the Committee on Education expressed an interest in founding a college compatible with Universalist religious principles. It was announced that the location would be given to those who could find an appropriate location and also supply $60,000 for the college. John R. Buchtel, a prominent Akron businessman and Universalist, promptly contributed $25,000 to the endowment fund and $6,000 to the building fund. This led other Akronites to donate, setting the goal and securing Akron as the location for Buchtel College, named after its greatest supporter. John R. Buchtel continued to be the college's most significant contributor, giving $500,000 over his lifetime, approximately equivalent to $16 million today. When the university opened in 1872 it was a single-building campus, housed in what is now known as "Old Buchtel." George Washington Crouse donated $10,000 of the $20,000 needed to build a new gymnasium, completed in 1888. It was named Crouse Gymnasium in his honor, and was known as "the finest gym west of the Alleghenies."[13]

Tragedy struck the small college on December 20, 1899, when Old Buchtel burned to the ground. Insurance only covered $65,000 of the estimated $100,000 in loss. While new campus buildings were being constructed, the Crouse Gymnasium was divided into seven classrooms and served as the college until a new Buchtel Hall was opened in 1901. The new Buchtel Hall, which itself was gutted by fire in 1971, survives to this day but had some blackening on the exterior up until a 2011 restoration.

20th century

In 1907, the college shed its Universalist affiliation and became a non-denominational institution, in order to be able to receive funds from the Carnegie Foundation, which would not give funds to religiously affiliated schools.[citation needed] In 1913, Buchtel College trustees transferred the institution and its assets to the city of Akron, and Buchtel College became the Municipal University of Akron. At this time, the enrollment was 198 students. Tax money levied for the school and Akron's growing population led to strong growth for the university. Over the next several decades the university continued to add new buildings to accommodate its growing student population, acquiring more land through purchases and donations. In 1963, Governor Jim Rhodes approved the university as a state-assisted institution. Enrollment in 1964 was 10,000 students. In 1967, it fully became a state university, providing its current name as The University of Akron. In 2015, 25,117 students were enrolled at the University of Akron.

Construction, dropping enrollment, and lay-offs

University of Akron's student union at night

During the tenure (1999-2014) of its 15th president, Luis M. Proenza, the University of Akron underwent a $627 million construction project, called "A New Landscape for Learning."[14] A new football stadium, InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, was also constructed on campus. The new stadium opened for its first game on September 12, 2009.[15] The stadium replaced the Rubber Bowl, which is 3 miles (4.8 km) from campus and was built in 1940.

The university purchased the Quaker Square Crowne Plaza Hotel and shopping complex and uses it as a residence hall space. The university did a land-swap with the city of Akron so that the city may find a new downtown hotel. This means the University of Akron campus is made up of 82 buildings on 222 acres (0.90 km2) near downtown Akron with a total property value of $1.84 billion.[16][17]

In 2015, the university eliminated over 200 positions as the result of a $6 million budget deficit. Subsequently, in May 2016, Moody's Investors Service, downrated the university's bonds from stable to negative, because of low enrollment and high debts and pension burdens.[18] Moody's upgraded the university's outlook to stable in 2018, citing improved enrollment, rising donations and steps to reduce expenses.[19] Still, between 2011 and 2020 the university's enrollment went down almost 40 percent,[20] from 25,190 in 2011 to 15,385 in 2020.[21]

On October 1, 2019, Gary Miller became Akron's 18th president; formerly the chancellor of University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, he was given a five-year contract with a base salary of $475,000, with an annual $25,000 in a deferred compensation plan, monthly stipends of $3,500 and $750 for housing and a car, and $36,000 for moving expenses.[22] In May 2020, president Miller announced that the university will consolidate its eleven academic colleges into five due to budget issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic;[23] the cut is meant to reduce administrative costs, and "the plan does not cut or change any degree program offerings."[24] The "redesign", as Miller called it, was termed a "bloodbath" by the faculty union president, and would eliminate "97 full-time professors out of about 570"; the union commented that "names were selected regardless of rank or tenure status".[25] One study suggested that "women and professors of color were laid off at a disproportionate rate".[20] After earlier layoffs and faculty taking early retirement, that added up to a loss of almost a quarter of the university's faculty since the start of the pandemic.[26] The university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors had advocated the university also consider cuts to athletics and leave NCAA Division I,[25] which had lost $215 million during that decade,[27] but the university said it would cut only $4.4 million from athletics.[25] The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in August 2022 that thirty-six of the professors who had been fired were hired back by the university, but as adjuncts, with a similar workload and lower pay--in one case, at $18,000 a year, one-third of their former salary.[20] In 2021, the Board of Trustees extended President Miller's contract, praising him for "consistent and decisive leadership". They increased the annual deferred compensation to $40,000, promised additional bonuses for 2025-2027 for a total of $107,000 if he remained on the job, and increased his housing and car stipends to $4,000 and $1,000, respectively.[28]

Relationship with tire and rubber industry

The tire and rubber industry and the University of Akron have an overlapping history. Historically, several rubber corporations, such as Goodyear, Firestone, General Tire and Rubber Company, and Goodrich, had their headquarters in Akron. In 1909, the world's first courses in rubber chemistry were offered at the university. The university is also credited with featuring the first College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering in the world, which was founded in 1988.[citation needed]


Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[29]361
Washington Monthly[30]434
WSJ/College Pulse[31]> 600
ARWU[32]Not Ranked
U.S. News & World Report[33]1,072

The University of Akron offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, ranging from certificate to doctoral programs. The largest college of the university is the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. Bierce Library is the main campus library. It is named for Lucius Bierce, a Civil War era General, whose personal library constituted the first collection of the University Libraries.[34]

Academic divisions

E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall on campus.

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


Statue of Simon Perkins in front of the College of Business.

The university offers about 200 undergraduate majors. In conjunction with the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), the university offers an Early Assurance Pathway to the NEOMED MD program.[35] The University of Akron is also the first and only university in the nation to offer a baccalaureate program in corrosion engineering.[36]

Williams Honors College

The University of Akron Honors College students earn degrees from any of the four-year accredited colleges in the university while receiving special advisement and having the opportunity to live in the Honors Complex, a resident hall exclusively for honors students. The university announced on February 3, 2016, that the college was renamed in honor of Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams.[37]


The University of Akron currently offers more than 105 graduate degrees to approximately 2,000 graduate students.[38] The graduate schools at the University of Akron variously offer the Master's degree, PhD, J.D., and LL.M., among others. The Cleveland Clinic and University of Akron have formed the Integrated Bioscience Fellowship in Biomedicine. Fellowships will allow students to conduct cutting-edge research at the University of Akron and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute while pursuing a PhD in Integrated Bioscience. Recipients of Fellowships will be able to work with faculty at both institutions.[39]


The University of Akron School of Law was founded in 1921 as Akron Law School and became affiliated with the university in 1959, becoming fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1961.[40] It has both day and evening full-time and part-time programs that lead to the J.D. and LL.M. The University of Akron School of Law is also one of only 22 institutions in America to offer the LL.M. in intellectual property, and one of two such programs in Ohio.[41]


Goodyear Polymer Center

Goodyear Polymer Center

The Goodyear Polymer Center (commonly referred to as "the polymer building"), is a 146,000 sq. ft. research facility, located at the university. Built by Richard Fleischman & Associates and completed in 1991, the center comprises two 12-story and nine-story towers connected by glass-enclosed walkways that serve as areas for informal interaction. It is the 8th tallest building in Akron. It contains eight large polymer synthesis groups, computer simulation and modeling capabilities, a microscopy suite, molecular and morphological characterization labs, surface analysis facilities, and thermal analysis and mechanical properties testing equipment.[42]

The Goodyear Polymer Center houses both the Department of Polymer Science and the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. The building houses classrooms, approximately 60 labs, 20 faculty offices, and 25 offices with 200 modules arranged in clusters for students and researchers. It contains the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center, the Paul J. Flory Reading Room, The International Rubber Science Hall of Fame portrait gallery, The Applied Polymer Research Center, and the 213-seat Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Auditorium.[43]

Other facilities


The Akron Zips 2009 home opener against Morgan State.

Main article: Akron Zips

The University of Akron's athletic teams are known as the "Zips," originally short for "Zippers," overshoes with zippers made in the 1920s and 1930s. The university's mascot is "Zippy," a kangaroo.[45] Zippy is one of eight female college mascots in the United States. Zippy won the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year in 2007.[46]

Akron facilities include InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field, the James A. Rhodes Arena, and the FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.

In football, Akron's major rivalry is with Kent State Golden Flashes. In 2005, the Akron Zips football team won their first MAC championship, allowing them to compete for the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I-A bowl game appearance where they lost to the Memphis Tigers.

In soccer, the Akron Zips men's soccer team, ranked number one throughout the 2009 regular season, went undefeated, making it to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship. The following season they secured the 2010 "College Cup" against the Louisville Cardinals. This was the first NCAA national team championship won by the Akron Zips.[47]

In 2009, the men's basketball team won the MAC Tournament title, defeating Buffalo in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena 65–53, thus qualifying Akron for its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1986 and first as a MAC member.[48] In 2010, the team reached the MAC Tournament Championship game for the fourth straight year, but lost in overtime.[49] The Zips played in the postseason CBI tournament where they lost to Wisconsin–Green Bay 70–66.[50] In 2022, the Zips defeated rival Kent State in the 2022 MAC men's basketball tournament championship to earn a spot in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, their fourth MAC tournament title overall and first title and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013.

Greek life

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[51] Total
White 75% 75
Black 11% 11
Other[a] 5% 5
Hispanic 3% 3
Asian 3% 3
Foreign national 2% 2
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 38% 38
Affluent[c] 62% 62

The University of Akron has more than twenty fraternities and sororities.

Notable alumni

Main article: List of University of Akron people


Judge Deborah Cook
Congressman Shri Thanedar


See also


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


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  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Common Data Set" (PDF). University of Akron. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Enrollment Data". University of Akron. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
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  13. ^ Old Crouse gym served Akron campus Retrieved September 12, 2010
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