University of Tampa

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The University of Tampa
UT logo notag small web.png
Motto Esse quam videri
Motto in English
To be, rather than to seem to be
Established 1931
Type Private
Endowment $ 21.5 million (2009)[1]
President Ronald L. Vaughn
Students 7,700
Location Tampa, Florida, USA
Campus Urban, 100 acres (0.40 km2)
Colors Red, Black         
Athletics NCAA Division IISSC
Nickname Spartans
Mascot Spartacus
Affiliations IC&UF

The University of Tampa (UT), is a private, co-educational university in Downtown Tampa, Florida, United States. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2006, the University celebrated its 75th anniversary. UT offers over 200 academic programs of study, with 12 master's degree programs in business administration, accounting, finance, education, marketing, instructional design and technology, nursing and creative writing. For the seventh year in a row, UT's Sykes College of Business has been named by The Princeton Review as an outstanding business school for its 2013 edition of Best 296 Business Schools.[3]


UT has approximately 7,000 students from 50 U.S. states.[4] A significant number of students come from northern and northeastern states. Students from Florida make up half of the student body. Over 137 countries are represented within the student body. Sixty-five percent of students live in campus housing.[4]


UT offers 200 degree programs and areas of study for undergraduate and graduate students. The graduate school offers 12 master's degree programs and nine concentrations, and is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). An evening school is also offered for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Classes maintain a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. UT employs no teaching assistants.

Beginning in 2007, the University was re-organized into four colleges: the College of Natural and Health Sciences; the College of Math, Education, and Social Sciences; the College of Business; and the College of Arts & Letters. As of 2006, the graduate school had a separate dean and budget, allowing it to operate independently from the more undergraduate-focused programs.

Some of UT's most popular majors include communication, biology, international business, management, criminology and nursing.

Starting in September of 2015, UT will start offering a new major in Cyber Security.

UT offers a journalism major and minor. The student-run newspaper, The Minaret, has won back-to-back awards as "Florida's Top College Paper". Writers have won numerous awards from the Florida College Press Association. The Minaret was also named a finalist in the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker awards, marking the student paper as one of the top 25 weekly college newspapers in the country.

UT provides graduate programs in the business, education, nursing, fine arts and nonprofit industries. Its business programs includes a MBA with available concentrations in entrepreneurship, finance, information systems management, innovation management, international business, marketing and nonprofit management. Other graduate business degrees include the Master of Science in accounting, finance, marketing, instructional design and technology, nursing and a certificate in nonprofit management. The Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, and the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing are also offered at UT.

UT's undergraduate literary journal, Neon (originally Quilt), has been published by students since 1978.[5] Neon hosts numerous events throughout the academic year, particularly open mic nights, which are open to the public. Yearly, Neon hosts a prominent writer for "Coffeehouse Weekend"; recent visitors have included Kate Greenstreet and Dorothy Allison.

To aid students in the pursuit of a degree, the University offers several learning communities. The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) provides students with free tutoring in a variety of subjects by students who have passed the relevant classes with an A grade and also have passed a rigorous competency exam in their chosen tutoring area. The Saunders Writing Center provides students with a free tutoring service for writing documents ranging from research papers to resumes. UT was one of the first schools to implement a two-semester freshman orientation program. These “Gateways” classes are taught by UT professors, who volunteer an hour each week, covering topics from time management and study tips to the history of UT and the Tampa Bay area. In addition, each student's Gateways professor helps with scheduling second- and third-semester courses, and selecting a personal academic advisor, also a professor, for guidance throughout college.

UT also offers a host of international study-abroad options led by UT professors. The University is an associate member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).

The University of Tampa has an Honors Program which "allows students to go beyond the classroom and regular course work to study one-on-one with faculty through enrichment tutorials, Honors Abroad, internships, research and classroom-to-community outreach."[6]

The University of Tampa retains several recognition and rankings from different sources. It is included in Forbes' 2012 fifth annual ranking of America's Best Colleges; in Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians, and Writers (2008) where it is one of seven universities in the Southeast for its creative writing program; the Sykes College of Business has been named by The Princeton Review as an outstanding business school for the seventh year in a row- and one of the 296 best business schools in the world, as well as the MBA Marketing program listed as one of the top 15 programs in the country; in 2010 the National Council of State Boards of Nursing named UT a No. 1 nursing program in the country based on UT students' success on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). One-hundred percent of UT's 2009 and 2010 classes of nursing graduates passed the NCLEX-RN on the first try; the Sykes College of Business was ranked 47th in the category of "Excellent Business Schools" in the U.S. in the Eduniversal Worldwide Business Schools Ranking 2011; for four straight years, UT has been named to the President's Service Honor Roll, sponsored by The Corporation for National and Community Service, for its work on service-learning programs and volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff; U.S. News & World Report has ranked UT in the top tier in the category Universities–Master's (South), the Sykes College of Business as the 215th "Best Business School," the part-time MBA in the 2012 edition of "Best Business Schools," and one of 10 "Best Colleges to Avoid Winter;" the Sykes College of Business is one of only 19 private schools in the Southeast accredited at both the graduate and undergraduate levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International); UT's Management Information Systems (MIS) major is one of only 38 nationwide with an Information Systems accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET; and in 2011, UT's applied sociology concentration received formal accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS).

UT has also received – and maintains – accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, Florida Board of Nursing, Florida Department of Education, National Association of Schools of Music, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS), American Chemical Society, American Alliance of Museums and the Florida State Approving Agency for Veterans' Training.


UT's Athletic Logo.

The University of Tampa competes at the NCAA Division-II level in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC), and its athletic program is recognized as one of the premier programs nationwide in Division-II. UT is also among the top schools in the SSC in the number of student-athletes named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll. The school's mascot is the Spartan.

Spartan teams have won a combined total of 14 NCAA Division–II National Titles, as follows: six in Baseball (1992, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2007 and 2013), three in Men's Soccer (1981, 1994 and 2001), two in Golf (1987 and 1988), two in Volleyball (2006 and 2014), and one in Women's Soccer (2007).

UT presently competes in Baseball, Volleyball, Softball, Men and Women's Basketball, Men and Women's Soccer, Men and Women's Golf, Men's and Women's Swimming, Men and Women's Cross Country & Track, Women's Rowing, Women's Tennis, Men's Lacrosse and, starting in Spring 2014, Women's Lacrosse. The school has recently built dedicated stadiums for baseball, softball, soccer, track and lacrosse that rival many Division-I facilities.


Plant Hall – UT's main building – is heavily steeped in Moorish influences, and serves as a leading example of Moorish Revival architecture in the southeastern United States. Plant Hall also serves as a focal point of downtown Tampa, and is a local landmark. The school's newspaper is named The Minaret, a reference to the spires adorning Plant Hall. Formerly the old Tampa Bay Hotel, Plant Hall is a National Historic Landmark built in 1891 by Henry B. Plant. In addition to serving as the main location of classrooms and faculty and administrative offices, the building also houses the Henry B. Plant Museum dedicated to the hotel's glory days. The museum regularly holds special exhibits, often highlighting the late-19th century, and admission is free for all students. The campus also includes the former McKay Auditorium, built in the 1920s and remodeled in the late 1990s to become the John H. Sykes College of Business.

The UT campus is relatively small for a school with over 7,700 students. On its east side is the Hillsborough River, and Kennedy Boulevard is to the south. Recent expansions have seen the campus grounds move northward and eastward following purchases of sections of Tampa Preparatory School and vacant lots across the east-side railroad tracks.

The Babson Anti-Gravity Rock

Although the University is located in a major metropolitan area, palm trees, stately oaks, rose bushes, and azaleas can be found in abundance on campus. UT's grounds include Plant Park. The park is a landscaped, palm-tree-lined, riverside area in front of Plant Hall's main entrance. It is open to students and Tampa residents at all hours, and features cannons from Tampa's original harbor fort and the Sticks of Fire, a large sculpture that serves as a gathering place for many campus organizations. Banana trees and majestic oaks are scattered throughout the park. It also is home to the oak tree under which Hernando de Soto supposedly met the chief of the local Native-American tribes upon first coming ashore at what is now Tampa. Finally, the campus includes the location of the former Florida State Fair grounds, where legend has it that Babe Ruth hit a home run of 630 feet (190 m), the longest of his career. The Fairgrounds now house the Campus's soccer stadium, intramural fields, two dorms, and will soon have a Student Chapel.

UT is also one of few schools with an anti-gravity monument from Roger Babson's Gravity Research Foundation. The "Anti-Gravity Rock", as its commonly referred to, is located on the crosswalk between the College of Business parking lot and the Macdonald-Kelce Library, at the very end of the Science wing of Plant Hall. The stone's location is somewhat ironic, yet appropriate, given that Babson's scientific views were shared by few if any scientists.

Residence halls[edit]

About 65% of full-time UT students live on the university's main campus. UT is known among its students and visitors as having some of the better residence halls in the region. All but three of the eleven on-campus residence halls have been built since 1998, with one just completed in 2006, another completed in fall 2007 and the most recent completed in fall 2013. All residence halls are co-ed and wired for broadband Internet access and cable television. Two dorms, Straz Hall and Rescom, offer apartment-style living with each student having a private room but sharing a bathroom, kitchen, and common area with three others. Five dorms, Smiley, McKay Hall, Boathouse, Austin Hall, and Vaughn Center, offer more-traditional dormitory arrangements, with two or three students in a connected suite sharing bathroom and open living areas. Three halls, Brevard, Frank and Carol Morsani Hall and West Kennedy Hall, currently offer a hybrid package with students sharing a common area but without a kitchen. A small room sleeps one or two students and opens into a common area and restroom area with another small room. Finally, Urso hall provides students with what is essentially a studio apartment, a private suite consisting of a bed, closet, kitchenette, and restroom. Every residence hall also offers a small assortment of private single rooms.

The Howard Johnson Plaza hotel, located about 1 mile (1.6 km) from campus, also houses some students due to the university's rapid growth.[7] Two students typically stay in each room, which is equipped with two double beds, a bathroom, and closet space. The university's wireless internet is available, along with cable television. A shuttle bus provides transportation to/from campus, or students can take the 15–20 minute walk. On January 26, 2012, The University of Tampa announced it would begin construction immediately on a new 11-story state of the art residence hall, West Kennedy Hall, capable of holding 563 students. The $38 million, 193,000 square-foot hall is slated to be completed in August 2013 and is built to move the students from the Howard Johnson Plaza hotel on to the campus.[8]

Student dining[edit]

Vaughn Center also serves as the campus student union. UT in all has 26 unique dining locations. Located on the first two floors of Vaughn is a full-service cafeteria called the "Caf" by students, with multiple dining stations, each with a particular style of cooking. Also in Vaughn is a large two story dining area and lobby that offers an Internet cafe and the Spartan Club. This area is collectively known to the students as simply "The Grill", which includes a fast food grill, a Chick-fil-A, a salad shop, an Einstein Bros. Bagels and a Cuban Sandwich Shop; The Spartan club located on the second floor overlooking the Grill features pool tables and arcade games. The club and grill has music chosen by students playing at all times and also features several TVs and a big screen projector. Also on the second floor of Vaughn Center a full theater can be found where movies are shown every Friday night, and which hosts student government meetings on Tuesdays. All student-related offices are also located on the second floor, such as those for Student Activities, Student Government, and Greek Life. Finally, the second floor of Vaughn Center has a full-service commuter lounge with a big-screen TV, lockers, and desks.

Other UT dining options include a Boar's Head Deli. The Rathskeller or the "Rat" is an old-style pub located in the basement of Plant Hall.

Frank and Carol Morsani Hall offers another higher end option to the student union in Vaughn. Most of the same style of foods are offered as the ones in Vaughn but with a premium upscale format. Morsani Hall dining contains a Dairy Queen/Orange Julius, a tex-mex style restaurant and grill called Salsa Rico, a convenience store stocked only with premium and gourmet brands, a coffee shop called Jazzman's, a new and somewhat novel dining establishment called Pandini's that offers premium Italian dining options, and a sit-down restaurant called the Panache, which serves in both buffet style and a reservations format in which students can sit and be waited on by professional servers.


UT has about thirty computer labs and about seventy wireless zones around campus. The John Sykes College of Business, in addition to housing a computer lab, has a Stock Market Lab, equipped with terminals and plasma screen TVs for teaching finance majors the intricacies of the stock market. The College of Natural and Health Sciences maintains a remote Marine Science Research Center on Tampa Bay with extensive equipment including research vessels, used by students and faculty for studying the delicate balance of nature in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Macdonald-Kelce Library at the University of Tampa has more than 275,000 books and 1,600 periodicals, reference materials, government documents, audio-visual tapes, CDs and records, Media Services equipment and support, and special collections, including: Florida military materials, old and rare books, and local history and UT archives. The library also offers reference assistance and bibliographic instruction, interlibrary loans and reserve materials, computer labs, and study rooms.[9]

For student recreation there is an on-campus aquatic center with an Olympic-size pool and a deep swimming section for scuba classes, all open to students at various times. For drier recreation, the UT campus offers sand volleyball, outdoor basketball courts, a fully equipped intramural sports gym with indoor courts, intramural softball fields, tennis courts, a ropes course, a soccer field, a running track, intramural baseball fields, a multi-use intramural field, and a fully equipped workout center that underwent a major renovation in 2005. Also on campus primarily for athlete use is a 600 seat baseball stadium.

The University of Tampa Theater Department also hosts student produced and acted plays across Kennedy Blvd. in the Falk Theater. Falk also hosts large academic gatherings, student productions and music shows and freshman convocation. In 2003 Falk theater was featured as a setting in the film The Punisher. New Security was added to the theater and students are not allowed in the building without a code.

It was announced in May 2008 that the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values would be built using funds from a donation by longtime UT benefactor John H. Sykes. The non-denominational building is scheduled to be completed by Fall of 2009 and will stand where the old fairground buildings were located across from Brevard Hall. The 12,750-square-foot (1,185 m2), 65-foot (20 m) vaulted ceiling, east-west oriented facility will include a 250-seat main hall, meeting and meditation rooms, pipe organ, a plaza and 60-bell musical sculpture/fountain.[10]

The Bob Martinez Athletics Center received substantial upgrades during recent improvements throughout the university. [1]

Fraternities and sororities[edit]

Dome of Plant Hall's Fletcher Lounge.

UT has a vibrant and thriving community of sororities and fraternities, currently overseen by a Director of Greek Life. The history of UT and its Greeks is a somewhat contentious one. The first Greek groups appeared on campus in the early 1950s and by the 1970s they had developed a thriving culture that included the tradition of having a rock on campus with the organizations' letters on it. However, by the late-1970s all Greeks were removed from UT and all Greek housing was destroyed or converted for other uses. In fact, the City of Tampa, with the University's support, even went so far as to pass a law banning more than three unrelated people of the same sex living together. This was an attempt to stamp out UT Greek life, and the ban remains in place.

Despite these obstacles, Greeks resurged on campus in the mid-1980s. Many UT students formed local Greek groups developing traditions and rituals anew. After these homegrown groups had established a campus presence, many lobbied national organizations, particularly those on campus before the ban, to assimilate them. In this way, Greek life returned to UT and with many of the same fraternities and sororities of the past. The University of Tampa's fraternity and sorority community consists of a diverse group of men and women within nine fraternities and eight sororities. There are five Interfraternity Conference fraternities, and six National Panhellenic Conference sororities. There are also three National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities and two National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities, and one sorority and one fraternity representing the Multi-Cultural Greek Council. There are two National Interfraternity Music Council fraternities and also various professional Greek Letter organizations and honor societies depending on a student's discipline.


The University of Tampa was established by Frederic Spaulding in 1931 as Tampa Junior College, and was founded to serve as an institution of higher education for Florida's west coast. In 1933 UT moved to its current location, the then defunct Tampa Bay Hotel. With the move, and the additional room it provided, Mr. Spaulding decided to expand the scope of the junior college to a full university and the University of Tampa was born. In 1941 the city of Tampa signed a 99 year lease on the hotel with the school for a dollar a year. The lease excluded the south east wing of the hotel to allow for the housing of the Henry B. Plant Museum. The University prospered for the next few decades, becoming a well-respected institution of learning in the Tampa Bay area. In 1951 the University received full SACS accreditation.

However, in the early 1990s financial troubles hit the school. The University incurred consecutive years of budget deficits as a result of declining student enrollment. The University's President resigned, faculty left for better opportunities, and the University faced an uncertain future.

In 1995, the Board of Trustees elected a new president to lead the school out of its troubles and prevent bankruptcy. Ronald Vaughn, who was then Dean of the College of Business, was selected to bring the school out of the red. His initial efforts were aimed at bringing the campus up-to-date with new dorms and a major renovation to the business school. Once these projects were underway, Dr. Vaughn launched the "Take UT to the Top" campaign. This major financial initiative aimed to return the University to financial stability, and then to raise the University's profile to that of an elite school. The project focused on fundraising in the alumni community and among the business people of the Tampa Bay area, who so heavily rely on UT graduates.

The "Take UT to the Top" campaign's goal was to raise 70 million dollars in 10 years, and to restore the University's endowment. By the time the campaign ended, UT had raised 83 million dollars. A major reason for this success was the generous contributions of the John H Sykes family of Tampa, Florida. A gift of $10-million by the family in 1997 was followed by one for $28-million in 2000,[11] thought to be the largest such gift to a Florida university at the time. These generous gifts were all the more impressive since no one in the Sykes family had ever attended the University of Tampa.

The additional funds raised by the financial campaign have been used to purchase new land and to implement a faster-paced building program. They also have been used to hire additional faculty, permitting the university to expand its student body's size and still maintain a 15:1 student-to-professor ratio. For his efforts in rescuing the university and increasing enrollment, Vaughn has been rewarded with a salary that is in the top 10 of mid-sized, private institutions.

President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit the campus on January 28, 2010.[12]

Notable alumni and attendees[edit]

The University of Tampa has produced notable alumni over the years. They include Dick Greco, former Mayor of Tampa; noted educator Braulio Alonso; Pete Peterson, former U.S. Representative and Ambassador; former Secretary of the Interior of Mexico Juan Camilo Mouriño; actress and wrestler (Chyna) Joan Laurer; professional wrestler Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff; recording artist (Mikee Plastik) Michael Scott Hollash; authors Dennis James Kennedy and Connie May Fowler; author Amy Hill Hearth; National Football League players Freddie Solomon, Leon McQuay, and player/actor John Matuszak; and Major League Baseball players Tino Martinez and Lou Piniella.

Bob Martinez 40th Governor of Florida received a Bachelors from the University of Tampa.

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich attended UT for two years. In 2008, his older brother Rob, a UT alumnus,[13] delivered the May commencement speech, telling graduates that it's not what you know, but rather whom you know, that will get you ahead in life.

Frederick Ward Humphries II FBI Special Agent known for disrupting a plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport and known as the source that publicized the Petraeus Scandal

Rielle Hunter attended the University of Tampa under the name Lisa Jo Druck.[14] Hunter had an affair with former presidential candidate John Edwards, who recently admitted to fathering one of Hunter's children.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was awarded a Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree after providing the class of 2009 commencement address.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2009 Endowment" Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  2. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "University of Tampa – University Profile". (1969-10-19). Retrieved on 2014-08-13.
  5. ^ "Quilt Literary & Arts Journal". Quilt Literary & Arts Journal. University of Tampa. 
  6. ^ The University of Tampa – Honors Program. Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  7. ^ University of Tampa residence halls, retrieved July 19, 2012
  8. ^ The University of Tampa – News – UT to Break Ground on New Residence Hall. (2012-01-26). Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  9. ^ "University of Tampa – Macdonald-Kelce Library". (1969-10-19). Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  10. ^ University of Tampa Sykes Chapel. Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  11. ^ Linda Gibson (2000). "University of Tampa lands $28-million gift". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  12. ^ Obama Rocks UT. (2010-01-28). Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  13. ^ John W. Allman (2008). "Illinois Governor Attended University Of Tampa In 1970s". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  14. ^ Weisensee, Nicole. (2008-08-14) The Edwards Affair: The Mysterious Other Woman, Rielle Hunter – Scandals & Feuds, Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards. Retrieved on 2012-05-08.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°56′50″N 82°27′55″W / 27.947156°N 82.465353°W / 27.947156; -82.465353