Utah State University
|Utah State University|
|Type||Public research university
|Endowment||US $209.1 million|
|President||Stan L. Albrecht|
|Students||28,796 (all campuses)|
|Location||Logan, Utah, USA|
|Colors||Navy Blue, White and Pewter Grey
|Nickname||Utah State Aggies|
Utah State University (USU) is a public research university located in Logan, Utah. It is a land-grant and space-grant institution and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Founded in 1888 as Utah's agricultural college, USU focused on agriculture, domestic arts, and mechanic arts. The university now offers programs in liberal arts, engineering, business, economics, natural resource sciences, as well as nationally ranked elementary & secondary education programs. The university has eight colleges and offers a total of 176 bachelor's degrees, 97 master's degrees, and 38 doctoral degrees. USU has grown extensively in the 21st century, which has been marked by a successful $400 million fundraising campaign and record levels of enrollment.
USU's main campus is located in Logan with regional campuses in Brigham City, Tooele, and the Uintah Basin. In 2010, the College of Eastern Utah, located in Price, Utah joined the USU system becoming Utah State University College of Eastern Utah (USU Eastern). Throughout Utah, USU operates more than 20 distance education centers. Regional campuses, USU Eastern, and distance education centers provide degrees to more than 40% of the students enrolled. In total, USU has more than 180,000 alumni in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
With more than 16,000 students living on or near campus, USU is the largest public residential campus in Utah.
USU's athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Utah State Aggies. They are currently members of the Western Athletic Conference but will join the Mountain West Conference in summer 2013.
Background and founding 
On December 16, 1861, Justin Morrill (VT) introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives, "to establish at least one college in each state upon a sure and perpetual foundation, accessible to all, but especially to the sons of toil..." President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act into effect in July of the following year.
Meanwhile, after visiting a few rural agricultural schools in his native Denmark, Anthon H. Lund of the Utah Territorial Legislature decided that there existed in Utah a need for such a school fusing the highest in scientific and academic research with agriculture, the way of life for the vast majority of locals. Upon returning to the states, Lund heard about the Morrill Act, and pitched a vision for the college that would receive widespread support among the Territorial Legislature, who was at the time seeking to reapply for statehood. Now there came the question of location. According to historian Joel Ricks in 1938, "Provo had received the Insane Asylum, Salt Lake City had the University and Capitol, and the majority of the legislature felt that the new institutions should be given to Weber and Cache Counties." Citizens in Logan, Cache County, banded together and successfully lobbied representatives for the honor. The bill to establish the Agricultural College of Utah was passed on March 8, 1888, and on September 2, 1890, 14-year-old Miss Vendla Berntson enrolled as its first student.
Consolidation controversies 
In its early years, the college narrowly dodged two major campaigns to consolidate its operations with the University of Utah. Much controversy arose in response to President William J. Kerr's expansion of the college's scope beyond its agricultural roots. Detractors in Salt Lake City feared that such an expansion would come at the expense of the University of Utah, and pushed consolidation as a counter.
In 1907, an agreement was struck to instead limit the curricula of the Agricultural College strictly to agriculture, domestic science, and mechanic arts. This meant closing all departments in Logan, including the already-impressive music department, which did not fall under that umbrella. Consequently, the University of Utah became solely responsible, for a time, for courses in engineering, law, medicine, fine arts, and pedagogy, despite the Agricultural College's initial charter in 1888 which mandated that it offer instruction in such things. The bulk of the curricular restrictions were lifted over the next two decades, with the exception of law and medicine, which have since remained the sole property of the University of Utah.
Widespread growth 
Amid the tumult, the Agricultural College grew modestly, adding its statewide Extension program in 1914. A year later, the first master's degrees were awarded. UAC, as it was commonly abbreviated, also received a notable boost as a direct result of World War I. Colleges and universities nationwide were temporarily transformed into training grounds for the short-lived Student Army Training Corps, composed of students who received military instruction and could then return to their educations following their military service. As the then-tiny campus could not otherwise support such large numbers of new students, college president Elmer Peterson convinced the state in 1918 to appropriate funds for permanent brick buildings, which could be used as barracks for SATC students during the war, and instruction afterward. Though the war was soon to end, the campus essentially doubled in size.
The 1920s and 1930s saw the genesis of major growth. A School of Education was added in 1928, a prelude to the institution being renamed Utah State Agricultural College in 1929. Doctoral degrees were first granted in 1950. In 1957, the school was granted university status as Utah State University of Agriculture and Applied Science; but the short name Utah State University is used even in official documents.
At the beginning of World War II, Utah State was one of six colleges selected by the United States Navy to give a Primary School in the highly unusual Electronics Training Program (ETP). Starting 23 March 1942, and each month thereafter, a new group of 100 Navy students arrived for three months of 14-hour days in concentrated electrical engineering study. Smart Gymnasium was converted to a dormitory, and Old Main was fitted out for classrooms and laboratories. Larry S. Cole was named Program Director and Waldo G. Hobson was the Director of Instruction. ETP admission required passing the Eddy Test, one of the most selective qualifying exams given during the war years. At a given time, some 300 Navy students were on the campus, greatly augmenting the war-years regular enrollment of 1000. Sidney R. Stock had earlier developed the Radio and Aviation Department, and entered the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander to assist in organizing electronics training. He was a member of the committee in Washington that planned the ETP, and shortly returned to Utah State as the Officer-in-Charge. The ETP Primary School continued at Utah State until August 1944, graduating about 2,750 students in 30 classes.
During the late 1970s, controversy again erupted on campus surrounding the school's historically large Iranian population. As U.S. relations with Iran began to deteriorate throughout the decade, Iranian students on campus began staging protests against the Shah, which protests met with some backlash in the community. Following the outbreak of the hostage crisis of 1979, immigration officials arrived on campus to interview each Iranian, an event which alienated many international and domestic students. For a time, the population of Middle Eastern students declined sharply and has only recently begun to rise again.
Toward the end of the 20th century, Utah State began taking more strides to shed its reputation as a small regional college and transform itself into a nationally prominent university. Under the auspices of President George Emert, who served at USU's helm from 1992 to 2000, the university's endowment increased from $7 million to $80 million. Scholarships, contracts, and grants increased substantially as well.
21st century 
Recently, especially under the tenure of current president Stan Albrecht, USU has forged collaborations with several foreign institutions and governments. The university is continuing to grow in terms of enrollment, endowment, and research. The Merrill-Cazier Library opened in 2005, and other facilities have followed. In 2010, USU acquired both the Swaner EcoCenter outside Park City as well as the former College of Eastern Utah, with its two campuses and various undergraduate and vocational programs. In 2012, the university successfully concluded a $400 million fundraising campaign—the largest ever at USU—which Albrecht said will go down in history as one of USU's most pivotal moments.
As Utah's land grant university, the Utah State University system operates throughout the state of Utah. The earliest roots of USU's distance education go back to 1904 when USU professors traveled by train from Logan to Burley, Idaho to deliver dairy lectures. In 1919, USU began offering courses that allowed students to stay at home. Then, in the 1950s, professors regularly drove around the state to teach courses and advise students. The first regional campus, Uintah Basin, was designated by the Utah State Legislature in 1967. The next year, "flying professors" traveled weekly to teach at USU's various campuses and centers. Traveling to-and-from the centers was necessary until satellite systems were installed in 1996. In 2005, University President Stan Albrecht established USU Regional Campuses and Distance Education. The system grew in 2010 with the addition of USU Eastern to nearly one half of USU's enrollment. Today, the USU system includes the College of Eastern Utah, 3 Regional Campuses, 21 Distance Education centers, and 30 Extension sites. In 2012, RCDE completed construction of the Distance Education Building which houses broadcast classrooms, RCDE offices, and the Utah Education Network.
USU-College of Eastern Utah 
Located in Price, Utah, the former College of Eastern Utah joined the USU system in 2010 and became Utah State University College of Eastern Utah (USU Eastern). USU Eastern operates a satellite campus, known as the San Juan campus, in Blanding, Utah. Before the merger, USU taught courses at the college through Regional Campuses and Distance Education (RCDE). USU Eastern is a junior college and offers Associate's degrees, certificates, and vocational programs however Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral courses are available on site through RCDE. USU Eastern competes as the Eastern Utah Golden Eagles and is the only campus besides Logan that has an athletics program.
Regional Campuses and Distance Education 
Regional Campuses and Distance Education (RCDE) work to fulfill USU's land-grant mission to increase access to a high quality education throughout the state of Utah. Growth of RCDE is outpacing that of the Logan campus with enrollment up 4.5% to 12,650 students enrolled in RCDE courses in 2011.
Regional campuses exist in Brigham City, Tooele, and the Uintah Basin (Vernal and Roosevelt). RCDE offers courses at Price and San Juan campuses that constituted the former College of Eastern Utah (now known as USU-College of Eastern Utah). Distance Education operates 21 education centers throughout the state including Moab, Kaysville, Ephraim, Orem, and Salt Lake City. At each of these locations, students may receive a wide selection of degrees without ever stepping foot on the Logan campus. Courses and degrees are also made available online through Distance Education.
USU has a growing presence in Moab, which had 295 students in 2011. A new 20-acre campus is planned on donated land and fueled by a $15 million gift from the Wendy Walker-Tibbetts Family. The City of Moab committed up to $75,000 per year over the next 10 years to promote the development of the campus. Degrees specific to the needs of the community, including social work and recreation resource management, are planned for the new campus.
Cooperative Extension 
Started in 1914, Utah State University Cooperative Extension, referred to simply as Extension, provides research-based, unbiased information to communities through their county offices and are an integral part of a land-grant institution. Extension operates 30 offices throughout the state, which include Swaner EcoCenter, Thanksgiving Point, and the Utah Botanical Center. With a focus on teaching, research, and public service, Extension programs include 4-H, agribusiness, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education, gardening and yard care, personal finance, and animal health.
Logan Campus 
USU's main campus in Logan is considered one of the university's greatest assets. It is situated on about 500 acres (2.0 km2), approximately one mile northeast of downtown Logan, at the mouth of Logan Canyon. The campus lies on a "bench," or shelf-like foothill overlooking the valley to the west. Mount Logan and the Bear River Range rise sharply to the immediate east. The campus contains over a hundred major buildings. Most student activity is centered around the south end of campus, which is home to the vast majority of academic departments, the quad, the Taggart Student Center, and the Old Main building.
Notable structures include Old Main, the college's first building, as well as the Merrill-Cazier Library, the 305,000 sq ft (28,300 m2)ultra-modern main university library, which houses over 1,549,000 total volumes. The library also boasts an extensive special collections and archives area, an automated storage and retrieval system, and over 150 workstations and 33 group study rooms. Also notable is the Manon Caine Russell-Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall, an architectural marvel which is said to contain some of the best acoustics in the entire Western United States.
The Logan City Cemetery splits much of the campus in half. To the south lie most academic buildings, and to the west and north are situated the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum and Romney Stadium, respectively. Many scientific and agricultural research buildings are located even farther north. Nearby Logan Canyon is a popular recreation destination for students, with a system of trails and parks running along the river. In addition to camping and hiking, the canyon also serves as the primary route to nearby Beaver Mountain Ski Resort and Bear Lake. The university's Outdoor Recreation Program rents camping, water sports, mountain sports, and winter sports equipment to students, as well as providing them with area trail maps and expertise for their ventures into the canyon and elsewhere.
Student life 
Utah State is the largest public residential campus in the state, and nearly 16,000 students live on or directly adjacent to campus. The university is the center of activity for the entire area, and the campus community is considered very close-knit. 21 widely varying on-campus buildings house single students, and 39 buildings on the north side of campus are available for married housing. Many more students live in the multitude of off-campus housing options nearby. Students on campus may choose to dine in one of two cafeterias, as well as the Quadside Cafe at Merrill-Cazier Library, the full-service Skyroom restaurant, and the Hub, which includes fast-food restaurants such as Hogi Yogi and Taco Time. On the east edge of campus sits Aggie Ice Cream, a local tourist hotspot dating back to 1888, which produces "world-famous" ice cream and cheese products, as well as sandwiches and soups.
Starting out in Old Main, USU has had a creamery since its founding in 1888. Students studying dairying and domestic arts applied to learn how to make both ice cream and cheeses. In 1921, Gustav Wilster began working with the College of Agriculture, and by 1922, students were studying dairy technology, fluid milk processing, ice cream manufacture, dairy engineering, cheese manufacture, butter making, dairy facility inspection, and dairy product judging. Wilster's students would go on to create Casper's Ice Cream, Farr's Ice Cream, and Snelgrove's Ice Cream. In 1975, the Nutrition and Food Sciences building was built, which is where Aggie Ice Cream is housed today. Aggie Ice Cream receives its milk from the Caine Dairy Research and Teaching Center located near the Wellsville Mountains.
Along with Aggie Ice Cream, well-known traditions include the rite of passage of becoming a True Aggie, which requires a student to kiss someone who is already a True Aggie on top of the Block "A." Two students may also become True Aggies together on Homecoming night or on A-Day. At one point recently, USU held the title in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most couples kissing at the same place at the same time. Nearby the Block "A" is the lighted "A" atop the Old Main tower, which shines white throughout the entire valley, and blue on nights when a varsity sport has picked up a victory, or other special events have occurred on campus.
Students have full access to the HPER (pronounced "hyper") and the Nelson Fieldhouse, exercise facilities which include basketball courts, indoor rock climbing, gymnastics equipment, two swimming pools, racquetball, squash, and outdoor field space for lacrosse, rugby, soccer, ultimate, and other sports. USU students are also involved in more than 100 clubs, an active and influential student government, five fraternities and three sororities, multiple intramural and club sports, and a student-run radio station.
In 1970, Utah State student Sue Brown and Director of Student Activities Val R. Christensen created one of the first service organization in the nation. VOICE, Volunteer Organization for Involvement in the Community and Environment, worked to improve the environment and social issues in Cache Valley. VOICE became The Val R. Christensen Service Center in 1999 in honor of Dr. Christensen’s efforts and support of the organization. Today, students are involved in more than 20 service organizations including Aggie Special Olympics, Aggies for Africa, Alternative Breaks, and Senior University.
Founded in 1888, Utah State University is the agricultural college and land grant institution for Utah. In 1903, USU was divided into five schools: the School of Agriculture, the School of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Arts, the School of Home Economics, the School of General Science, and the School of Commerce. In 1907, the State of Utah prohibited USU from providing degrees in teaching and engineering (to prevent competition with the University of Utah). In 1923, the University expanded to six academic colleges: Agriculture, Home Economics, Agricultural Engineering, Commerce and Business Administration, Mechanic Arts, and General Science. In 1924, the institution added a School of Education, and restructured the School of General Science to include a School of Basic Arts and Sciences.
Today, USU is organized into eight academic colleges:
Caine College of the Arts 
Formerly existing as a non-degree-granting institution within the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, the Caine College became a free-standing college on July 1, 2010. The Caine College of the Arts houses the departments of Art & Design, Music, and Theatre Arts, along with the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art.
Performance facilities include the Chase Fine Arts Center, which houses the Kent Concert Hall among other venues, and the free-standing Manon Caine Russell-Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall, completed in 2006. The 400-seat Performance Hall, designed by the architectural firm Sasaki Associates, has been praised as one of the best acoustic performance spaces in the American West, and received an Honor Award from the Utah Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and opened in 1982, contains one of the largest art collections in the Intermountain Region. Its holdings include nationally significant collections of ceramics, Native American art, and especially artworks produced in the American West since 1945.
USU's music program is particularly renowned in the region. Prominent faculty include Dean Craig Jessop, longtime director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as opera singer Michael Ballam, Juilliard-trained pianist Gary Amano, and the Fry Street Quartet, USU's string quartet-in-residence.
College of Agriculture 
The College of Agriculture is known for ground-breaking animal genetics and human nutrition and food science research, as well as other significant breakthroughs and global outreach in plants and soil science, animal science, veterinary science and economics. College researchers were instrumental in the creation of the first cloned equines (horses), in a project collaboration with researchers at the University of Idaho. The college is also a leader in the international project to classify and research the sheep genome. The College of Agriculture includes six departments: Applied Sciences, Technology & Education; Animal, Dairy & Veterinary Sciences; Applied Economics; Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning; Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Sciences; and Plants, Soils & Climate.
The College is also home to Utah's first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program. The program is a regional program in collaboration with Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. Each year, the program accepts 20 Utah residents and 10 non-Utah residents. Students spend their first two years receiving pre-clinical training at USU’s Logan campus. They spend the final two years at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, Washington completing the clinical portion of their veterinary education.
The College is also known for the production of its nationally known, award-winning Aggie Ice Cream and cheeses, through its Nutrition and Food Science Department.
College of Engineering 
Much of USU's most widespread academic renown stems directly from the College of Engineering. USU houses the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), which is a research facility focusing on military and science applications. The SDL frequently submits projects to the Department of Defense and NASA. According to recent National Science Foundation statistics, USU ranked first among all universities in the U.S. in funding for aerospace research. USU has also won multiple national aerospace engineering competitions in the past, including two in the 2008–09 academic year alone.
The Utah Water Research Laboratory is the oldest and largest facility of its kind in the nation. USU is considered the world's No. 1 university in a number of water-related engineering and scientific disciplines due in large part to the UWRL. The lab heads and contributes to numerous international projects, particularly in arid Middle Eastern nations.
College of Humanities and Social Sciences 
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the largest college at Utah State University, is also its most diverse and touches nearly every student on campus through its teaching of required general education classes. The College houses eight departments and more than 30 programs. Departments include English, history, journalism and communication, languages, philosophy and speech communication, military science, political science, sociology, social work and anthropology.
In the Humanities, USU has long history in the study of the American West. The university, through its departments of English and History, respectively, is the host institution for the scholarly journals Western American Literature and the Western Historical Quarterly, the official publications of the Western Literature Association and the Western History Association, respectively. The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, a Humanities outreach center at USU, sponsors public events and research focusing on the cultures and history of the Interior West and larger American West. University Special Collections and Archives, located at the Merrill-Cazier Library, has extensive archival holdings documenting the histories of Utah, the Intermountain West, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as one of the nation's largest collections pertaining to American folklore, and the lives and works of western authors such as Jack London and poet May Swenson, a Logan native and USU alumna.
College of Science 
Among the most notable aspects of USU's College of Science includes the rate at which its students are accepted into medical and dental schools. Despite the absence of such professional schools on site in Logan, students are admitted to medical and dental programs at a rate of nearly 30 percent above the national average each year. This is due in large part to the rigorous Prehealth Advising Program and resources like the Cadaver Lab, to which undergraduates have access.
The College of Science houses the Departments of Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics & Statistics, and Geology. The Department of Mathematics & Statistics includes one of only three actuarial science programs in the West.
Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services 
USU's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report in the top 2% of prestigious graduate schools of education in the U.S. for the past decade. The college houses one of America's few combined programs in graduate psychology training, which integrates doctoral-level training across clinical, counseling, and school psychology, and is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Faculty are active in many of areas of psychological research, including neuropsychology, child development, health psychology, and behavior therapy.
Department of Psychology professor Karl R. White is director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, which focuses on the early identification and intervention of hearing loss in infants and young children.
USU is the only university in the state of Utah to have a Housing & Financial Counseling program offered through the college's department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development. This program offers debt counseling, budget counseling, mortgage default prevention counseling, and reverse mortgage counseling through the USU Family Life Center, which also houses the Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic.
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business 
In 2007, Utah State's College of Business became the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business after a $26 million donation by the philanthropist Jon Huntsman, Sr. The School hopes to model itself after Huntsman's alma mater, the prestigious Wharton School of Business located at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Huntsman School of Business offers a number of graduate and undergraduate degrees in fields including management, accounting, economics, finance, and management information systems (MIS). The bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship and international business are unique to USU within the state. The prestigious School of Accountancy is distinguished by perennial Top 5 rankings in CPA exam scores by its grad students, as well as its Institute of Management Accountants, which has received a "Gold Level Award of Excellence" for each of the past 14 years, essentially making it the top such institute in the nation. The Huntsman School widely touts its travel programs, including the unique Huntsman Scholar Program, and the impressive transformation it is undergoing as it puts its new resources to use. This effort has included the hiring of high-profile faculty, such as Stephen R. Covey, influential management scholar and author of the wildly popular best-seller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey taught classes from 2010 until his death in 2012.
In 2011, the Utah Legislature approved funding for a new business building to be located south of the Eccles Business Building. The new building was funded by $16 million in private funds and $14 million in state funds. The 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) building will include classrooms, faculty offices, a business library and three new business centers.
S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources 
USU has a long and illustrious history in the science and management of forests, rangeland, wildlife, and fisheries and watersheds. Many graduates of the Quinney College of Natural Resources have gone on to high-level careers in the National Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management, and its graduate programs attract high numbers of international students. The college also operates the Quinney Library, which houses collections relevant for natural resources education, management, and research. The college was formally renamed the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources in 2012 after a $10 million donation was received by the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation. The Quinneys were both graduates of USU (then the Agricultural College of Utah), and their foundation has supported the College of Natural Resources for 40 years, contributing more than $40 million in all.
The Quinney College of Natural Resources includes the departments of Watershed Sciences, Environment and Society, and Wildland Resources.
As of Fall 2010, Utah State University enrolled 22,100 undergraduate students and 3,667 graduate students. 9,295 of these students were enrolled exclusively at regional campuses or in distance education. USU is home to more Carnegie Professors of the Year than any other school in Utah, and boasts nine of the last 15 for the state. The Carnegie is a teaching award, and in fact, USU strongly stresses close undergraduate involvement for even their most prestigious faculty. According to a recent survey, 49.7% of all faculty teach undergraduates, and 63.5% say they've worked with an undergraduate on a research project in the last two years. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. USU is also home to a dynamic and successful Honors Program.
|U.S. News & World Report||170|
In recent years, Utah State University has received high national rankings in a diverse array of categories, especially in regards to overall value. In 2010, Forbes listed USU as the No. 1 highest-ranked public university in the nation within its category of most inexpensive places to go to school. It is also the No. 1 public university in the West (and in the top 5 public universities nationwide) on the similar Forbes list of "America's Best College Buys." USU has also in the past been ranked 1st in the nation among public universities, by U.S. News and World Report, for graduates with the least amount of debt.
The Princeton Review has ranked Utah State among the "Best Western" schools for many years, and Popular Science called it one of the Top 10 Smartest Schools in the nation. The university also leads the nation in funding for aerospace research and the number of student experiments actually sent out into space. Various entities within the university have received high departmental rankings, such as the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, which ranks 2nd in the nation for total research dollars received by any one college, and in the top 2% for all graduate colleges of education. The athletics program recently won a National Championship for most sports success per dollar spent.
Logan and the surrounding communities also feature prominently on national lists, including No. 1 safest U.S. metropolitan area, No. 3 in "Best Cities to Find a Job", and No. 10 in "Best Small Places for Business and Careers".
Research and environmentalism 
Utah State University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with "high research activity." It received a record $187 million in research awards during the 2010 fiscal year, a 29 percent increase over the previous year. In addition to its faculty and graduate work, the university strongly emphasizes the importance of undergraduate research. USU's Undergraduate Research program recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, making it one of the oldest such organizations in the nation.
Along with the University of Utah, USU is an anchor in the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) program, which is aimed at optimizing the university and region's most marketable strengths with the goal of bolstering Utah's high-tech economy. Nine USTAR teams currently perform research at Utah State. USTAR and USU's Advanced Transportation Institute developed charging technology for electric buses. Now, buses can be powered through wireless induction technology. The bus stops over magnetic pads that will charge the bus while passengers load and unload. A prototype of the technology began service on the University of Utah campus in 2012.
Notable research centers based at USU include the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Energy Dynamics Laboratory, Utah Water Research Laboratory, Center for High Performance Computing, Utah Climate Center, Center for Advanced Nutrition, Center for the School of the Future, National Aquatic Monitoring Center, Intermountain Center for River Rehabilitation and Restoration, Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, and Utah Botanical Center, among others. In 2010, the university received ownership of the more than $30 million Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter outside of Park City. The center consists of a 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) land trust and a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2), state-of-the-art facility dedicated to environmental education. The preserve protects critical wetland and foothill terrain in the heart of one of the state’s fastest-growing areas, and the EcoCenter, completed in 2009, is a multi-use facility with space for educational and community activities. The facility is LEED Platinum Certified, the highest standard for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
Through the Department of Physics (College of Science), Utah State University has placed more student experiments into space than any educational institution in the world. A team of USU and University of Idaho researchers were the first in the world to successfully clone an equine. The baby mule, named Idaho Gem, was born May 4, 2003. USU researchers made headlines in 2011 after breeding transgenic goats. Utah State University professor Randy Lewis' "spider goats", the milk of which contains spider silk, are being studied for uses including human muscle tissue and light-weight bulletproof vests.
Research efforts are underway to produce a cost-competitive bio-diesel from algae. Lance Seefeldt and other professors formed the Biofuels Program at Energy Dynamics Laboratory to develop new and emerging technologies that will produce methane, biodiesel, hydrogen and alcohols from renewable, carbon-dioxide-neutral energy sources, such as consumer and agricultural waste and sunlight. Dallas Hanks, a doctoral student, has initiated a program at the university called FreeWays to Fuel, which is growing oilseed crops for biodiesel in previously unused municipal land such as highway roadsides. Hanks estimates that in the U.S., 10 million acres (40,000 km2) of such unused land exists—land which generally serves no other purpose and currently costs tax dollars to maintain. Early yields from the crops are promising, and the program has spread to other land-grant universities across the nation. He has a goal to produce 50 million US gallons (190,000 m3) of biofuel in five years.
Utah State University promotes the OpenCourseWare (OCW) Project (open and free university courses) and is developing an open content management system for OCW called eduCommons. This open source content management system is one of the important technology projects in the MIT OpenCourseWare Initiative. eduCommons aids in the creation of OCW sites and has already been adopted by several universities for this purpose.
USU's sports teams are known as the Aggies and are a part of the NCAA Division I Western Athletic Conference (WAC). In summer 2013 they will join the Mountain West Conference. The university sponsors football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, softball, women's soccer, track and field, golf, tennis, cross country, and gymnastics. An array of club sports exist as well, including lacrosse, hockey, and baseball, which are particularly popular with students.
The crown jewel of Aggie athletics has long been the men's basketball team, which plays in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, which has been called one of the nation's top 5 loudest and most difficult places for opposing teams to play. ESPN has also named USU's student section among the smartest in the nation. During the 2008–09 season, USU's ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll rose as high as #17. USU basketball is 157–12 at home during the Stew Morrill era, has received 6 NCAA Tournament berths in the last ten years, and has amassed more wins than any team in the nation except Duke, Kansas, and Gonzaga during that time.
After many years of futility in football, USU has risen to new heights under head coach Gary Andersen, ending the 2012 regular season with its USU's first-ever 10-win season, its first WAC championship, and nationwide Top 25 rankings in all three major polls.
In addition to Andersen's hiring, the football program's renaissance can be attributed in part to a recent emphasis, under Athletics Director Scott Barnes, on recruiting, TV coverage, fundraising, facilities upgrades, and internal reorganization, despite the athletics department's dismal budget in comparison with other state and WAC schools. In recognition of these efforts, USU Athletics was crowned the 2009 National Champion of the Excellence in Management Cup, which seeks to identify the university that wins the most championships with the lowest expenses.
The Aggies have been members of the WAC since 2005 and have won several conference championships in that time, including men's basketball in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, football in 2012, indoor track in 2008, outdoor track in 2007 and 2009, and cross country for numerous years. Women's cross country has also won WAC championships in 2006 and 2008, and women's soccer won in 2008. Utah State has won numerous conference championships in previous conferences. National championships include women's volleyball in 1978 and softball in 1980 and 1981.
Journals published by the university include Utah Science, Western Historical Quarterly, and Western American Literature. The Utah State University Press publishes works in composition studies, folklore, Mormon history, Native American studies, nature and environment, and western history.
The Utah Statesman, or simply The Statesman, and Hard News Cafe are the primary news outlets that serve the USU student body. The Statesman is a student-run paper with a faculty adviser. The paper is funded partly by a student fee of $2 per semester and partly by the sale of advertisements. The Statesman is published twice a week and distributed free of charge on campus and to certain off-campus USU offices. The Statesman won the Society for Professional Journalist's Best Column Writing award in 2002 and Best Non-Daily Student Paper in 2005. Hard News Cafe is a news website operated by USU's Department of Journalism and Communications.
Utah Public Radio, based at the university, is heard on KUSU (91.5 FM) and KUSR (89.5 FM) in Logan, and throughout Utah on a system of 26 translators. UPR broadcasts "a mix of information, public affairs, and fine arts programming." KUSU is a National Public Radio member station, and an affiliate of Public Radio International. In addition, an entirely student-run radio station called Fusion HD3 broadcasts on the third HD channel of 89.5 in Cache Valley and online.
Aggie Television (ATV) is a cable service lineup of approximately 110 channels offered free of charge to all on-campus residents. ATV produces Crossroads, a bulletin/announcement channel; and Aggie Advantage, providing local and student video programming.
Notable people 
On June 13, 1899, graduates of the Agricultural College of Utah met to create the Alumni Association. Today, the Alumni Association is located in the historic David B. Haight Alumni Center, which was dedicated July 11, 1991. Alumni chapters exist in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Washington DC. USU boasts more than 180,000 alumni in each U.S. state and more than 100 countries.
Particularly notable alumni include Harry Reid, current U.S. Senate Majority Leader; May Swenson, poet; the late Merlin Olsen, pro football hall-of-famer, actor, and TV personality; Rick Bass, writer and environmental activist; Charlie Denson, President of Nike Brand; Ardeshir Zahedi, former Iranian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the U.S. under the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Shah; Chris Cooley, pro-football tight-end for the Washington Redskins; and Mary L. Cleave, NASA astronaut.
Particularly notable faculty include Stephen R. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; Michael Ballam, renowned tenor and general director of the Utah Festival Opera; and Don L. Lind, NASA Astronaut and member of "The Original 19".
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