University of Tampa

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For other universities that use the UT mnemonic, see UT.
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 7,750
Location Tampa, Florida, USA
Campus Urban, 105 acres (0.42 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 2011, the University celebrated its 80th anniversary. UT offers more than 200 programs of study, including 11 master's degrees and a broad variety of majors, minors, pre-professional programs and certificates.[3]


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 UT 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 L. 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. Dr. Vaughn also launched the "Take UT to the Top" campaign with the goal of raising $70 million in 10 years and restoring the University's endowment. By the time the campaign ended, UT had raised $83 million. A major reason for this success was the generous contributions of the John H. Sykes family of Tampa. A gift of $10 million by the family in 1997 was followed by one for $28 million in 2000,[4] 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 were used to purchase new land and to implement a faster-paced building program. They were also used to hire additional faculty, permitting the University to expand its student population and still maintain a 17:1 student-faculty ratio. For his efforts in rescuing the University and increasing enrollment, Vaughn has a salary that is in the top 10 of mid-sized, private institutions.


UT offers 200 areas of study for undergraduate and graduate students.[3] Classes maintain a 17:1 student-faculty ratio.[5] UT employs no teaching assistants.

Some of UT's most popular majors include international business, biology, management, marine science, criminology, finance, communication, sport management and nursing. UT recently launched a new major in cybersecurity.[6]

The following graduate degrees are offered: MBA (part-time and full-time programs, eight concentrations), Executive MBA, Master of Education, M.S. in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Instructional Design and Technology, Exercise and Nutrition Science, Nursing (adult and family nurse practitioner), MFA in Creative Writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry), as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

The University is organized into four colleges: College of Arts and Letters; College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education; College of Natural and Health Sciences; and Sykes College of Business, which is accredited at the undergraduate and graduate levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[7]

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."[8]

UT also offers a host of international study-abroad options led by UT professors.[9] The University is an associate member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).


UT's campus features 58 buildings on 105 landscaped acres. Plant Hall – a National Historic Landmark built in 1891 by Henry B. Plant – is a leading example of Moorish Revival architecture in the southeastern United States and a focal point of downtown Tampa. In addition to serving as a main location of classrooms and faculty and administrative offices, the building is also home to the Henry B. Plant Museum. The campus also includes the former McKay Auditorium, built in the 1920s and remodeled in the late 1990s to become the Sykes College of Business. In the last 15 years, UT has invested approximately $400 million in new residence halls, classrooms, labs and other facilities.[5]

The UT campus is relatively small for a school with 7,750 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, a landscaped, palm-tree-lined riverside area in front of Plant Hall's main entrance. It features cannons from Tampa's original harbor fort and the Sticks of Fire sculpture. 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. The campus also includes the former Florida State Fair grounds, where legend has it Babe Ruth hit a home run of 630 feet (190 m), the longest of his career.

UT is also one of few schools with an anti-gravity monument from Roger Babson's Gravity Research Foundation. The "Anti-Gravity Rock", as it is 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.[10] All but 3 of the 12 on-campus residence halls have been built since 1998.

Straz Hall, Palm Apartments 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 Hall, McKay Hall, Boathouse, Austin Hall and Vaughn Center, offer traditional dormitory arrangements, with two or three students in a connected suite sharing a bathroom and open living areas. Three halls, Brevard Hall, Morsani Hall and Jenkins Hall, offer a hybrid package with students sharing a common area but without a kitchen. 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 Barrymore Hotel, located about 1 mile (1.6 km) from campus, also houses some students.[11] Two students typically stay in each room, which is equipped with two double beds, a bathroom and closet space. UT's wireless internet is available, along with cable television. A shuttle bus provides transportation to/from campus, or students can take the 15-minute walk.


UT has about 30 computer labs and wireless Internet access across campus. The 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 ecosystems of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Macdonald-Kelce Library houses more than 275,000 books and 65,181 periodicals, as well as online research databases, a computer lab, study rooms 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.[12]

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. UT also offers sand volleyball courts, 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.[13]

UT's theater department hosts student produced and acted plays across Kennedy Boulevard in the historic Falk Theatre. Falk also hosts large academic gatherings, student productions and concerts. In 2003 Falk Theatre was featured as a setting in the film The Punisher.

The non-denominational Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values includes a 250-seat main hall, meeting and meditation rooms, pipe organ, a plaza and 60-bell musical sculpture/fountain.[14]

The Bob Martinez Athletics Center received substantial upgrades during recent improvements throughout the university.[15]


UT has approximately 7,750 students from 50 U.S. states.[16] A significant number of students come from northern and northeastern states. Students from Florida make up about half of the student body. More than 137 countries are represented within the student body. Sixty-five percent of students live in campus housing.[17]


UT's Athletic Logo.

The University of Tampa competes at the Division II level in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC). The school's mascot is the Spartan.

Spartan teams have won a combined total of 15 NCAA Division II National Titles, as follows: seven in baseball (1992, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2015), three in men's soccer (1981, 1994, 2001), two in golf (1987, 1988), two in volleyball (2006, 2014) and one in women's soccer (2007).[18]

UT presently competes in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cheerleading, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming, women's tennis, men's and women's track and women's volleyball.[18] The school has recently built dedicated stadiums for baseball, softball, soccer, track and lacrosse that rival many Division I facilities.

The men's club hockey team competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). UT's equestrian team competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).

Student media[edit]

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's undergraduate literary journal, Neon (originally Quilt), has been published by students since 1978.[19] 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.

Other student-run publications include The Moroccan yearbook and Splice Journal, which showcases student work in communication, art and culture.[20]

UT also has a student radio station (WUTT 1080) and television station (UT-TV).

Fraternities and sororities[edit]

Dome of Plant Hall's Fletcher Lounge.

The history of UT and its sororities and fraternities 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.

Despite these obstacles, Greeks resurged on campus in the mid 1980s. 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. Today, about 12 percent of UT's undergraduates are members of 13 fraternities and 11 sororities.[21]

Notable alumni and attendees[edit]

The University of Tampa has produced notable alumni over the years. They include:

U.S. Representative from Florida and former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich attended UT for two years but did not graduate. In 2008 his older brother Rob, a UT alumnus,[22] 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.

Rielle Hunter attended the University of Tampa under the name Lisa Jo Druck.[23] Hunter had an affair with former presidential candidate Senator John Edwards, who later 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. ^ a b "School Facts for University of Tampa". CollegeView. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Linda Gibson (2000). "University of Tampa lands $28-million gift". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  5. ^ a b "The University of Tampa - Tampa, Florida - UT Profile". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "University of Tampa adding new building for cybersecurity majors". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Forty-Nine Business Schools Extend their AACSB Accreditation in Business or Accounting". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  8. ^ The University of Tampa – Honors Program. Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  9. ^ "The University of Tampa - International Programs - Education Abroad". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Housing Information for University of Tampa". CollegeView. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  11. ^ University of Tampa residence halls, retrieved July 19, 2012
  12. ^ "University of Tampa – Macdonald-Kelce Library". (1969-10-19). Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  13. ^ "The University of Tampa - Tampa, Florida - McNiff Fitness Center". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  14. ^ University of Tampa Sykes Chapel. Retrieved on 2012-05-08.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Housing Information for University of Tampa". CollegeView. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Spartan Baseball: Seven-Time National Champions!". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Quilt Literary & Arts Journal". Quilt Literary & Arts Journal. University of Tampa. 
  20. ^ "The University of Tampa - Tampa, Florida - Student Publications and Media". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  21. ^ "The University of Tampa - Greek Life - Chapters". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  22. ^ John W. Allman (2008). "Illinois Governor Attended University Of Tampa In 1970s". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  23. ^ 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