University of Maryland, College Park

University of Maryland, College Park

Coordinates: 38°59′15.0″N 76°56′24.0″W / 38.9875°N 76.94°W / 38.9875; -76.94

University of Maryland,
College Park
Seal of the University of Maryland (Trademark of the University of Maryland)
Motto Fatti maschii, parole femine[1] (Italian)
Motto in English Strong deeds, Gentle words[2]
Established 1856
Type Flagship Public university, Land-Grant, Space-Grant, Sea-Grant
Endowment $672 million (as of 2010)[3]
President Wallace Loh[4][5]
Provost Ann G. Wylie[6]
Academic staff 3,996[7]
Admin. staff 5,116[7]
Students 37,641[7]
Undergraduates 26,922[7]
Postgraduates 10,719[7]
Location College Park, Maryland, United States
38°59′17″N 76°56′41″W / 38.98806°N 76.94472°W / 38.98806; -76.94472
Campus Suburban, 1,250 acres (5.1 km2)[7]
Colors Red, White, Black, and Gold                        
Athletics NCAA Division I[7]
Nickname Terrapins, Terps
Mascot Testudo
Affiliations ACC, AAU, MAISA, Fields Institute, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
University of Maryland Logo

The University of Maryland, College Park (often referred to as The University of Maryland, UM, UMD, UMCP, or Maryland) is a top-ranked public research university located in the city of College Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, just outside Washington, D.C. Founded in 1856, the University of Maryland is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland. With a fall 2010 enrollment of more than 37,000 students, over 100 undergraduate majors and 120 graduate programs, Maryland is the largest university in the state and the largest in the Washington Metropolitan Area.[7][8] It is a member of the Association of American Universities and a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference athletic league.

The University of Maryland's proximity to the nation's capital has resulted in strong research partnerships with the Federal government. Many members of the faculty receive research funding and institutional support from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Homeland Security.

As of fiscal year 2009, the University of Maryland, College Park's operating budget was projected to be approximately $1.531 billion.[9] For the same fiscal year, the University of Maryland received a total of $518 million in research funding, surpassing its 2008 mark by $117 million.[10] As of June 30th, 2011, the university's "Great Expectations" campaign had exceeded $850 million in private donations.[11]


Early history

On March 6, 1856, the forerunner of today's University of Maryland was chartered as the Maryland Agricultural College (1856-1916). Two years later, Charles Benedict Calvert, a descendant of the Barons Baltimore, fervent believer in agricultural education, and a future U.S. Congressman, purchased 420 acres (1.7 km2) of the Riverdale Plantation in College Park for $21,000. Calvert founded the school later that year with money earned by the sale of stock certificates. On October 5, 1859, the first 34 students entered the Maryland Agricultural College, including four of Charles Calvert's sons, George, Charles, William and Eugene. The keynote speaker on opening day was Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.[12]

In July 1862, the same month that the Maryland Agricultural College awarded its first degrees, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act.[13] The legislation provided federal funds to schools that taught agriculture or engineering, or provided military training. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the school became a land grant college in February 1864 after the Maryland legislature voted to approve the Morrill Act.[12]

Civil War

A few months after accepting the grant, the Maryland Agricultural College proved to be an important site in the Civil War. In April 1864, General Ambrose E. Burnside and 6,000 soldiers of the Union's Ninth Army Corps camped on the MAC campus. The troops were en route to reinforce General Ulysses S. Grant's forces in Virginia.[14]

Later that summer, around 400 Confederate soldiers led by General Bradley T. Johnson stayed on the grounds while preparing to take part in a raid against Washington. In local legend, it is told that the soldiers were warmly welcomed by university President Henry Onderdonk, a Confederate sympathizer, and that the cavalrymen were thrown a party on the campus nicknamed "The Old South Ball." The next morning the soldiers rode off to cut the lines of communication between Washington and Baltimore.[15]

Financial problems forced the increasingly desperate administrators to sell off 200 acres (81 ha) of land, and the continuing decline in student enrollment sent the Maryland Agricultural College into bankruptcy. For the next two years the campus was used as a boys preparatory school.[12]

Morrill Hall, built in 1898, is the oldest academic building on campus.

Following the Civil War, the Maryland legislature pulled the college out of bankruptcy, and in February 1866 assumed half ownership of the school. The college thus became in part a state institution. George Washington Custis Lee, son of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was appointed president of the college by the Board of Trustees, but due to public outcry declined the position. By October 1867, the school reopened with 11 students. In the next six years, enrollment continued to grow, and the school's debt was finally paid off. Twenty years later, the school's reputation as a research institution began, as the federally funded Agricultural Experiment Station was established there. During the same period, a number of state laws granted the college regulatory powers in several areas—including controlling farm disease, inspecting feed, establishing a state weather bureau and geological survey, and housing the board of forestry.[12] In 1888, the college began its first official intercollegiate baseball games against rivals St. John's College and the United States Naval Academy. Baseball, however, had been played at the college for decades before the first "official" games were recorded. The first fraternity at Maryland, Phi Sigma Kappa, was established in 1897, and Morrill Hall (the oldest instructional building still in use on campus) was built the following year.[12]

The Great Fire of 1912

The campus ablaze during the 1912 fire
The remains of the administration building.
Plaque showcasing the original layout of campus before the Great Fire.

On November 29, 1912, around 10:30 p.m., a fire, probably due to faulty electric wiring, broke out in the attic of the newest administration building, where a Thanksgiving dance was being held. The approximately eighty students on the premises evacuated themselves safely, and then formed a makeshift bucket brigade. The fire departments summoned from nearby Hyattsville and Washington, D.C. arrived too late. Fanned by a strong southwest wind, the fire destroyed the barracks where the students were housed, all the school's records, and most of the academic buildings, leaving only Morrill Hall untouched. The loss was estimated at $250,000 (about $5.5 million in 2007 U.S. dollars) despite no injuries or fatalities. The devastation was so great that many never expected the university to reopen. University President Richard Silvester resigned, brokenhearted.[12] However, the students refused to give up. All but two returned to the university after the break and insisted on classes continuing as usual. Students were housed by families in neighboring towns who were compensated by the university until housing could be rebuilt, although a new administration building was not built until the 1940s.[12]

A large brick and concrete compass inlaid in the ground designates the former center of campus as it existed in 1912. Lines engraved in the compass point to each building that was destroyed in the Thanksgiving Day fire. The only building not marked on the compass is Morrill Hall, which was spared by the blaze. The intersection of the lines on the compass are known as "The Point of Failure" and a plaque nearby warns students of the danger that if you step on this point you will not graduate in four years.

Modern history

The University of Maryland campus as it appeared in 1938 before the dramatic expansion engineered by President Byrd

The state took complete control of the school in 1916, and consequently the institution was renamed Maryland State College (1916-1920). Also that year, the first female students enrolled at the school. On April 9, 1920, the college merged with the established professional schools in Baltimore to form the University of Maryland (1920-Present). The graduate school on the College Park campus awarded its first Ph.D. degrees, and the University's enrollment reached 500 students in the same year. In 1925 the University was accredited by the Association of American Universities.[12]

During World War II, Maryland was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[16]

By the time the first black students enrolled at the University in 1951, enrollment had grown to nearly 10,000 students—4,000 of whom were women. Prior to 1951, many black students in Maryland were enrolled at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore which was almost shut down in 1947 due to lack of access, low quality education, and the fear among some black and white leaders that Eastern Shore was allowed to remain a college by the Regents of the University of Maryland solely to keep black students in segregated, inferior institutions.[17]

In 1957 President Wilson H. Elkins made a push to increase academic standards at the University. His efforts resulted in the creation of one of the first Academic Probation Plans. The first year the plan went into effect, 1,550 students (18% of the total student body) faced expulsion. Since then, academic standards at the school have steadily risen. Recognizing the improvement in academics, Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at the university in 1964. In 1969, the university was elected to the Association of American Universities. The school continued to grow, and by the fall of 1985 reached an enrollment of 38,679.[12] Like many colleges during the Vietnam War, the university was the site of student protests and had curfews enforced by the National Guard.[18]

In a massive 1988 restructuring of the state higher education system, the school was designated as the flagship campus of the newly formed University System of Maryland and was formally named University of Maryland, College Park. However, in 1997 the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation allowing the University of Maryland, College Park to be known simply as the University of Maryland, recognizing the campus' role as the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland.[19]

The other University System of Maryland institutions with the name "University of Maryland" are not satellite campuses of the University of Maryland, College Park, and are not referred to as such. The University of Maryland, Baltimore is the only other school permitted to confer certain degrees that state, simply "University of Maryland". This is because the Baltimore school offers primarily graduate degrees in disciplines not taught at College Park, such as Nursing, Dentistry, Law and Medicine. The relationship between the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore is akin to the relationship of the University of California, Berkeley to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), which also primarily offers graduate programs that Berkeley does not provide.

21st Century

McKeldin Library.

On September 24, 2001, a tornado struck the College Park campus, killing two female students and causing $15 million in damage to 12 buildings.[20] That same year brought the opening of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the largest single building ever constructed by the State of Maryland, which replaced Tawes Theatre as the premier fine arts center on campus.[21]

In 2004, the university began constructing the 150-acre (61 ha) "M Square Research Park," which is the largest research park inside the Capital Beltway, and includes facilities affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense, Food and Drug Administration, and the new National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, affiliated with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).[22]

The university launched its 7-year campaign to raise $1 billion dollars via private donations, called "Great Expectations," in 2006.[23] The university published a new 10-year strategic plan in 2008,[24] which includes plans for the East Campus Redevelopment Project which would bring, among other things, on-campus graduate student housing and a state-of-the-art music and entertainment center to campus.[25]

In May 2010, ground was broken on a new $128-million, 158,068-square-foot (14,685.0 m2) Physical Science Complex, including an ARRA-funded advanced quantum science laboratory, which the university hopes will be the premier facility for such research in the world.[26]

The university's administration has recently become embroiled in the debate over the construction of a light-rail line through campus.[27][28] On August 16, 2010, Wallace Loh, the Provost of the University of Iowa, was named President of the University effective November 1.[5]



The University of Maryland offers 127 undergraduate degrees and 112 graduate degrees in thirteen different colleges and schools:

Undergraduate education is centered around both a student's chosen academic program and the selection of core coursework to fulfill general education requirements.[29] For Spring 2010, the average undergraduate GPA for women was 3.22 and 3.05 for undergraduate men.[30]


A stairway in south campus.

The university hosts "Living and Learning" programs which allow students with similar academic interests to live in the same residential community, take specialized courses, and perform research. An example is the University Honors College, which is geared towards students with exceptional academic talents. The Honors College welcomes students into a community of faculty and intellectually gifted undergraduates committed to acquiring a broad and balanced education.[31]

The Gemstone Program at the University of Maryland is a multidisciplinary four-year research program for select undergraduate honors students of all majors. Under guidance of faculty mentors and Gemstone staff, teams of students design, direct and conduct research, often but not exclusively exploring the interdependence of science and technology with society.[32]

Honors Humanities is the University of Maryland’s honors program for talented beginning undergraduates with interests in the humanities and creative arts. The selective two-year living-learning program combines a small liberal arts college environment with the dynamic resources of a large research university.[33]

The College Park Scholars programs are two-year living-learning programs for first- and second-year students. Students are selected to enroll in one of 12 thematic programs: Arts; Business, Society, and the Economy; Environment, Technology, and Economy; Global Public Health; International Studies; Life Sciences; Media, Self, and Society; Public Leadership; Science and Global Change; Science, Discovery, and the Universe; Science, Technology, and Society.[34]

A student working on McKeldin Mall.

The nation's first living-learning entrepreneurship program, Hinman CEOs, is geared toward students who are interested in starting their own business.[35] Students from all academic disciplines live together and are provided the resources to explore new business ventures.

The QUEST (Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams) Honors Fellows Program engages undergraduate students from business, engineering, and computer, mathematical, and physical sciences. QUEST Students participate in courses focused on cross-functional collaboration, innovation, quality management, and teamwork.[36]

Other living-learning programs include: CIVICUS, a two year program in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences based on the five principles of civil society;[37] Global Communities, a program that immerses students in a diverse culture (students from all over the world live in a community),[38] and the Language House,[39] which allows students pursuing language courses to live and practice with other students learning the same language.


Presidential Mansion at the University of Maryland

The university's faculty has included four Nobel Prize laureates. The earliest recipient, Juan Ramón Jiménez, was a professor of Spanish language and literature and won the 1956 prize for literature. Four decades later, physics professor William Daniel Phillips won the prize in physics for his contributions to laser cooling, a technique to slow the movement of gaseous atoms in 1997. In 2005, professor emeritus of economics and public policy Thomas Schelling was awarded the prize in economics for his contributions to game theory. In 2006, adjunct professor of physics and senior astrophysicist at NASA John C. Mather was awarded the prize in physics alongside George Smoot for their work in the discovery of blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation. In addition, two University of Maryland alumni are Nobel Prize laureates; Herbert Hauptman won the 1985 prize in chemistry and Raymond Davis Jr. won the 2002 prize in physics.

The University also has many notable academics in other field of science. Professor of mathematics Sergei Novikov won the Fields Medal in 1970 followed by alumnus Charles Fefferman in 1978. Alumnus George Dantzig won the 1975 National Medal of Science for his work in the field of linear programming. Professor of physics Michael Fisher won the Wolf Prize in 1980 (together with Kenneth G. Wilson and Leo Kadanoff) and the IUPAP Boltzmann Medal in 1983. James A. Yorke, a Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics and Physics and chair of the Mathematics Department won the 2003 Japan Prize for his work in chaotic systems.


On October 14, 2004, the university added 150 acres (61 ha) in an attempt to create the largest research park inside the Washington, D.C., Capital Beltway, known as "M Square."[40] The university completed construction on a new Bioscience Research Building on campus in May 2007. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is presently constructing the new National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on site in M Square. It is scheduled to be completed in early 2009. The University's Physics Department constructed, operates, and maintains the world's largest isochronous synchrocyclotron.

The Mathematics Building

The University of Maryland's location near Washington, D.C. has created strong research partnerships, especially with government agencies. Many of the faculty members have funding from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health,[41] NASA,[42] the Department of Homeland Security,[43] the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Security Agency. These relationships have created numerous research opportunities for the university including: *taking the lead in the nationwide research initiative into the transmission and prevention of human and avian influenza[44]

  • creating a new research center to study the behavioral and social foundations of terrorism with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • launching the joint NASA-University of Maryland Deep Impact spacecraft in early January 2005.

The University of Maryland Libraries provide access to and assistance in the use of the scholarly information resources required to meet the education, research and service missions of the University.

The Center for American Politics and Citizenship provides citizens and policy-makers with research on critical issues related to the United States' political institutions, processes, and policies. CAPC is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution within the Department of Government and Politics in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

The Space Systems Laboratory researches human-robotic interaction for astronautics applications, and includes the only neutral buoyancy facility at a university.

The Center for Technology and Systems Management (CTSM) has the mission to advance the state of the art of technology and systems analysis for the benefit of people and the environment. The focus has been always on enhancing safety, efficiency and effectiveness by performing reliability, risk, uncertainty or decision analysis studies.

The Joint Global Change Research Institute was formed in 2001 by the University of Maryland and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The institute focuses on multidisciplinary approaches of climate change research.


Admittance to the University of Maryland has become highly selective. According to the 2011 US News and World Report, Maryland is rated "Most Selective" with a 41.9 percent acceptance rate.[45] The university regularly receives about 26,000 applications a year for a freshman class of 4,000, along with 6,500 transfer applications for 2,000 available transfer spots.[46] The incoming class for 2009 represents the highest qualifications of any class in the University's history, measured by a mean SAT of 1285 and average GPA of 3.93.[citation needed]


University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report[47] 55
Washington Monthly[48] 52
ARWU[49] 36
QS[50] 113
Times[51] 56

The University is ranked 55th in the latest 2012 U.S. News and World Report rankings of "National Universities" across the United States, and it is ranked 17th nationally among public universities. 29 undergraduate and graduate programs are ranked in the top 10 and 90 programs are in the top 25.[52]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities compiled by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranked Maryland as 36th in the world as well as 8th among public flagship universities in the United States.[53] Newsweek ranked the University of Maryland as 45th in their ranking "global universities." The THE-QS World University Rankings ranked the University of Maryland 104 on its top 400 universities in the world in 2010.[54] In 2011, QS World University Rankings[55] ranked the university 113th overall in the world.


Walkway along McKeldin Mall.
View of McKeldin Library and Jiménez Hall.


Tree Walking Tour Around McKeldin Mall

The campus of University of Maryland is noted for its red-brick Georgian buildings and its large central lawn, named McKeldin Mall.[56] White columns decorate many buildings, with around 770 columns existing on campus.[57] Spanning the university's 1,250 acres (5.1 km2) are over 7,500 documented trees and special garden plantings, leading the American Public Gardens Association to designate the campus the University of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden in 2008.[58] This designation has allowed the university to showcase interesting species and specific gardens, including extensive native plantings. There are multiple arboretum tours, such as the centralized Tree Walking Tour which is based around McKeldin Mall and features 56 specimen trees.

Additionally, there are nearly 400 acres (1.6 km2) of urban forest located on campus [58] and the National Arbor Day Foundation has named the university to its 'Tree Campus USA' list.[59] The recreational Paint Branch Trail, part of the Anacostia Tributary Trails system, cuts through campus, as does the Paint Branch stream, a tributary of the Northeast Branch Anacostia River.[60]

McKeldin Mall serves as the center of campus. On the east and west ends of McKeldin Mall lie the Main Administration Building and McKeldin Library. Academic buildings surround McKeldin Mall on the north and south ends, and are the homes to many departments in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Arts and Humanities, and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. West of McKeldin Mall is the North Hill Community, and south of McKeldin Mall lies Morrill Hall and the Morrill Quad, which was the original center of campus. South of the Morrill Quad are the South Hill and South Campus Commons Communities, and to the southwest is the Southwest Mall and the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Running parallel to McKeldin Mall to the north is Campus Drive, the main thoroughfare through campus. The Adele H. Stamp Student Union sits along Campus Drive near the center of campus, and serves as a transit center for campus, where Shuttle-UM (the university's bus service) and municipal buses pick up and drop off passengers; however, the university is considering closing Campus Drive to nearly all vehicular traffic, hoping to make the area around Stamp more pedestrian friendly.[61] Hornbake Plaza home to Hornbake Library and several buildings housing academic departments also lies on Campus Drive, east of Stamp.

The Armory.
View near the South Commons residential area.

Outside of the Stamp Student Union on Campus Drive is the Jim Henson Statue and Memorial Garden, in honor of the late Jim Henson, a Maryland alum.[62] To the north and northwest of Stamp and Hornbake Plaza are the North Campus communities, Byrd Stadium, the Eppley Recreation Center (the main gym on campus), the Comcast Center, and the Wooded Hillock, a 22-acre (8.9 ha) forest located next to the Comcast Center; Stadium Drive runs between the more southern Byrd Stadium and the rest of the these. The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center sits to the west of Byrd Stadium. Another thoroughfare, Regents Drive, runs perpendicular to McKeldin Mall and is home to the iconic Memorial Chapel and the Campus Farms. Regents Drive crosses Campus Drive at the campus hallmark "M" Circle, which is a traffic circle with a large "M" formed by flowers in its center.[63] The northeast quadrant of campus, formed by Campus and Regent Drives, is home to many of natural sciences and applied sciences departments. The university is also divided by U.S. Route 1, known locally as "Baltimore Avenue." While most of campus lies to the west of Baltimore Avenue, fixtures such as fraternity row and the Leonardtown Communities lie to the east. Sitting on the western edge of Baltimore Avenue are the Visitors' Center, also known as The Dairy, The Reckord Armory, and The Rossborough Inn, which, built during the years of 1798 to 1812, is the oldest building on campus (and is older than the university itself).[64] There are five regularly used entrances to campus; the main entrance, off of Baltimore Avenue and onto Campus Drive, is referred to as North Gate and features The Gatehouse, an ornate gateway honoring the university's founders.[65] The 140-acre (57 ha), 18-hole University of Maryland Golf Course sits at the northern edge of campus, as does the Observatory. The campus is also home to one of the Root Servers, responsible with operating DNS.


The sundial in the center of McKeldin Mall, with McKeldin Library in the background.

The four-person Office of Sustainability was created in summer 2007 after University President Dan Mote became charter signatory of the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) with the goal of campus climate neutrality. The Climate Action Plan Work Group completed an inventory of campus emissions from 2002 to 2007, and will finalize a Climate Action Plan by September 2009. All new constructions and major renovations must satisfy LEED-Silver certification requirements. The office has promoted several initiatives, including an increase in the recycling rate from 37% to a 54% recycling rate in 2008, due in part to the "Feed the Turtle" program for home football games. A spring 2007 student referendum passed to raise student fees by $12 per year, which is still pending approval from the Board of Regents.[66] Power Shift, a national youth climate activism summit, was held at the University of Maryland in November 2007 with 6,000 individuals in attendance.[67]

The university's first Leed Gold building, Knight Hall, opened in April 2010 as the new home for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.[68] Also in April 2010, the Princeton Review named the university one its "Green Colleges."[69] The university added solar panels in the spring of 2010 to the roof of "The Diner" dining hall in North Campus, and plans to add solar panels to the roof of Cole Field House, as well as additional campus buildings in the near future.[70] The university's announced 158,068-square-foot (14,685.0 m2) state-of-the-art Physical Sciences Complex (set to be completed in July 2013) will meet LEED-Silver certification requirements.[71][72]

Student life

Residential life

Talbot Hall in the South Hill community.
Brick entryway near the South Hill Community.

There are two main residential areas on campus, North Campus and South Campus, which are further divided into a total of seven residential communities. North Campus is made up of Cambridge Community (which consists of five residence halls), Denton Community (which currently consists of four halls, including Oakland hall which opened in 2011), and Ellicott Community (consisting of three halls). South Campus includes the North Hill Community, made up of nine Georgian-style halls located immediately west of McKeldin Mall, South Hill Community, made up of fourteen small residence halls for upperclassmen, Leonardtown Community, which offers apartment-style living and is further divided into Old Leonardtown (consisting of six buildings) and New Leonardtown (also consisting of six buildings), the South Campus Commons Community, which consists of seven apartment-style buildings (the seventh and most recent building being opened in January 2010), and the Courtyards, a garden style apartment community in north campus consisting of seven buildings. The South Campus Commons Community and Courtyards, while built on campus, are managed by a private company, Capstone On-Campus Management, as part of a public-private partnership between the company and the University of Maryland.

The university does not have family housing. As of 2011 some students with families have advocated for the addition of family housing.[73]


There are two main dining halls on campus: The Diner is located in the Ellicott Community, and the South Campus Dining Room is located near the South Hill and South Campus Commons communities. A third dining hall, located in the Denton Community, is currently under construction and is scheduled to be opened along with Oakland Hall in the Fall of 2011. A food court in the Stamp Student Union provides a plethora of dining options for the university community. Additionally, twelve cafés are located throughout campus as are five convenience stores (known as "shops"). Two restaurants exists on campus: Adele's Restaurant in the Stamp Student Union and Mulligan's Grill and Pub, located on the University of Maryland Golf Course.


College Park-University of Maryland metro station provides easy and quick access to Downtown Washington DC.

The university is served by the three airports which exist in the greater Washington metropolitan area. A small public airport in College Park, College Park Airport, lies nearly adjacent to campus, but operations are limited.

A free shuttle service, known as Shuttle-UM, is available for all UMD students, faculty, and staff. The university is served by an off-campus stop on the Washington DC Metro Green Line called College Park – University of Maryland. The station is also served by the Camden Line of the MARC train, which runs between Baltimore and Washington. A Shuttle-UM bus (Route 104) arrives at the metro station every five minutes during fall and spring semesters (every ten minutes during the summer) to bring all visitors to campus (currently stopping in front of the Stamp Student Union). The DC Metrobus and the Prince George's County TheBus bus services also stop on campus.

Over 21,000 parking spaces are on campus, in numerous parking lots and garages.[74] Zipcar service is also available on campus for all UMD students, faculty, and staff.[75]

The university has been attempting to make the campus more bike-friendly by installing covered bike parking and bike lockers on campus,[76] introducing a bike-sharing program,[77] and plans to add more bike lanes on campus.[78] The installation of one or more light-rail stops on campus as a part of metropolitan Washington's proposed Purple Line is an ongoing debate.[79][80]

The Diamondback

Atrium of Stamp Student Union, near the food court and co-op

The Diamondback is the independent student newspaper of the University of Maryland. It was founded in 1910 as The Triangle and renamed in 1921 in honor of a local reptile, the Diamondback terrapin, which became the official school mascot in 1933. The newspaper is published daily Monday through Friday during the Spring and Fall semesters, with a print circulation of 17,000 and annual advertising revenues of over $1 million.[81] It has four sections: News, Opinion, Sports, and Diversions.

For the 2008-2009 school year, "The Diamondback" earned a Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists, placing second nationally for Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper and first in its region in the same category.[82] Three years earlier the newspaper had finished third place nationally for Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper and first in its region. [83] Notable journalists who have been with The Diamondback include David Simon of HBO's The Wire and NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street, disgraced Jayson Blair, who was editor-in-chief in 1996 (Blair did not graduate, instead taking a job with The New York Times); Norman Chad, who was editor-in-chief in 1978; cartoonists Aaron McGruder, who first published his cartoon The Boondocks in The Diamondback; and Frank Cho, who began his career with the popular "University Squared" for The Diamondback.


WMUC-FM (88.1 FM) is the university's non-commercial radio station, staffed entirely by UMD students and volunteers. WMUC is a freeform radio station that broadcasts at 10 watts. Its broadcasts can be heard throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Notable WMUC alumni include Connie Chung, Bonnie Bernstein, and Aaron McGruder.

Greek life

Administration building, seen from end of reflecting pool.

About 10% of men and 14% of women in Maryland's undergraduate student body are involved in Greek life.[84] Many of the fraternities and sororities at the school are located on Fraternity Row and the Graham Cracker, which are controlled by the University. Fraternity Row is the background of several recently produced films.

All social Greek organizations are governed by one of three groups: the Inter-Fraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association, or the Pan-Hellenic Council. All cultural Greek organizations are governed by the United Greek Council. These councils assist in the creation and governance of chapter by-laws, risk management plans, and philanthropic activities, with support from the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life.[85] Each year, every Greek organization must fulfill certain requirements, including doing a service and conducting a program/event related to community service, diversity, or alumni and faculty outreach.


Comcast Center, home of Maryland basketball

The university sponsors varsity athletic teams in 27 men's and women's sports. The teams, nicknamed the "Terrapins", represent Maryland in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I competition. Maryland became a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1952. As of December 2010, Maryland's athletic teams have been awarded 38 national championships by the NCAA, USILA, AIAW, and NCA.[86] In 2008 and 2010, The Princeton Review named the University of Maryland's athletic facilities the best in the nation.[87][88] The Terrapins nickname (often shortened to "Terps") was coined by former university president, football coach, and athletic director H. C. "Curly" Byrd in 1932.[89] The mascot is a diamondback terrapin named Testudo, which is Latin for "tortoise."[90] Since the early 20th century, the school athletic colors have been some combination of those on the Maryland state flag: red, white, black, and gold.[91]

Byrd Stadium near capacity on game day

Men's basketball is one of the most popular sports at the university.[92] Long-time head coach Lefty Driesell began the now nationwide tradition of "Midnight Madness in 1971.[93] Beginning in 1989, alumnus Gary Williams revived the program, which was struggling in the wake of Len Bias's death and NCAA rules infractions. Williams led Maryland basketball to national prominence with two Final Four appearances, and in 2002, a national championship. On February 7, 2006, Gary Williams won his 349th game to surpass Driesell and became Maryland's all-time leader among basketball coaches. Maryland football is also popular at the university.[92] The Terrapins were awarded the national championship by the wire services in 1953, and in 1951, by several retroactive selectors. Maryland has secured eleven conference championships, including nine in the ACC, which ranks third most in the league. The Terrapins most recently won the ACC in 2001 under alumnus and head coach Ralph Friedgen.

Maryland fields one of the nation's premier lacrosse programs.

Beyond the two "revenue sports," the university fields 25 other varsity teams. Maryland men's lacrosse remains one of the sport's top programs since its beginnings as a squad in 1865,[94] although it last won the national championship in 1975. The team has secured ten USILA and NCAA national championships since its promotion to varsity status in 1924, and is a regular fixture in the NCAA tournament.[95] The women's lacrosse team has the most national championships of any program in the nation, including most recently in 2010.[96] The women's basketball team rose to prominence in the 2000s, and head coach Brenda Frese guided the Lady Terps to their first NCAA title in 2006.[97] The men' soccer team has reached five Final Fours since 1997 under the guidance of head coach Sasho Cirovski, and captured the College Cup in 2005 and 2008.[98] The women's field hockey team has secured seven NCAA championships.[99] The Maryland wrestling team was dominant in the ACC throughout the 1950s and 1960s and returned to claim two more conference titles in the late 2000s.[100]

The Mighty Sound of Maryland marching band attends all home football games and provides pre-game performances.[101] During the basketball season, the marching band becomes the University of Maryland Pep Band, which provides music in the stands at men's and women's home games and during tournament play.[102]


Statue of Testudo on campus

In 1932, Curley Byrd—who served as the university's football and baseball coach, athletic director, and president—proposed adopting the diamondback terrapin as a mascot. The first statue of Testudo cast in bronze was donated by the Class of 1933 and displayed on Baltimore Avenue in front of Ritchie Coliseum. However, the 300-pound sculpture was subjected to vandalism by visiting college athletic teams.[103] One such incident occurred in 1947 when students from Johns Hopkins University stole the bronze statue and moved it to their campus. Maryland students traveled to Baltimore to retrieve it, and laid siege to the house where it was hidden. Over 200 city police responded to quell the riot.[104] In 1949, University President Byrd was awakened by a phone call from a University of Virginia fraternity requesting that Testudo be removed from their lawn. Testudo was later filled with 700 pounds of cement and fastened to his pedestal to prevent future removals, but students at rival schools continued to vandalize it. It was moved to Byrd Stadium in 1951. In the 1960s, Testudo was moved back to a spot in front of McKeldin Library. Some passersby consider it good luck to rub the statue, which has given its nose a shiny appearance. During finals week, students traditionally leave "offerings" to the statue for good luck.[105][106][107][108]

In 1992 a duplicate statue was placed at Byrd Stadium, where the football team touch it for good luck as they pass by before games. Additional Testudo statues now sit outside of the Gossett Team House near the stadium; Comcast Center, the school's basketball arena; the Riggs Alumni Center; and in the lobby of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union.[107] In 1994, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation to name the diamondback terrapin (malaclemys terrapin terrapin) as the official state reptile and the legally codified mascot of the University of Maryland.[109] Beginning in the 2000s, the university promoted the slogan, "Fear the Turtle" as a rallying cry for school pride.[110]

Notable people

Fountain in front of the Riggs Alumni Center.

University attendees have achieved fame or notability across a variety of disciplines. Famous alumni include physicist Jamal Nazrul Islam, former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; Google co-founder Sergey Brin; The Muppets creator Jim Henson; and Seinfeld producer Larry David. Prominent alumni in business include Jim Walton, President and CEO of CNN; Kevin Plank, founder of the athletic apparel company Under Armour; Chris Kubasik, President of Lockheed Martin; Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; Telecommunications entrepreneur Brian Hinman, and Hamad Al Sayari, Former governor of the Saudi Arabian Central Bank(Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency).

An arched gateway on campus.

Television personality Connie Chung; E! News reporter Giuliana Rancic graduated with a bachelors degree from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. ESPN reporters Bonnie Bernstein, Tim Kurkjian, and Scott Van Pelt all graduated from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Journalist Carl Bernstein, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for his coverage of the Watergate scandal, attended the University but did not graduate. Kiran Chetry, co-host of CNN's American Morning, graduated with a bachelors of arts in broadcast journalism. Heidi Collins of CNN Newsroom graduated with a bachelors of science. Former Maryland governor Harry R. Hughes also attended. Gayle King, editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine, graduated from Maryland with a degree in psychology.

Attendees within the fields of science and mathematics are: Nobel Laureates Raymond Davis Jr., 2002 winner in Physics; Herbert Hauptman, 1985 winner in Chemistry, and Fields Medal winner Charles Fefferman. Other alumni include George Dantzig, considered the father of linear programming; late NASA astronaut Judith Resnik, who died in the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger during the launch of mission STS-51-L; and NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin.

Several donors have distinguished themselves for their sizable gifts to the University. Businessman Robert H. Smith, who graduated from the university in 1950 with a degree in accounting, has given over $45 million to the business school that now bears his name, and to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, which bears his wife's name.[111] Construction entrepreneur A. James Clark, who graduated with an engineering degree in 1950, has also donated over $45 million to the college of engineering, which also bears his name.[111] Another engineering donor, Jeong H. Kim, earned his Ph.D. from the university in 1991 and gave $5 million for the construction of a state-of-the-art engineering building.[112] Philip Merrill, a media figure, donated $10 million to the College of Journalism.[113]


The University of Maryland, College Park Campus has been featured in several films.


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