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University of Dubuque

For the college also previously known as Dubuque College, see Loras College.
University of Dubuque
Motto Mancherlei Gaben und Ein Geist (trans: Many Talents and One Spirit)
Established 1852
Type Private University
Affiliation Presbyterian Church (USA)
Endowment US $53.7 million[1]
President Rev. Jeffrey Bullock
Students 1,559[2]

Dubuque, Iowa, USA
42°29′54″N 90°41′32″W / 42.498460°N 90.692194°W / 42.498460; -90.692194Coordinates: 42°29′54″N 90°41′32″W / 42.498460°N 90.692194°W / 42.498460; -90.692194{{#coordinates:42.498460|-90.692194||||||| |primary |name=

Campus Urban

Royal Blue and White

Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot Sparty the Spartan
The arches from the former Steffens Hall. Blades Hall and the Dunlap Technology building are also visible.
Meyers Teaching and Administrative Center under construction

The University of Dubuque is a Presbyterian university located in Dubuque, in the U.S. state of Iowa, with a general attendance of approximately 1,600 students. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It is one of three four-year post-secondary institutions in the City of Dubuque, and is commonly referred to as UD ("you dee"). The Greek system (of fraternities) is historically present.


The school is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the State of Iowa Department of Education, the Council on Aviation Accreditation, and the Association of Theological Schools in North America.[3]


The University of Dubuque consists of a Theological Seminary and three schools:

School of Business

School of Liberal Arts

School of Professional Programs


The school has been involved in intercollegiate sports for many decades. The teams are called the Spartans, and the school colors are blue and white. There was a brief period, from 1925–28, when the university withdrew from intercollegiate sports and focused on intramural competition. This was done because University president Karl Wettstone was opposed to the commercialization of sports and the recruiting of athletes with offers of free tuition, room, and board. There also were concerns about the salaries some coaches had received, which were felt to be excessive compared to the compensation paid other department heads. Following the reinstatement of intercollegiate competition, the University of Dubuque joined the Iowa Conference (IIAC) in 1929.

The University of Dubuque is a member of NCAA Division III, and is part of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which, in addition to the University of Dubuque, currently includes Buena Vista University, Coe College, Central College, Luther College, Loras College, Simpson College, and Wartburg College. Men's varsity sports include football, baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, lacrosse, indoor and outdoor track, tennis, and wrestling. Women's varsity sports include basketball, soccer, golf, cross country, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, track, and tennis.

In 2008, the school officially recognized its first club sports team, ice hockey. Students now have the opportunity to participate in an increasingly popular winter sport against other conference rivals including Loras and Cornell college while attending the University of Dubuque.


The University of Dubuque relies heavily on donations from alumni and members of the community. The University of Dubuque ranks third in the state of Iowa for the amount of funds it is able to raise.[4] The University of Iowa and Iowa State University rank higher than the University of Dubuque. The university raised $28,134,349 in 2007.[4]


The University of Dubuque has had a long history in Dubuque since its founding in 1852. It has gone through many changes over the years and has recently experienced a controversial, but prosperous rebirth.

Early years

The institution currently known as the University of Dubuque was founded by the Rev. Adrian Van Vliet, who was pastor of the German Presbyterian Church, now known as the First Presbyterian Church of Dubuque,[5] in 1852 to train ministers to serve the influx of immigrants to the upper midwest. Van Vliet believed the large number of immigrants — particularly German farmers and miners — would need ministers of the gospel for the communities they were establishing. He began by training two young men, conducting classes in his home. Although Van Vliet was Dutch, until 1896 all classes were conducted in German.

Initially the school was Van Vliet's independent endeavor. In 1864 the Presbytery of Dubuque assumed control of the institution, and it became known as The German Theological School of The North West. In 1870 the Presbyterian Church of the United States took control of the school. In 1871, following the death of Van Vliet, Jacob Conzett was selected to lead the school. In 1872 the school moved to a brick building on the north side of 17th street, where it would remain for the next 35 years.

In 1901 Cornelius Martin Steffens came on board as financial secretary. He proved to be an outstanding fund raiser. He also helped the school expand its curriculum. A liberal arts college and academy were added to the school, and the first college degrees were granted in 1906. It was Steffens's idea to move the school to larger quarters. Property on the western edge of the city was acquired in 1905 for that purpose. Steffens served as school president from 1908 to 1924.

The school moved to its present location on University Avenue in 1907. The first buildings constructed at this new location were the Administration Building (1907, later renamed Steffens Hall), Severance Hall (1911), the University Bookstore (1912), McCormick Gymnasium (1915), Peters Commons (1916), and Van Vliet Hall (1926). All except Steffens Hall are still standing. Steffens Hall was demolished in 1980 and replaced with Blades Hall, but the some of its archways were preserved and can be seen today.

In 1911 the college became coeducational. In 1916 the school, then known as the Dubuque German College and Seminary, dropped the word "German" from its name, due in part to anti-German sentiment inflamed by the First World War, and became known as Dubuque College. However, present-day Loras College, located just down the street, also called itself Dubuque College. In the end, neither school kept that name. The Roman Catholic school took the name of Mathias Loras, first archbishop of Dubuque, while the Presbyterian school became the University of Dubuque on June 17, 1920.[6]


In the 1950s and '60s, during the administration of Dr. Gaylord Couchman, a number of building projects took place: the Seminary Library (1955), Smith Hall, a seminary residence (1956), Goldthorp Science Hall (1959), Aitchison Hall, a women's residence (1963), Ficke-Laird Library (1966), Cassat Hall, a men's residence (1966), and Donnell Hall, another men's residence (1967).

McCormick Gymnasium was expanded in 1967. Another large addition to it, named the Stoltz Sports Center, was made later. The original building was also renovated to include a new indoor swimming pool, racquetball courts, a hall of fame, and a multi-purpose area.

Controversy, change, and new leadership

In 1999, the university informed 14 professors, 10 of whom held tenured positions, that they would lose their positions due to a financial crisis.[7] A report by The American Association of University Professors raised concerns about this action, and the AAUP placed the university on its list of censured administrations (where it still remains).[7] The university was granted a provisional six-year accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools due to concerns about academics in the wake of the financial crisis. In 2005, however, the university was granted a full accreditation after a lengthy review process.[8]

In 2003 the university received an endowment to implement the Lester G. Wendt and Michael Lester Wendt Character Initiative, currently overseen by the Wendt Center for Character Education, which among other tasks encourages ethical character development of university students and integration of the same into the university curriculum.[9] Also associated with the Wendt name was a Wendt University Professorship, granted in 2005 to Dr. Paul Jeffries, a professor of philosophy. (Note that this is not Paul C. Jeffries, also a Ph.D. in philosophy, who used to be in academia but now works in technology.) As the Wendt professor, Dr. Jeffries was to oversee the initiative and "speak broadly" about it in the university and external community.

During the same year, Dr. Jeffries came up for a new tenure contract. The university offered him a contract, but he objected to a provision restricting negative speech about the university, which he felt could interfere with his objectivity in speaking about ethics and character. The offer of tenure was immediately revoked and Dr. Jeffries was dismissed from the university, an action that stirred considerable unrest among students and faculty.[10]

Continued Development

The university has completed building additional student housing on land adjacent to Dodge Street, the main east-west thoroughfare through the city. This property remained vacant for many years until the new apartments were built. Park Village apartments are typically only available to upperclassmen. The university currently has approximately 1800 students in attendance.

Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center

At the end of the 2006 football season, the University of Dubuque received $22 million from Joseph (Class of 1968) and Linda Chlapaty to build the new Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center as well as support renovations to Stoltz Sports Center.

The Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center, an Script error: No such module "convert". facility, enveloped the existing football stadium as well as additional construction looking west. The expanded facilities are handicap accessible and include a 6900-square-foot, 2-level fitness center including areas for cardiovascular workout and free weights/machines; a 200-meter, 6-lane indoor track with synthetic flooring for fitness walking and performance; 4 multi-use courts nested in the center of the track for intramurals and indoor practices; a Script error: No such module "convert".-wide concourse running the length of the facility, overlooking the track and courts; a training room including hydrotherapy tubs and examination rooms; home, visitor, officials and faculty/staff locker rooms; a juice bar/lounge area; a football stadium including east side visitor seating and an expanded concessions area; a reconfigured press area; a lighted field; a synthetic field turf surface, new outdoor track, and relocated tennis courts.[11][12][13][14]

Notable alumni

Notable graduates of the University of Dubuque include Edward Solomon "Sol" Butler, a track star who set national and world records, competed in the 1920s Olympics and was one of the first black players in the National Football League as well as an early actor in Hollywood films. 1926 graduate of the University, Nemesio Rodriguez, an exchange student from Lima, Peru, later went on to become the prime minister of education for the country of Peru (he also married classmate of '26, Florence Parker), actor Tony Danza,[15] a star of the TV sitcoms Taxi and Who's the Boss?; and novelist Eckhard Gerdes, author of ten published novels, including My Landlady the Lobotomist and Hugh Moore. George O'Leary, current football coach at the University of Central Florida played football at the university in the 1960s but did not graduate. O'Leary gained notoriety when he was hired then dropped as Notre Dame head coach when it was discovered that he fabricated his resume. Jim Leavitt, former head coach of the University of South Florida from 1997-2009 and currently the linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers, was an assistant football coach at the University of Dubuque in the early eighties.

Field of Dreams movie location

Along with other places in Dubuque County, the university was used as a shooting location for the motion picture Field of Dreams. The Seminary Library, Blades Hall, and Van Vliet Hall were used in a scene where Kevin Costner's character is researching Terrance Mann. The movie made it appear the library was located in Van Vliet Hall, which is incorrect. Van Vliet is currently an office building, although a new administration building was recently completed. Also, the spot where Annie parked the family pickup truck was and still is in a "no parking" zone.

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ "University of Dubuque 2007-2008 Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  3. ^ "University of Dubuque: Education for a Changing World". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  4. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "The University of Dubuque, 1923, History". 2014-06-14. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  6. ^ University of Dubuque. "History". Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Reeb, Donald J.; Derrick, M. Elizabeth; Moore, Robert K. (September–October 2001). "Academic Freedom & Tenure: University of Dubuque". Academe: Bulletin of the AAUP (Washington, D.C.: American Association of University Professors) 97 (5): 62–73. 
  8. ^ "University of Dubuque Viewbook". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  9. ^ "The Wendt Character Initiative". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  10. ^ "The Story Thus Far". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ [3][dead link]
  13. ^ [4][dead link]
  14. ^ [5][dead link]
  15. ^ "Tony Danza Biography". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 

External links

The new portion of the Goldthorp Science Hall, under construction in March 2006. A portion of the original building can be seen at the right rear of the image.