UNT Celebrating 125 Years

Quite a few things have changed about campus life since our founding in 1890 -- the size of campus, the number of students, the classes they've taken, the technology they've used, the rules they've followed (or haven't followed). But take a look with us across the years and see if you agree that, in some ways, the life of a student is timeless. And if we missed some of your favorites, let us know.



UNT 1901 physics class


  • 1890: Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute
  • 1894: North Texas Normal College
  • 1901: North Texas State Normal College


  • 1890 enrollment, first week: 70
  • Cost: Tuition, $13.50 for 10 weeks; room and board, $2.50 per week
  • Denton population: 2,558, served by 10 trains daily
  • 1901 library: 500 volumes

1910 studentsMilestones

  • 1913: First library building (today's Curry Hall), first formal intercollegiate sports
  • 1919: First four-year bachelor's degrees

Campus life

  • Sample courses: Ornamental penmanship, elocution, telegraphy, domestic science
  • Boarding house rules: No buggy riding at night; no protracted use of the telephone for idle conversation; no leaving the city without the president's permission; return to boarding houses for the night by 7 p.m.
  • Affordability: Let no student or parent imagine that it is necessary to expend a large sum of money in order to get through. It is a fatal mistake. Thousands of good boys have been ruined by too liberal allowances of money at college. Students do not come here to spend money. -- 1890-91 catalog
  • Character: A member of the present session was, by motion, invited to appear before the Faculty and show cause why his certificate and diploma should not be withheld. The charge was that he frequently used profane and indecent language. Mr. ____ acknowledged that the charge was true, but promised to desist from the use of such language in the future. By motion, his character was passed, but he was notified that his certificate and diploma would be cancelled if he failed to keep his promise to desist from the use of such language. -- May 1914 faculty meeting minutes

1910 Denton electric street car(I would stay in Denton) from September to Christmas. It wasn't far down from Fort Worth and it only cost $1.05 to take the train, but you didn't have $1.05 in those days.

-- A.B. Jolley ('12), 1905 freshman (UNT oral history)



College Life Yucca


  • 1923: North Texas State Teachers College


  • 1920 enrollment: 1,138
  • Cost: Tuition free and textbooks furnished; matriculation fee, $15; student activity fee, $15
  • Denton population: 7,626

Campus favorites

  • 'Fessor Graham's Saturday Night Stage Shows
  • Local fraternities and sororities
  • Swimming at the recreation park

1923 library sceneMilestones

  • 1922: Eagle chosen as mascot
  • 1936: First dorm (Marquis Hall) and master's degrees
  • 1938: World track record set by twin twins Elmer and Delmer Brown and Blaine and Wayne Rideout

Campus life

  • Sample courses: Millinery, sanitation, mercantile accounting, rural school problems, the World War, clogging (athletic dance)
  • Extracurricular activities: A point system was in place to keep students from becoming overburdened with work in student organizations. In 1920, the maximum number of points allowed per student per term was 20. Examples of points assigned: Campus Chat editor, 15 points; college athlete, 10 points; class president, 2 points; orchestra member, 1 point.

Yucca - Avesta 1931(Transportation was) like sole leather. … You just walked. … The first traffic problems they had were with the summer teachers' cars. That was a real problem because the streets were narrow.

-- President J.C. Matthews ('25), remembering his days as a student at North Texas in the 1920s (UNT oral history)

Once, when I got in line (for registration), I got my arm up over my head and couldn't get it back down for a little bit. It was so crowded.

-- Elizabeth Teasley ('41), 1937 freshman (UNT oral history)



1942 students at the post officeNames

  • 1949: North Texas State College


  • 1940 enrollment: 3,581
  • Cost: Texas residents, $36 fee each semester; residents of other states, fee equivalent to the amount their schools charged Texas students (no less than $36 a semester)
  • Room and board: Marquis and Terrill, $26 to $27.50 per month; Chilton, $24 per month or $17 per month for board only
  • Denton population: 11,192
  • Campus: 45 acres, including athletic fields; 15 brick buildings, 17 frame buildings
  • Library: 100,000 volumes

1950 Yucca - students on the telephone.Campus favorites

  • Contributing to the war effort, GI Bill
  • Ugliest Man on Campus
  • Scrappy
  • Greek life
  • Abner Haynes
  • North Texas Push, dancing on the Slab
  • Union Coffeecake


  • 1945: First colleges and schools
  • 1946: First lab band, first bowl game and win (Optimist Bowl)
  • 1949: First permanent Union
  • 1949-1952: Four national golf championships
  • 1953: First doctoral degree
  • 1954, 1956: Desegregation

Chart toppers

  • "Love Letters in the Sand," Pat Boone
  • "Ooby Dooby," Roy Orbison (written by North Texas students Dick Penner and Wade Moore)

Campus life

  • Sample courses: Radio speaking, dance band arranging, secretarial science, atomic physics, educating for the Air Age, beginners' Russian, climate and man
  • Dress code: Slacks, dresses made to show the midriff and shorts are considered out of place in the living rooms and dining rooms of residence halls, campus homes, classes, and on the streets. … Girls are asked not to wear rolled-up hair with or without a scarf on the street, to classes or in the dining rooms. In case of an emergency a girl should speak to her dormitory director. -- 1954 Tip-Off student handbook, edited by Bill Moyers

1950 Scrappy and trainer Ellen Latimer(The women) never did go to bed at night. ... They said they washed their hair, and they wrote letters and they visited. They had lots to talk about.

-- Imogene Bentley Dickey Mohat, recalling dorm life in 1944, her first year as dean of women (UNT oral history)

I think, when I started, they used to come into a show for 15 cents but later it got raised to the 'outrageous' price of 25 cents. You could see a full-length movie and have a stage show, also. … I owe 'Fessor Graham everything. If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't have gotten a college education, I don't suppose.

-- Gene Hall ('41, '44 M.A.), jazz studies founder and lab band director, recalling his student days playing in the stage band for 'Fessor Graham's Saturday Night Stage Shows, making $7 a week (UNT oral history)



1968 Martin Luther King marchNames

  • 1961: North Texas State University


  • 1960 enrollment: 7,480
  • Denton population: 26,844
  • Campus: 300 acres, 40 brick buildings
  • Library: 340,000 volumes

Campus favorites

  • Joe Greene
  • Basketball in the Snake Pit and the Super Pit
  • Marches, protests
  • Paperbacks
  • Earth Day
  • Streakers
  • Flying Worm
  • Co-ed dorms

1962 Yucca - Move-inMilestones

  • Lab 1975: First of seven Grammy nominations for One O'Clock Lab Band

Chart toppers

  • "Wildfire," Michael Martin Murphey
  • "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," Meat Loaf

Campus life

  • Sample courses: Field lab in conservation education, international relations, use of the slide rule, introduction to computers

1963 snowball fightIt's usually a good idea to sit near the front (of class). But if there's a pretty girl in the back, the pursuit of good grades shouldn't be allowed to interfere with the pursuit of happiness.

-- New student advice, Johnny Hendrik ('68), 1966, Campus Chat

It's a pretty good school and I'm finally getting used to the hippies.

Anonymous Denton resident quoted in the 1973 Yucca yearbook



1982 Yucca - UNT cheerleadersNames

  • 1988: University of North Texas


  • 1980 enrollment: 17,158
  • Denton population: 48,063
  • 1990 library: Just under 2 million cataloged holdings

Campus favorites

  • Fry Street Fair
  • Eppy
  • Big hair
  • Teleregistration
  • Hacky-sack
  • Blood drives
  • Necessary Roughness
  • Recycling
  • Online classes
  • Email

Chart toppers

  • "Boys of Summer," Don Henley
  • "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Deep Blue Something


  • 1988: Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science
  • 1990: Centennial
  • 1998: First green building (Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building)
  • 1999: World-class music hall (Murchison Performing Arts Center)

1987 Aerie - students playing foosballCampus life

  • Sample courses: On-line information services, introductory game programming, digital photography

Everyone knows college students don't have any money. That's why they are in college.

-- Freshman Iris Perez ('92), commenting in the 1987 Aerie about the price of textbooks (a new book cost $30)



2009 Spirit MarchNumbers

  • 2000 enrollment: 27,054
  • Denton population: 80,537
  • Campus: 498 acres, 140 structures

Campus favorites

  • New Orleans and Heart of Dallas bowls
  • Texting, Facebook, Twitter
  • Sustainability
  • REAL communities
  • The Big Event
  • A-train
  • Apogee Stadium

2015 First Flight event, playing video gamesMilestones

  • 2002: Discovery Park development
  • 2003: Pohl Recreation Center
  • 2010: First LEED-certified building (Life Sciences Complex)

Chart toppers

  • "Come Away With Me," Norah Jones
  • "Nuthin," Lecrae

Campus life

  • Sample courses: Aviation logistics, biomedical instrumentation, migrants and refugees, digital retailing strategies

I'm far away enough from home where my parents can't just show up over the weekend, or I'm also close enough where they can still reach up and zap me if they need to.

-- Student commenting on UNT's prime location, 2000



UNT 2015 Commencement ceremoniesNumbers

  • 2015 enrollment: 37,231
  • Campus: 900 acres; 172 buildings, including 15 residence halls
  • Library: 7 million print and digital items
  • Latest Denton population estimate: 128,205
  • Student organizations: More than 400

Campus favorites

  • UNT tartan
  • Free Wi-Fi on the square
  • Albino squirrel
  • Instagram
  • New Union
  • Celebrating 125 years

We have five different dining halls, plus tons of retail options -- and coffee shops, because caffeine's probably going to be the most important part of your day.

-- Student talking about campus life as part of a UNT virtual tour, 2015