1920 – 

19th Amendment granting women the right to vote

1920 – 

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) founded by one woman and two men

1924 – 

The Citizenship Act granted full citizenship to Indians

1929 – 

The League of United Latin American Citizens founded to fight for civil rights of Hispanics

UM Charter

UM obtains charter to operate.....
» more

Iron Arrow

Nine male students found the first honor society.....
» more

Bertha Foster

Bertha M. Foster becomes the first female to.....
» more

First Class

The first class of six students graduates.....
» more

UM Seal

UM's first Hispanic student.....
» more



Luis Montero

UM gets its first exchange student.....
» more

Orange Bowl

UM proposes section of Orange Bowl for Blacks.....
» more


1941 – 

G.I. Bill provides education for returning World War II Veterans

1942 – 

Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) was founded

1947 – 

President's Committee on Civil Rights was established to investigate civil rights status in the U.S.

Football team

Um cancels a home football game.....
» more

Panch Segura

UM student, Pancho Segura wins.....
» more


The GI Bill results in a flood of World War II veterans.....
» more


UM refuses to play Penn State.....
» more


1954 – 

Brown vs. Board of education of Topeka, Supreme Court bans segregation in public schools

1957 – 

First Civil Rights Bill grants voting rights to Blacks

1959 – 

Cuban Revolution

Lester Wheeler

UM offers two off campus graduate courses for Blacks.....
» more

Medical School Graduates

UM School of Medicine selects 28 students.....
» more

UM Seal

A policy was approved that UM School of Medicine accept.....
» more


UM's Student Government adopts a resolution for desegregation.....
» more


1964 – 

Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, protecting citizens against discrimination and segregation

1965 – 

Voting Rights Act approved

1965 – 

Executive Order 11246 issued requiring federal agencies and contractors to take "affirmative action" in overcoming employment discrimination

1966 – 

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is established to fight for political equality between the sexes

Board of Trustees

UM drops its policy of racial segregation.....
» more

Koubek Center

UM establishes the Cuban Cultural Center.....
» more

Ray Bellamy

UM signs first Black football player.....
» more


COISO is organized.....
» more


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks on campus.....
» more


The Federation of Cuban Students is founded.....
» more


UM formally recognizes UBS.....
» more


UM appoints first Black to office.....
» more


Black students stage protest.....
» more

Um Seal

UM files an affirmative action plan.....
» more


1971 – 

Equal Rights Amendment passes Congress was not ratified

1972 – 

Title IX prohibits participation based on gender

1972 – 

Senate approves Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

1973 – 

The American Medical Association calls for the repeal of all state laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults


UM hires first Black professors.....
» more


Alpha Phi Alpha becomes first fraternity for Blacks.....
» more

James Cheek

Dr. James Cheek becomes UM's first Black board member.....
» more


UM forms a Women's Commission.....
» more

UM Seal

UM is cited for violations against the newly instated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.....
» more


Ibis yearbook reports academic achievement awards for Blacks.....
» more

UM Seal

WWMA is founded.....
» more

Women's Commission

The Women's Commission forms a report on the status of women on campus.....
» more

Soia Mentschikoff

The first female dean at UM.....
» more

UM Seal

UM severs ties with Iron Arrow.....
» more

Catherine Poole

The first woman to chair a medical school department
» more


1981 – 

Sandra Day O'Connor is the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

1982 – 

The Supreme Court holds that states have the right to outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults

1984 – 

Geraldine Ferraro is the first woman vice-presidential candidate of a major political party (Democrat)

1986 – 

The Supreme Court declares that sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination

Iron Arrow 2

A motion to allow women into Iron Arrow was passed.....
» more

Vinny Testerverde

Vinny Testaverde wins Heisman Trophy.....
» more


1990 – 

Congress passes the Americans with Disabilities Act, banning discrimination against people with disabilities

1991 – 

Civil Rights Act to trial by jury, limits damages

1993 – 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed

1993 – 

"Don't Act, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue Policy" on gays in the military


Senior Mwambo Ceremony is established.....
» more


2006 – 

No child left behind in public education

President Shalala

Donna Shalala becomes the first women president of UM.....
» more

James Wyche

Dr. James Wyche becomes UM's first Black dean.....
» more

Benny O'Berry

UM pays tribute to first Black student.....
» more


UM launches SEEDS.....
» more


Earthquake devastates Haiti...
» more

Women's Basketball Team

» more

1925 UM Charter

The charter for the University of Miami is granted on April 8. The University is born out of the dream and financial backing of city founder George Merrick, the hard work of retired businessman Frederic Zeigen, and the community connections of Judge William E. Walsh. The first students register on October 15, 1926 and classes begin on October 18.

1926 Iron Arrow

A suggestion made by President Bowman Foster Ashe was to have a men honorary and service fraternity adapted to the University of Miami. The result was Iron Arrow, whose ritual is based on Seminole Indian practice and tradition and whose members wear Seminole jackets on all ritual occasions. The purpose of the society was to honor those male students who had contributed significantly to the "glory, fame and growth" of the University.

1926 Bertha Foster

Bertha M. Foster becomes the University of Miami's head of the Music School. She is the first person and the first woman at the University to be designated director of a school.

1927 First Class

The first commencement ceremony was held on June 17, 1927. There were six students, four women and two men that graduated. Graduates pictured here are (left to right): Abby Howe Newton, Harriet Cooperman, Joseph Ernest Wolfe, William Harrison Dempsey, Alma Eugenia Montgomery, and Mrs. Oscar E. (Constance) Dooly.

1928 UM Seal

The first Hispanic-American student to register at the University of Miami was Cuban-born Carlota Sarah Wright. She attended her first class in 1928. Two years later, in 1930, Fernando Belaunde-Terry came from Peru and Jose Benavides from Havana to attend the University. By 1970 there were approximately 1,500 Cuban exile students attending the university.

1932 Luis Montero

In 1932, The Miami Rotary Club brought its first exchange scholarship student, Luis Montero, from Lima, Peru to study business administration. One year later, he was the only Latin student at the University after Fernando Belaunde-Terry, another student from Peru left for Texas to complete his studies in architecture.

1939 Orange Bowl

The University of Miami proposes a section of the Orange Bowl stadium for Blacks.

1940 Football team

The University of Miami cancels a home football game with UCLA because UCLA had four Blacks players on the team; Jackie Robinson, All-American and future NFL pro Kenny Washington, future actor Woody Stode, and lineman Ray Bartlett were all on this UCLA squad.

1940 Panch Segura

Ecuadorian, Pancho Segura was sent to the United States as a player for the University of Miami, where he won three straight NCAA single tennis championships from 1942 to 1944.

1941 GI

The G.I. Bill results in a flood of World War II veterans enrolling in the University of Miami and other U.S. colleges. More than half of the 1,614 regular UM students were service personnel. The first veteran to register at the UM was Melvin Edward Whitmire.


In 1946, the University of Miami refused to play Penn State in football because two Black players, Dennie Hoggard and Wally Triplett, blacks played for the Nittany Lions. While the University resisted integrating their Coral Gables campus, the Hurricanes did eventually play the University of Iowa in 1950 at a home game in the Orange Bowl, which was the first time a college football team with black players, had ever played a game in the Deep South.

1951 Lester Wheeler

On September 26, Dr. Lester R. Wheeler, Professor and Director of the Reading Clinic began teaching the first University of Miami class for Blacks at Booker T. Washington High School. It was Education 528 "Techniques in Diagnostics Reading," a two-credit course. Thus, the University was teaching off-campus courses for Blacks ten years before the campus was desegregated.

1952 Medical School Graduates

There were 28 students (26 men and 2 women) that were selected from 500 applicants to make up the first class at the University of Miami School of Medicine. In 1956, the first class of 26 medical doctors graduated from the School of Medicine. The class was comprised of 23 men and 3 women - Drs. Margaret Crawford, Kathleen Everitt, and Elaine Ross.

1956 UM Seal

On July 2, the trustees approve a policy that the University of Miami School of Medicine accepts, for processing, any application for admission to said School of Medicine from any citizen of Florida who meets the requirement under the bill granting a subsidy to the University.

1958 USG

On April 18, the student newspaper, the Hurricane, reported that the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) had adopted, by a vote of 14-11, a resolution calling for the desegregation of the University of Miami.

1961 Board of Trustees

On January 31, the Board of Trustees voted to admit qualified students without regard to race or color beginning in the summer of 1961. For the first time, Black students attended classes that summer on the Coral Gables campus and were allowed full participation in student activities and sports teams. Benny O'Berry was the first Black student to enroll in classes on the campus. O'Berry went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in the School of Education and received his diploma in 1962.

1964 Koubek Center

In 1965, The University of Miami established the Cuban Cultural Center at the Koubek Memorial Center to help recently arrived Cuban exiles adjust to life in the United States. Many refugees participated in the vocation and cultural programs offered at the Center. To this day, the Koubek Center continues to provide cultural and educational programs to the community.

1966 Ray Bellamy

Ray Bellamy becomes the first Black football player for the University of Miami. With Bellamy, the University becomes the first major college in the Deep South with a Black football player on scholarship. Later, in 1972, Bellamy becomes the first Black to be elected president of the student body. Two years later, Black student, Tom Sullivan arrived as a freshman as the University's second black football player, followed by Chuck Foreman and Burgess Owens a year after that in 1969.

1966 COISO

In May, all foreign student groups organized in the Council of International Student Organizations (COISO) began to observe International Students Week. By 1967, the University of Miami had registered more than 2,000 foreign students, making it fourth in the nation in international enrollment.

1966 MLKing

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement speaks on the University of Miami campus. Two years later, on April 4, 1968 when Dr. King was assassinated, classes were canceled for a memorial service on campus.


The Federation of Cuban Students was founded at the University of Miami, aimed at introducing the Cuban heritage to the campus, no only in social, but in cultural events as well. The FEC is still active today and is one of the most active student organizations on campus. The organization promotes cultural awareness of Cuban traditions, history, music, and current events.

1967 UBS

The University of Miami extends formal recognition to United Black Students (UBS), organized and led by Harold Long and Willard Butler. Black students found in UBS some identity, social life, communication and group action which they sought.


Chester A. Byrd, former dean of Everglades Junior High School becomes associate director of student activities, the first Black appointed to an administrative office at the University of Miami. He also serves as the advisor to the United Black Students (USB) and to the all-Jewish Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.


On May 14, fourteen Black students occupied the outer office of the president's suite, in the Ashe Building, in protest that progress was too slow regarding the United Black Student's list of proposals for more Black students, professors and inclusion of Afro-American studies in the curriculum.

1969 Um Seal

The University of Miami files an affirmative action program with the Health Education and Welfare (HEW) office in Atlanta, Georgia, setting forth the steps it would take to achieve equal rights for minorities.


The University of Miami hires its first African American professors, Dr. Whittington B. Johnson, Department of History, and Mr. Joseph Middlebrooks in Architecture.


In May, Alpha Phi Alpha becomes the first social fraternity for Blacks. Since its founding on December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and people of color around the world. The illustrious brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated were the first black Greeks to establish a black fraternal organization at the University of Miami. On Friday, April 17, 1970, Steve Jenkins, Joseph King, Elvis W. Pascal, Willie J. Rogers, Alonzo P. Walker, and William C. Simmons chartered the Eta Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Realizing the potential and the need for such an organization on campus, the “six pearls” sought to create a brotherhood in which black males of like mind could grow together and fulfill the aims “Manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind.”

1971 James Cheek

Dr. James E. Cheek was the first African American to become a member of the University of Miami's Board of Trustees. He served on the Board from 1971 to 1976, and served as a wise and helpful counselor to the trustees and administration as the University struggled with the many complex and sensitive issues facing African American students and faculty.


President Henry King Stanford appoints the University of Miami Women's Commission to assist him in considerations of the status of women. The Commission is concerned with reviewing policies, procedures and attitudes that affect the status of women at UM. The Commission is committed to encouraging a general awareness of women's needs and interests, developing educational resources about issues confronting women, and providing support for University women, both students and staff, who wish to organize task forces to accomplish special projects of interest to University women.

1972 UM Seal

The University of Miami was cited for violation against the newly instated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The primary violations cited was that female athletes were not afforded the same access to facilities or privileges ads that males were. Title IX states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Simply put, equivalent treatment, benefits, and opportunities should be afforded to both sexes. This was not the case at the University of Miami.


UM's Ibis yearbook reported that the UBS goals of involvement was being realized and listed a series of firsts for the 1971-1972 school year, including the first woman chairperson of UBS, Vaughncill Molden. Molden sponsored the first orientation week for Black students and it was also the first time that Black students received academic achievement awards. Additionally, during this time, the USB gained an ex officio seat in the USG Senate.

1973 UM Seal

A small group of African American administrators and faculty concerned with issues faced by African American students and employees at the University started the Woodson-Williams-Marshall Association (WWMA). WWMA is named in honor of three outstanding contributors to the African American experience: Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month; Daniel H. Williams, the Black pioneer in the field of heart surgery; and Thurgood Marshall, the first African American appointed to the United States Supreme Court. The University of Miami Alumni Association/Black Alumni Society and the WWMA are committed to serving and uniting African and African American alumni for the purpose of advancing the interests of the University, while recruiting, mentoring and retaining students of African descent in all academic fields.

1974 Women's Commission

The Women’s Commission issued a report on the status of women at the University and made a number or recommendations. The report listed differences in numbers, salary, rank, tenure and committee appointments as well as general attitudes. The results were the University’s first female commencement speaker, Dr. Rita Hauser, attorney and representative to the United Nations, a day care at the Episcopalian Church on the University of Miami campus, and the success of the University's offering of a Minor in Women’s Studies.

1974 Soia Mentschikoff

Soia Mentschikoff becomes the first female dean at the University of Miami. Although she was not a feminist, she is often cited for her many firsts: she was one of the first female partners in a Wall Street firm, she was the first woman to teach at Harvard and the University of Chicago, and she was the first female president of the American Association of Law. Mentschikoff was an American lawyer, law professor, and legal scholar, best known for her work in the development and drafting of the Uniform Commercial Code. She was also involved in the American Bar Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and numerous other organizations.

1976 UM Seal

The feminist movement challenged Iron Arrow's policy of not admitting women, and there were charges that the tribe was demeaning to native Americans. The case was investigated by the Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW), who found nothing demeaning to native Americans, but had a problem with the non-admittance of women. Although a number of votes were taken by the tribe on several occasions to allow women, but all failed. As a result of Iron Arrow's resistance, the society was severed from the university in 1976.

1978 Catherine Poole

Dr. Catherine Anne Poole becomes the first woman to chair a medical school department or radiology in the United States when she was named to that position at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

1985 Iron Arrow 2

A motion to allow women into Iron Arrow was passed and the tribe returned to the University of Miami as “The Highest Honor Attained at the University.” The tribe tapped the first woman, Dorothy Ashe-Dunn, into Iron Arrow on February 28, 1985. Iron Arrow's first female chief was Elizabeth Rodriquez in 1988.

1986 Vinny Testerverde

Italian-American quarterback Vinny Testaverde becomes the first University of Miami Hurricane football player to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. One of his most memorable performances was in Miami's 28-16 victory over top-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl by completing 75% of his passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. In 1992, a second Italian-American quarterback, Gino Toretta wins the University's second Heisman Trophy.

1992 Mwambo

The Senior Mwambo is an African rite of passage ceremony that marks the transition of black graduates from their lives at the University of Miami to advanced education and professional careers. This ceremony was established in 1992 through the vision and love of a very dynamic and caring international student from Malawi, East Africa; Mr. Patrick A. Masala. The term "Mwambo" literally means ceremonial rite of passage. It is Chichewa and comes to us from Malawi, East Africa where it was founded. The Senior Mwambo is an African rite of passage ceremony designed to recognize the accomplishments of our black graduates and their families. It is a celebration of the transition from one stage of life to the next. African American graduates were honored at the first Mwambo ceremony in 1993.

2001 President Shalala

The fifth and first woman president of the University of Miami, Donna E. Shalala, took office on June 1, 2001. President Shalala received her A.B. degree in history from Western College for Women and her Ph.D. degree from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She has held tenured professorships at Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), and the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She served as President of Hunter College of CUNY from 1980 to 1987 and as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 1993. In 1993 President Bill Clinton appointed her Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years.

2002 James Wyche

The University of Miami’s first African American dean is Dr. James Wyche, an established biology professor and researcher. He was also appointed Vice Provost by President Shalala. Dr. Wyche holds a B.S. in bacteriology from Cornell University, an M.A. from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in biology from Johns Hopkins University. He has served in a number of positions with the National Advisory Research Resource Council, National Institutes of Health, and is extensively published in the field of cellular biology.

2006 Benny O'Berry

In an historic year for the nation's civil rights movement, the University of Miami School of Education salutes Benny O'Berry, the first Black to enroll and graduate from the University of Miami. O'Berry received a Bachelor of Science degree in the School of Education and received his diploma in 1962 at the age of 46.

2008 SEEDS

The University of Miami launches SEEDS (Scientist and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success), an initiative to boost the number of women and minority faculty. SEED orchestrates grass-roots efforts to study and improve climate and policies for programs designed to increase opportunities for all scientists and engineers at the University. SEEDS covers all four University of Miami science colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Engineering, and the Miller School of Medicine. SEEDS orchestrates to assure dissemination of SEEDS and other diversity information, works with chairs and search committees to address implicit bias issues and to aid recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minorities, and forms a University wide entity that is visibly focused on science and engineering careers and diversity..

2010 Haiti

One day after a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake strikes Haiti, Miller School medical personnel arrive in Port-au-Prince to begin caring for the injured.

2013 Women's Basketball Team

Women's Basketball reaches the NCAA Tournament.