The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami is a community of scholars and students that encourages the quest for a deeper understanding of the human experience and fosters a personal commitment to lifelong learning, intellectual growth, and the enduring values of the liberal arts.

The College is dedicated to helping students develop analytical and communication skills, creative abilities, and a sense of civic responsibility needed in an increasingly complex society. It strives to provide them with a rigorous grounding in their chosen field, an awareness of the interconnectedness of disciplines, and an exposure to the discovery of new knowledge.

The College seeks to create an intellectual environment that enhances individual growth and supports scholarly activities and creative endeavors that augment human knowledge and understanding.

Lists of Notable UM A&S Firsts (in Chronological order)

  • The College of Arts and Sciences enrolls the University’s first student Frank Haughtaling in 1926. He graduates with a B.S. in 1930.1 2
  • UM’s first faculty member is Henry Skinner West in the School of Liberal Arts (later College of Arts and Sciences).  He also became the Dean of Education a year later. 3
  • College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Public Speaking Ruth Bryan Owen is the first female professor at UM. 4
  • College of Arts and Sciences student Carlota Wright, from Santiago de Cuba, is the First Hispanic American student to register at UM in 1933. 5
  • The Hispanic-American Studies program is founded in 1937 as part of the College of Arts and Sciences. It is the U’s first interdisciplinary program. 6
  • College of Arts and Sciences Professor Robert E. McNicoll’s 1938 book on Simon Bolivar is the first book by a UM faculty member to be published. 7
  • The College of Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with the Graduate School, offers the U’s first graduate programs in English, History, Botany, and Zoology in 1942. 8
  • Diplomat and College of Arts and Sciences Professor Victor Belaunde becomes the first faculty member from UM to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1944.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences’ Lowe Art Museum opens in 1952 as the first art museum in South Florida. 9
  • In 1953, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Ring Theatre is built with an unusual circular design and fully customizable seating configuration, making it first-of-its-kind in the world of theater. 10
  • Paul Dirac is the first Nobel Prize winner on the UM faculty when he joins the Center for Theoretical Studies at the College of Arts and Sciences in 1969.
  • College of Arts and Sciences distinguished Professor of History Whittington B. Johnson becomes the first black UM faculty member in 1970. 11
  • College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Sociology Alvin. W. Rose becomes UM’s first black department chair in 1976. 12
  • College of Arts and Sciences student and future UM Sports Hall of Famer David Wilkie becomes the first and only person to have held the British, American, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time.
  • In 1979, College of Arts and Sciences alumna Beverley Kelley becomes the first woman to command a US Navy Vessel. 13
  • College of Arts and Sciences Professor of History Steve Stein founds the UM Study Abroad program in 1984 and serves as its first director.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences’ new Behavioral Medicine Research Building is the first in the country designed specifically for interdisciplinary research in the field of behavioral medicine. 14
  • At 18, College of Arts and Sciences student Devi Sridhar becomes the youngest American ever awarded a Rhodes scholarship in 2002. 15
  • The College of Arts and Science’s Linda Ray Intervention Center founds the Miami Safe Start Initiative in 2002, the first in the nation of its kind to provide early intervention for 1-2 year old victims of violence. 16
  • The PRISM program in the College of Arts and Sciences is one of the first of its kind in the nation to provide an advanced integrated mathematics and science curriculum for first and second year students in the sciences.
  • The College of Arts and Science’s Lowe Art Museum hosts their Change and Continuity exhibit in 2004, the first of its kind in the nation to provide an awareness and understanding of the unique aesthetics of Indian tribal and folk cultures. 17
  • In 2008, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Autism and Related Disabilities launched the Mobile Autism Family Clinic, a first of its kind therapy and evaluation room on wheels. 18
  • A UM College of Arts and Sciences-led team creates the first of its kind climate based model of dengue fever epidemics in 2009. 19
  • In 2015, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the College of Arts & Sciences partnered with Miami International Airport to launch the first air travel program in Miami for people with autism, named MIAair. 20
  • Caleb Everett, Associate Professor of Anthropology has received an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellows from the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2015.21

1 In 1926, the College was known as the School of Liberal Arts, and changed to the College of Liberal Arts by 1930.

2 Parks, The Pathway to Greatness p.30

3 Marina and Tebeau, Rendezvous with Greatness p. 44

4 Marina and Tebeau, Rendezvous with Greatness p. 45

5 http://www6.miami.edu/communications/mediarelations/special/cuba/historical1.html

6 Tebeau, The University of Miami: a golden anniversary history, 1926-1976  p.371

7 Tebeau, The University of Miami: a golden anniversary history, 1926-1976 p. 75

8 Marina and Tebeau, Rendezvous with Greatness p. 108

9 http://www6.miami.edu/lowe/history.html

10 http://www.as.miami.edu/ringtheatre/history/

11 http://www.as.miami.edu/desegregation

12 Arts and Sciences magazine, Vol. 9, No. 1, Fall 2008

13 Veritas, Vol. 19, No. 15, April 16, 1979

14 FOCUS: University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, Spring 1983

15 http://www6.miami.edu/veritas/feb2003/fp/fpstory2.html

16 Veritas, Vol. 44, No. 09, Summer 2002

17 Veritas, Vol. 46, No. 05, February 2004

18 Arts and Sciences magazine, Vol. 9, No. 1, Fall 2008

19 Arts and Sciences magazine, Vol. 10, No. 1, Fall 2009

20 http://miami.cbslocal.com/2015/11/24/mia-launches-program-for-special-needs-passengers/

21 https://www.carnegie.org/interactives/acfellows/#!/