Skip to Main Content

Welcome to the UNF Oral History Project

Jim Crooks in black and white

When the University of North Florida opened its doors in October, 1972, it brought together a remarkable group of professors, administrators and staff, along with both young and older undergraduate and graduate students. Now thirty-five years later, more than 50,000 UNF alumni live and work in Jacksonville and the First Coast region. Town and gown have built close ties beneficial to the entire area.


Meanwhile most of the early faculty and administrators have retired or are retiring. To capture their recollections and reflections, three years ago Presidenst John Delaney and a faculty committee authorized an oral history project to culminate in a web page, publication and vivid story about 'Creating a University'.


This history describes the trials and tribulations of a young underfunded institution. More importantly it offers insights into how UNF developed from an upper level commuter institution to a four-year, residential center. It expanded from three to five colleges in the process providing students and faculty with opportunities to study all over the world. This new institution brought faculty from outstanding universities across the U.S., and again around the world, to challenge students. mostly from the First Coast, to learn about the arts, sciences, humanities, business, education, health care and engineering. In the process UNF has built close ties serving the greater Jacksonville communities.


This beginning in 'Creating a University' portends well for the growth and development that will only enhance the institution and Florida's First Coast in the years to come.


Jim Crooks