About the University

The Mission of the University of Vermont

To create, evaluate, share, and apply knowledge and to prepare students to be accountable leaders who will bring to their work dedication to the global community, a grasp of complexity, effective problem-solving and communication skills, and an enduring commitment to learning and ethical conduct.

Our Common Ground

The University of Vermont is an educationally purposeful community seeking to prepare students to live in a diverse and changing world. We who work, live, study, teach, do research, conduct business, or participate in the University of Vermont are members of this community. As members, we believe in the transforming power of education and agree to help create and foster an environment where we can discover and reach our true potential.

We aspire to be a community that values:

RESPECT. We respect each other. We listen to each other, encourage each other and care about each other. We are strengthened by our diverse perspectives.

INTEGRITY. We value fairness, straightforward conduct, adherence to the facts, and sincerity. We acknowledge when things have not turned out the way we had hoped. As stewards of the University of Vermont, we are honest and ethical in all responsibilities entrusted to us.

INNOVATION. We want to be at the forefront of change and believe that the best way to lead is to learn from our successes and mistakes and continue to grow. We are forward-looking and break new ground in addressing important community and societal needs.

OPENNESS. We encourage the open exchange of information and ideas from all quarters of the community. We believe that through collaboration and participation, each of us has an important role in determining the direction and well-being of our community.

JUSTICE. As a just community, we unite against all forms of injustice, including, but not limited to, racism. We reject bigotry, oppression, degradation, and harassment, and we challenge injustice toward any member of our community.

RESPONSIBILITY. We are personally and collectively responsible for our words and deeds. We stand together to uphold our common ground.

Aspirations and shared values for the UVM Community,
endorsed by the UVM Board of Trustees

The University: A Brief History

Chartered in 1791, the same year that Vermont became the fourteenth state in the union, the University of Vermont was established as the fifth college in New England (after Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown). The university is popularly called UVM, a derivation of its Latin name, Universitäs Viridis Montis, the University of the Green Mountains. Ira Allen, brother of Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen and a central figure in Vermont’s early economic and social development, led the drive to charter a state university and locate it in Burlington and is credited with founding the university. The new university’s charter explicitly declared support for freedom of religion – making it the nation’s first institution of higher learning to take such a public stance. This tradition of openness continued in 1871, when the university defied custom and admitted two women as students. Four years later, the university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter became the first honor society in the nation to admit women; two years after that, in 1877, the society became the nation’s first to admit African American students.

The citizens of Burlington helped fund the university’s first building and, when fire destroyed it in 1824, also paid for its replacement: the Old Mill. The Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who became a commander in the American Revolution, laid the cornerstone for the Old Mill, which still stands on the historic University Row, along with Ira Allen Chapel, Billings Hall, Williams Hall, Royall Tyler Theatre and Morrill Hall.

Although it began as a private university, UVM attained quasi-public status with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act in 1862 and the addition of the State Agricultural College. Today, the university blends the traditions of both a private and public university, drawing 12 percent of its general fund (and about 6 percent of its total budget) from the state of Vermont.

Some of UVM's most famous graduates typify the university’s independence of spirit and social consciousness. They include John Dewey, the late-19th-century educational philosopher; Jody Williams, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign to ban landmines; John McGill, who led the U.S. section of Doctors Without Borders when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999; and John Kilik, who has produced groundbreaking major motion pictures, including “Malcolm X,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Dead Man Walking.”

UVM offers 100+ undergraduate majors, more than 60 master’s and graduate certificate programs and more than 30 doctoral degrees including a medical degree.

In the Fall of 2023, the university enrolled approximately 11,600 undergraduate students, 1,600 graduate students, and 480 medical students. The university’s academic units include: the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Extension; Arts and Sciences; Education and Social Services; Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; the Larner College of Medicine; Nursing and Health Sciences; the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; the Grossman School of Business; the Patrick Leahy Honors College; the Graduate College; Professional and Continuing Education; and the UVM Libraries. The university employs over 4,400 full- and part-time faculty and staff.

The campus of the University of Vermont is located in Burlington, the state’s largest city. Within a greater Burlington area of 168,000 people, the city with its population of 44,000 enjoys magnificent views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west and Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east. Burlington is located approximately 200 miles northwest of Boston, 300 miles north of New York City, and 100 miles south of Montreal.

Although its legal title is The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, the university is known to its students and alumni as UVM. This popular abbreviation is derived from the Latin Universitas Viridis Montis, University of the Green Mountains. The colors of the university are green and gold. The mascot is the catamount.