Alumni Center

History of Diversity at Iowa State University

In 1862, Iowa was the first state to accept the provisions of the Morrill Act, designed to fund educational facilities in agriculture and mechanic arts.

1858
The Iowa Agricultural College is founded on March 22
1862
The Morrill Act of July 2 is signed by President Abraham Lincoln
1862
On Sept. 11 the Iowa legislature officially accepts the provisions of the Morrill Act, giving Iowa the honor of becoming the first state in the U.S. to do so
1868
70 men and women are received for preparatory training on Oct. 21, making Iowa State the first land-grant institution to be co-educational from the beginning
1869
Iowa Agricultural College is formally opened for the admission of students on March 17; the first class consists of 173 students: 136 men and 37 women
1872
26 students graduate in the first class: 24 men and 2 women
1878
Carrie Chapman Catt helps organize the Ladies Military Companies
1894
George Washington Carver is the first African American student to graduate from Iowa State
1896
Carver receives his master’s degree after being appointed to the Iowa State faculty as an assistant botanist for the Experiment Station
1907
Delfin Sanchez de Bustamante of Argentina is the first international student from outside North America to receive a degree from Iowa State
1908
The Cosmopolitan Club is organized with 38 members, 25 of whom represent 12 different countries; the club’s purpose is to foster international friendship
1918
Ada Hayden is the first woman to receive a PhD from Iowa State, in botany
1923
Jack Trice, Iowa State’s first African American football player, is mortally injured during a game against the University of Minnesota
1969
The first Black Cultural Affairs Week is held on campus
1970
ISU names a building for George Washington Carver
1970
The Black Cultural Center on Welch Avenue is dedicated
1972
The University Committee on Women is established
1984
The football stadium is officially named Cyclone Stadium and Jack Trice Field
1989
The first “Take Back the Night” event is held to emphasize women’s right to safety
1992
The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics is established
1994
Gene Smith is hired as the first African American athletics director at Iowa State
1995
The September 29th Movement is organized to protest the naming of Catt Hall after Carrie Chapman Catt, whom organizers maintain made racist and offensive comments during her women’s suffrage campaign
1997
Tom Hill becomes Iowa State’s vice president for student affairs, the first African American to hold the position on campus
1997
The “Safe Zone” sticker is introduced on campus as a demonstration of commitment and support for the LGBT community
1997
Iowa State’s football stadium is named for Jack Trice, making ISU the only Div. I school to have a football stadium named for an African American
1998
After adding a cooperative agreement with Fudan University in China, ISU has 154 agreements with universities and agencies in more than 50 countries
1998
38 representatives from 17 Tribal Colleges are invited by the College of Agriculture to attend the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Science (MANRRS) conference on campus
2006
Elizabeth (Betsy) Hoffman is hired as the first female executive vice president and provost of Iowa State
2015
Reginald Stewart is named Iowa State’s first vice president for diversity and inclusion