A selection of items from the University of North Florida's University Archives.

The First Commencement

The First Graduating Class

UNF's first graduating class consisted of 35 students, including 28 baccalaureate degree candidates and seven master of education degree students. Since the University opened in 1972 as an upper-level institution, these first graduates started at UNF as seniors or were already working on master's or second degrees.The College of Arts and Sciences awarded the majority of bachelor's degrees, with a total of 17 candidates. By virtue of alphabetical standing, Robert Stephen Berry was the first student to graduate from the University. Graduate students receiving master's degrees in education included Betty S. Holzendorf (later Florida Senator) and Bernadine J. Bolden (later UNF professor of education and Vice President of Student Affairs).The afternoon ceremony was held in the Courtyard under a hot sun before an audience of approximately 400 persons. As the diplomas were handed out, charter faculty and staff recall the shouts of "'attagirl, Mom!" UNF President Dr. Thomas G. Carpenter was the commencement speaker. A reception was held in the library lounge.To explore more content related to UNF commencement exercises, please see the Commencements community of content in the UNF Digital Commons.

UNF 25th Anniversary Time Capsule (side A)
Time Capsule

The 25th Anniversary Time Capsule

A time capsule was created in 1997 during the University's 25th anniversary celebration and was opened as we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2022. Selected items from the time capsule are shared in this exhibit.

Lake Oneida Pavillion
UNF Nature Trails

The Nature Trails

The University of North Florida was founded on close to 1,400 acres of former hardwood forest. Two centuries of logging cleared the majority of old growth forest and made way for the scrub pine and lowland wetlands we see on campus today.Shortly after the campus opened for classes in 1973, founding President, Thomas G. Carpenter, had the campus designated as a wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary protecting wildlife from hunting. Construction of the nature trails began in the early 1970s using the original logging roads and foot paths as the blueprint for the trail system. The trail system was built with the help of Physical Facilities and campus volunteers. In 1978 a dedication ceremony marked the designation of the UNF Nature Trail as a National Recreational trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior.The nature trails were created to give access to natural lands in Jacksonville for both university and community members. They were also designed to provide educational and research opportunities to students of all ages. Beginning in 1986, a guided nature trail system was created, and improvements were regularly made to the trail system.There are now five miles of the original 12 miles of nature trails created in the 1970s available for hiking. The trails feature educational signage and are “maintained for environmental education, research and low impact recreation.”The nature trails were later named after former UNF Professor Robert W. Loftin, who was involved with many environmental initiatives on campus and was a faculty advisor for the Sawmill Slough Conservation Club.

Campus Construction

Campus Construction

President Carpenter Reviewing Library Books, 1972

President Carpenter Reviewing Library Books, 1972

University of North Florida Entrance Sign

University of North Florida Entrance Sign

The Halyard Vol. 1 No. 01

Professor Charles Talking to Students Outside, c.1972-1979

Professor Charles Talking to Students Outside, c.1972-1979

North Star, 1974

The Spinnaker Vol. 1 No. 1

President Carpenter, 1978

President Carpenter, 1978

Dr. Ray Bowman, 1978

Dr. Ray Bowman, 1978