HistoryThe University of Maryland has come a long way from its pre-Civil War roots as the state’s first agricultural college and one of America’s original land-grant institutions.
Founded in 1856 by a group of planters, the former Maryland Agricultural College required its all-male cadet student body to spend an hour a day working on the college farm, to undergo military training and to take courses in ancient and modern languages, natural sciences, English and math. After a disastrous campus fire in 1912, the state acquired the college and rebuilt it. The military system was soon abolished, and women were welcomed. The campus rapidly grew over the following decades, and the legislature in 1988 combined its institutions of higher education to form the University System of Maryland. The College Park campus was named its flagship.
From the 1920s to the 1960s, all freshmen had to wear “beanies” while on campus.