The University of Arizona has an interesting story to tell. It was the first university in Arizona, founded in 1885. The 13th Territorial Legislature appropriated $25,000 for the institution. Tucsonians were less than thrilled about its inception. Phoenix was awarded $100,000 for an insane asylum and Prescott kept the state capital. 

Pima County was forced to donate 40 acres of land for the U of A. The site picked originally belonged to two professional gamblers and a saloon keeper. Ground was broken on October 27, 1887. The first class was held in 1891 in the oldest building on campus, Old Main. It was comprised of a mere 32 students and 6 teachers.

(Based on information from A Photographic History of the University of Arizona 1885-1985 by Phyllis Ball. © 1986.  Available through the UA Foundation)

University of Arizona College of Engineering