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University of North Texas

The University of North Texas was founded by Joshua C. Chilton as a private college in 1890. With the help of local civic leaders, Chilton established Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute to prepare teachers and educate business and professional men. The first classes were held in September 1890 on the second floor of the B. J. Wilson hardware store in Denton. The school did not receive a state charter until June 1891. By that time the college occupied a permanent campus, which was purchased by a group of Dentonites called the syndicate. The city government financed and constructed the first building. In 1893 the school secured the right to confer state teaching certificates. Wording in the Texas law granting this power accidentally changed the school’s name to North Texas Normal College. The State Legislature approved a bill for state charter for the school in March 1899. By 1923 the school had become the largest teacher training institution in the southwestern United States and changed its name to North Texas State Teachers College at Denton. In the 1940s school officials established several new divisions including subjects such as arts, sciences, music and business administration. The school name changed again due to this to North Texas State College in 1949. The name changed again in 1961 to North Texas State University in 1961 and for the seventh and final name to University of North Texas in 1988.

Information courtesy of University of North Texas and Texas State Historical Association. The photograph is of the first building on Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute campus constructed in 1891. The photo is part of a collection entitled: University of North Texas Archives provided by UNT Libraries Special Collections to The Portal to Texas History.