Excelling in Higher Education
As South Florida’s first urban public research university, FIU is the university of access for the region’s six million residents and is a solutions center for addressing global needs. Since opening for classes in 1972 with the largest first-day enrollment in American collegiate history, FIU has distinguished itself as one of the nation’s largest, most diverse institutions of higher education.
FIU at a glance
As Miami’s first and only public research university, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its service to the academic and local community. Started on an abandoned airfield, it has grown to be one of the largest universities in the country. FIU is committed to high-quality teaching, state-of-the-art research and creative activity, and collaborative engagement with our local and global communities.
FIU by the numbers
- 1972 FIU opens its doors
- 218 degree programs
- 99% of tenured faculty hold doctoral degrees or highest degrees attainable in their fields
- 17 intercollegiate athletic teams
- Research 1 Carnegie Foundation classification: R1 Doctoral University – Very High Research Activity
- Nearly $246 million annual research expenditures
- FIU is ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world for the number of U.S. utility patents produced
Kalai Mathee, Ph.D., Professor & Founding Chair, Department of Molecular Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, of FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Florida International University will be a leading urban public research university focused on student learning, innovation and collaboration.
Florida International University is an urban, multi-campus, public research university serving its students and the diverse population of South Florida. We are committed to high-quality teaching, state-of-the-art research and creative activity, and collaborative engagement with our local and global communities.
Brief Snapshot of FIU’s History
In 1965, Florida Senator Robert M. Haverfield introduced Senate Bill 711, which instructed the state Board of Education and the Board of Regents to begin planning for the development of a state university in Miami.
An abandoned airfield is an unusual place for the birth of a university. But in the summer of 1969, founding FIU President Chuck Perry gathered three leaders who would help him create his vision.
Butler Waugh, Donald McDowell and Nick Sileo joined the 31-year-old Perry at Tamiami Airport and set up shop in the former air traffic controllers’ tower. The tower had no phones, no drinkable water and no furniture. President Perry decided that the control tower should never be destroyed and so it remains standing today at the center of campus, as FIU’s Ivory Tower.
From that single building on that abandoned airfield, FIU has grown to be one of the largest universities in the country. The spirit of entrepreneurship born on that summer day thrives at today’s FIU.
Scott Norberg, J.D., Professor of FIU’s College of Law