Happy 209th birthday, Miami! 9 things you didn’t know about the university’s history

Miami University, known as the “Yale of the West,” was chartered by the State of Ohio on Feb. 17, 1809.

For more than two centuries the school has established traditions and honored its past. Here are nine things to know about the university:

A tribute to the Miami tribe. Miami University, established in 1809, is among the oldest in the country. It took its name from the Native American tribe that once inhabited Ohio’s Miami Valley region. The university and the Miami tribe, now located in Oklahoma, continue to maintain strong ties.

Love is in the air. Miami University students tend to fall in love and marry each other. According to the school, 14 percent of the alumni are married to another alum forming what is known as a “Miami Merger.” To commemorate the marriages the university sends a Valentine each year to the couples.

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A commencement procession at Miami University photographed in 1914. MIAMI UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, FRANK SNYDER COLLECTION

Head of the class. Miami University offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 120 areas of study, more than 60 master’s degrees and 13 doctoral degree programs. According to Fall 2016 enrollment there were 16,981 undergraduates and 2,386 graduate students on the Oxford campus. More than 5,000 students studied on the regional campuses.

A traditional university. Campus life subscribes to a number of traditions, including that rubbing turtle heads on the Tri Delt sundial will bring you luck, a kiss under the Upham Hall Arch will lead to marriage, splurging on Tuffy’s toasted rolls is a delight and stepping on the university seal at the center of campus should be avoided out of respect for the university.

Miami far and wide. The University’s main campus in Oxford is made up of 2,138 acres and has 188 buildings. There are regional locations in Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester. The university also operates the John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg.

A view of Slant Walk photographed in 1909. The walk has been a main artery of the university and takes a diagonal path from the center of campus to Uptown Oxford. MIAMI UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, FRANK SNYDER COLLECTION

Red bricks. The Miami University RedHawks take on the Ohio University Bobcats each year in the “Battle of the Bricks.” Both campuses were founded in the early 1800s and are known for their red brick campuses.

Gridiron greats. Known as the “Cradle of Coaches,” Miami University helped form the coaching careers of Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Paul Brown. More than 100 Miami graduates have been active in coaching and related professions.

The Miami University band photographed in 1909. MIAMI UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, FRANK SNYDER COLLECTION

Greek life. The university earned the nickname “Mother of Fraternities” because five social Greek-letter organizations were founded there. Alpha Delta Phi became the first fraternity in 1833. Today there are more than 50 fraternity and sorority chapters.

A longstanding tradition. To commemorate Miami University’s chartering in 1809, the Charter Day Ball is held every three years. The formal dance, for students, faculty and staff, was first held in 1976. The next ball will be held Feb. 17, 2018.

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