The University of Miami was chartered in 1925, but did not begin in earnest until 1926 when George E. Merrick gifted 160 acres and nearly $4 million dollars to the fledgling University. The University underwent a series of misfortunes, including the 1926 Florida land-bust, the 1926 Miami Hurricane (UM's namesake), and the Great Depression of 1929. The construction of the first building on campus, now known as the Merrick Building (in honor of George Merrick), was put on hold for over two decades due to economic hard times. In the meantime, classes were held in a nearby hotel, with partitions separating classrooms, giving the University the nickname of "Cardboard College".
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The University of Miami, a private, non-sectarian institution, currently enrolls 15,670 students in approximately 120 undergraduate, 108 master?s, 49 doctoral, and two professional areas of study. The University?s students represent all 50 states and 114 foreign countries. UM alumni live in all 50 states and in 148 countries. There are more than 155,000 alumni in the University?s history.
The University of Miami is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and 21 additional professional and educational accrediting agencies. UM is a member of the American Association of University Women, the American Council on Education, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Association of American Colleges, the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.