The History of Undergraduate Research at USU

down arrow icon  1888

The Agricultural College of Utah was founded. The college sought to provide hands on learning of a range of subjects. Undergraduates did guided research in the course of learning, with a large focus on agricultural innovation. Classes begin in 1889—with 139 students.


down arrow icon  1893

The Agricultural College of Utah wins a bronze medal for its exhibits on field research at the Columbian Exposition, Chicago’s World Fair. Faculty and undergraduates alike attending this fair to showcase research being done at USU.


down arrow icon  1904

The Agricultural College of Utah wins a gold medal for its research exhibits at the World’s fair in St. Louis. Both undergraduates and faculty contributed to the award. This set the College apart as one of the leading institutions for research.


down arrow icon   1906

The college’s Extension was created, with the purpose of spreading research and applicable knowledge to individuals across Utah. Students all over the state began to participate in research.


down arrow icon  1911

The students’ Agricultural Club is first mentioned in the yearbook of the time, The Buzzer. This popular club was a student led research group, focused on the research begin done in agriculture at the time. Lectures by prominent researchers were held, as well as group study sessions and discussions.


down arrow icon  1930

The College’s first library was completed, offering students a place to study the latest research available. This was also the major library in Logan at the time, offering all citizens a place to learn.


down arrow icon  1947

The College’s Research Foundation is established. This foundation worked to support and highlight faculty research, and by extension, support undergraduate involvement in faculty research. Undergraduates at this time were involved in research on a professor-by-professor basis.


down arrow icon  1955

The Division of Research is created, headed by D. Wynne Thorne. He would later become the Vice President for Research in 1965. D. Wynne Thorne is still honored today through the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, an award given to faculty for outstanding careers in research.


down arrow icon  1975

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunties (URCO) Grant is established campus wide, marking the first undergraduate research initiative and the creation of formalized campus-wide support of undergraduate research.

"When you have discovered it yourself, you have really learned it."
- Dr. Keith R. Kelson, Former Director of the Division of Education NSF


down arrow icon  1985

USU hosts the very first Student Showcase. This annual event highlights both graduate and undergraduate student’s research.


down arrow icon   2001

Utah holds the first Research on Capitol Hill. This event is held in Utah’s State Capitol Building. Students present their research findings to the state senators.


down arrow icon   2002

A group of USU undergraduate students make a recreation of the original Wright flyer made with modern materials. This made national news and also became the spotlight for a History Channel docuseries called “The Wright Stuff”. More information about the Wright Flyer research project.


down arrow icon   2003

A pilot for the University Undergraduate Research Fellows (URFs) is developed. It was fully implemented the following year. URFs are high achiving undergraduate students who are fully involved in research their entire undergraduate career. They receive a scholarship, and first access to many research opportunities.


down arrow icon   2007

The Undergraduate Research Program receives the Achievement of the Year Award at the 49th Annual Robins Awards.


down arrow icon   2011

Research and Graduate Studies are combined by Mark McClellan into the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

“The new integrated office will put a focus on research enhancement combined with top-quality graduate education and recruitment.”
- Mark McLellan, Former VP for Research and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies

down arrow icon   2018

The Office of Research separates from the School of Graduate Studies, as more students at Utah State become involved in undergraduate research.