History of the College of Education

The University of Akron was once called Municipal University of Akron and offered a basic teacher preparation program. This "normal" course was a two-year course and trained students to become teachers in public education.

  • In 1914, the State Department of Public Instruction placed new standards for teacher training. Municipal University had to meet those new standards in order to continue preparing future teachers.George F. Zook

  • In 1915, President Kolbe and Superintendent Hotchkiss of the Akron Public Schools formed an alliance to meet the new state standards. Municipal University in cooperation with Perkins Normal School would provide students with two options. The first option gave students a B.S. degree and elementary certification from the state. The second option gave students the same degree but a choice of certification in either elementary or secondary.

  • After World War I the University took a closer look at its teacher preparation program and decided to formalize it. Municipal University and the Akron Board of Education changed the Perkins Normal School into the Teachers College of the Municipal University of Akron. Walter J. Bankes, previous head of Perkins Normal School in Akron, was appointed to the Deanship.

  • In June 1922, the University gave out its first Bachelor of Education degrees; a master's program was begun in 1923. This program offered both a Master of Arts and a Master of Science in Education. Because of these additions, evening and summer classes began being offered, nearly doubling enrollment. Collage of archival photos

  • In the 1930's the University considered closing the college because of the Depression and a lack of funds.  However, a renewed contract with the Akron Board of Education and the use of Spicer School and Central High School kept the college open.

  • In June of 1931, then-dean Walter Bankes was replaced by Albert Spanton as Acting Dean.

  • In 1935, the Teachers College officially became the College of Education.

  • In 1951, old Knight Hall was converted into the Education Building.

  • In 1954, Memorial Hall, the physical education building, opened.  It honored Summit County's World War II deceased.  Memorial Hall was demolished in 2010.

  • In 1961, old Knight Hall was demolished.  Excavation for the new Education Building was begun and uncovered artifacts from the original Buchtel Hall.

  • In 1962, the University became a state-assisted municipal university. However, recognizing the need for additional money, President Auburn and the Board of Directors began taking steps to become a full state university.

  • In 1963, the new Education Building opened; it was renamed Zook Hall in 1978, after former President George Zook.

  • July 1, 1967, The University of Akron became a state university.

  • 1973 saw the Educational Resources Center established in the College of Education.  This was the precursor to the current Office of Instructional Technology and Support.

  • In 1983, the new Health and Physical Education Building opened, named in honor of former Governor James A. Rhodes -- thus, the JAR.

  • In 2009, the College of Education received a $3.7 million grant from the Department of Education

  • Also in 2009, the College of Education was reaccredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The College has been continuously approved by this organization since its inception in 1954.

  • In 2014-16, Zook Hall, the home of the College of Education was closed to for a major renovation. The renovation resulted in a state-of-the-art facility to enhance faculty, staff and student collaboration, and student learning. In the interim, the College moved to the Central Hower Community School, adjacent to campus on Buchtel Avenue.

  • August 2015, the College of Education was renamed the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education to symbolize UA's commitment to   LeBron James' "I PROMISE" campaign.

  • In August 2016, the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education returned to the beautifully renovated Zook Hall.


Knepper, George W. (1970). New Lamps for Old: One Hundred Years of Urban Higher Education at The University of Akron. Akron, OH: Centennial Publication.

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