The University of Arkansas at Little Rock was founded in 1927 as Little Rock Junior College under the supervision of the city Board of Education. That first semester there were eight instructors and about 100 students. By 1929 the college was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a status it has kept through changes in size and status.
Housed at first in public school buildings, the college moved in 1949 to its present location in southwest Little Rock on a beautifully wooded site donated by Raymond Rebsamen, a Little Rock businessman. The college was also by that time the sole beneficiary of a continuing trust established by former Governor George W. Donaghey.
In 1957, the institution began a four‐year degree program, became independent and privately supported under a separate board of trustees, and took the name Little Rock University.
After several years of discussion and study, Little Rock University in September 1969 merged with the University of Arkansas to create the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. That was a major step in the creation of a multi‐campus system that now includes eight campuses: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; University of Arkansas at Little Rock; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; University of Arkansas at Monticello; Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas; University of Arkansas Community College at Hope; and University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. Within this structure, UALR is state supported, operationally separate, and specifically oriented toward serving the educational needs of Arkansas.
The University of Arkansas merger began a period of rapid growth, which saw UALR go from about 3,500 students and 75 full‐time faculty members in 1969 to about 11,000 students and 500 full‐time faculty members today. The University’s expanded offerings now include more than 100 undergraduate majors, an extensive schedule of night, weekend, and off‐campus classes, and a wide range of community educational services. UALR began offering graduate and professional work in 1975, and the UALR Graduate School was created in 1977. UALR is the only institution in the state to have earned the Carnegie ranking as “Research/Doctoral University ‐ Intensive.” Besides the juris doctor, UALR has three doctoral programs and 39 graduate and professional programs, as well as joint programs with other campuses of the University of Arkansas System. Presidents include R.C. Hall (1927‐1930), John A. Larson (1930‐1950), Granville Davis (1950‐1954), E.Q. Brothers (acting president 1954‐1956), and Carey V. Stabler (1956‐1969).
Chancellors of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock include Carey V. Stabler (1969‐1972), James H. Fribourgh (acting chancellor 1972‐ 1973, 1982), G. Robert Ross (1973‐1982), James H. Young (1982‐1992), Joel E. Anderson (interim chancellor 1993), Charles E. Hathaway (1993‐2002), and Joel E. Anderson (2003‐present).