UMaine was founded in 1862 by the Morrill Act, signed by president Lincoln. Originally named the Maine College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the Maine College opened
on September 21, 1868, changing its
name to the University of Maine in 1897.The College was the fourth to be established in Maine, after Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby. Originally intended as an agricultural
college, the College also placed a large emphasis on engineering and the sciences.Tuition at the Maine College was free until 1879. In return, all students were expected to contribute 15 hours a week of
labor, on which they were graded and received compensation in accordance with their grades.Near the end of the 19th century, the curriculum was expanded to place greater emphasis on the liberal arts. New faculty hired
during this time included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department, and the first woman in the nation to head a major
university department.When the University of Maine System was incorporated, the school was renamed to the University of Maine at Orono (or UMO), but
was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986. However, it is still often referred to as UMO.