UF Named Facilities

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J. Wayne Reitz Union

Honoree

Julius Wayne Reitz served as the University of Florida's fifth president from 1955 to 1967 during a period of enormous growth.

During Reitz's 12-year tenure, about 300 buildings were erected on campus, including Century Tower, Library West, the student union, a nuclear training reactor and a family-housing facility. The student body more than doubled, increasing from 9,000 students to approximately 20,000. In addition, several programs within the graduate school, research centers and fundraising areas experienced much growth. Reitz earned his bachelor's degree from Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) in 1930, his master's degree from the University of Illinois in 1935 and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1941.

Upon arriving at UF in 1934, Reitz taught agricultural economics. Ten years later, he left the university setting to serve as an economic consultant to the United Growers and Shippers Association. After, he worked as an economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture but later returned to UF in 1949 as Provost for agriculture. In 1955, Reitz was appointed president of UF, the first ever to be selected from among the University's faculty. Throughout his life, Reitz received numerous honors and awards. He was awarded Panama's Cross of Balboa and Norway's Order of the North Star for his contributions to international agriculture. He was named "Man of the Year" in 1957 by Progressive Farmer magazine and received honorary degrees from several institutions, including UF.

After Reitz's resignation, he served as director of graduate programs in the U.S. Office of Education. Later, he was appointed to the Rockefeller Foundation's Board of Agriculture Consultants and to the Public Advisory Committee for Trade and Negotiations. He and his wife, Frances, maintained their support of the UF Friends of Music organization, and Reitz continued to fundraise for UF on behalf of the UF Foundation, Inc. until 1993 when he passed away.

Facility History

The Reitz Union is an integral part of the University of Florida's educational environment and supports the University's mission by educating students in leadership, citizenship, programming, management, social responsibility and interpersonal skills. Programs and activities are planned that provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience for their future roles as well as developing appropriate life skills.

The Reitz Union serves as the hub for student activities and is home to a wide variety of programs and amenities, including a hotel, restaurants, travel agency, career center, student legal services and the university box office.

Click here to visit the Reitz Union virtually through UF's campus map