Miami University (informally known as Miami, Miami U, Miami of Ohio, and MU) is a coeducational public research university located in Oxford, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1809, although classes were not held until 1824, it is the 10th oldest public university in the United States and the second oldest university in Ohio, founded four years after Ohio University. In its 2012 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university 3rd for best undergraduate teaching at national universities, and 90th in the overall rankings. Forbes also ranked Miami University as 34th among U.S. public universities and 1st among public universities within Ohio.
Miami's Division I sports teams are called the RedHawks. They compete in the Mid-American Conference in all sports except ice hockey, in which the team is part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Miami is nicknamed the "Cradle of Coaches" for the star-quality coaches that have trained through its football program and in early 2012 Miami trademarked the phrase. Its men's basketball team has appeared in 16 NCAA basketball championship tournaments, reaching the Sweet Sixteen four times. Miami's ice hockey team finished runner-up in the 2009 national championship game.
The foundations for Miami University were first laid by an Act of Congress signed by President George Washington, stating that an academy should be located Northwest of the Ohio River in the Miami Valley. The land was located within the Symmes Purchase; Judge John Cleves Symmes, the owner of the land, purchased the land from the government with the stipulation that he lay aside land for an academy. Congress granted one township to be located in the District of Cincinnati to the Ohio General Assembly for the purposes of building a college, two days after Ohio was granted statehood in 1803; if no suitable location could be provided in the Symmes Purchase, Congress pledged to give federal lands to the legislature after a five-year period. The Ohio Legislature appointed three surveyors in August of the same year to search for a suitable township, and they selected a township off of Four Mile Creek. The Legislature passed "An Act to Establish the Miami University" on February 2, 1809, and a board of trustees was created by the state; this is cited as the founding of Miami University. The township originally granted to the university was known as the "College Township", and was renamed Oxford, Ohio in 1810.
The University temporarily halted construction due to the War of 1812. Cincinnati tried to move Miami to the city in 1822 and to divert its income to a Cincinnati college, but it failed. Miami created a grammar school in 1818 to teach frontier youth; but, it was disbanded after five years. Robert Hamilton Bishop, a Presbyterian minister and professor of history, was appointed to be the first President of Miami University in 1824; the first day of classes at Miami was on November 1, 1824. At its opening, there were twenty students and two faculty members in addition to Bishop. The curriculum included Greek, Latin, Algebra, Geography, and Roman history; the University offered only a Bachelor of Arts. An "English Scientific Department" was begun in 1825 which studied modern languages, applied mathematics, and political economy as training for more practical professions. It offered a certificate upon completion of coursework, not a full diploma.