Founded in 1885 as the state's land grant university, the original campus was comprised of 40 acres in Tucson. Classes began in October of 1891, in a building now known as Old Main, still in use today. While 32 students enrolled in the first year, only six were admitted to the freshman class: the remaining 26 attended preparatory classes to raise their level of education to that appropriate of a college freshman, as there were no high schools in the area.
China-related courses began being taught in 1956, with Japanese and Middle Eastern studies following closely. However, the Department of East Asian Studies was officially founded in 1968 as the Oriental Studies Department.
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