1881 Swain Free School of New Bedford is established through provisions of the will of William W. Swain. It offers free courses to area residents who could not otherwise afford education beyond public school; a $10 per semester good faith deposit is required.
1882 Swain School begins offering courses in languages, literature, history, education, art, and chemistry.
1895 New Bedford Textile School is chartered by state legislature to provide "instruction in the theory and practical art of textiles and kindred branches of industry."
1899 Bradford Durfee Textile School is incorporated by act of state legislature.
1899 First building for the New Bedford Textile School is constructed.
1900 - 1950
1902 Swain School's trustees redefine its mission as a School of Design.
1904 The city of Fall River raises $35,000 towards construction of Bradford Durfee's first building. First classes in Bradford Durfee are held this year.
1946 Bradford Durfee Textile School changes its name to Bradford Durfee Technical Institute to reflect more general degree offerings.
1947 New Bedford Textile School changes its name to New Bedford Institute of Technology (NBIT), reflecting the shift in focus towards more generalized business and engineering degrees.
1951 - 2000
1957 Bradford Durfee Technical Institute changes its name to Bradford Durfee College of Technology, to distinguish itself as a college granting 4-year degrees.
1960 NBIT and BTI merge to form Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute. Massachusetts General Court appropriates $1.5 million for acquisition of a campus site and development of architectural plans.
1962 The Massachusetts state legislature creates Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute (SMTI) by merging the New Bedford Technical Institute and Bradford Durfee Technical Institute. Dr. Joseph Leo Driscoll is named President.
1963 Massachusetts General Court appropriates $6 million for construction of North Dartmouth SMTI campus.
1964 Groundbreaking ceremony for the SMTI campus in North Dartmouth is held on June 14th. Construction on the Group I Academic Building begins.
1966 The Group I Academic Building dedicated on June 5th. Construction on the Group II Science and Engineering Building begins in June.
1967 Construction on the Textile Technology Building begins in April.
1968 Construction on the Administration Building and the Campus Center begins in October.
1969 Group II Science and Engineering Building is completed in April, the Textile Technology Building in September, and the Research Building in October. SMTIbecomes Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU).
1970 The Administration Building is completed in September.
1971 The Campus Center is completed in the fall.
1972 The Administration Building is dedicated as the John E. Foster Administration Building on May 27th. Dr. Donald E. Walker becomes President of SMU.
1979 The Research Building is renamed Violette Building on June 3rd.
1984 Dr. John Russell Brazil becomes the President of SMU (and subsequently serves as the first Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth).
1985 The C. Norman Dion Science and Engineering Building groundbreaking is held on October 21st.
1987 Groundbreaking for the Cedar Dell Residence Halls is held on October 21st.
1988 Swain School in New Bedford merges with Southeastern Massachusetts University's College of Visual and Performing Arts. The 1213 Purchase Street campus is leased from New Bedford by the University until 2001; all other Swain buildings are sold.
1989 The Dion Science and Engineering Building is dedicated in May. Open house for the completed Cedar Dell Residence Halls is held in October.
1991 A new University of Massachusetts structure combines the Amherst, Boston and Worcester campuses with the Southeastern Massachusetts University and the University of Lowell. SMU becomes UMass Dartmouth.
1992 Dr. Brazil steps down as Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth; Dr. Joseph C. Deck named interim Chancellor.
1993 Dr. Peter H. Cressy becomes Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.
1997 School for Marine Science and Technology building is completed; it is located on 2.6 acres in New Bedford near Buzzards Bay.
1999 Jean F. MacCormack becomes Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.
2000 - present
2001 The Star Store campus in New Bedford opens with visual arts studios, classrooms, and the University Art Gallery. The Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center opens in Fall River, offering laboratory and incubator space for start-up companies.
2002 The Professional and Continuing Education Center in Fall River opens in the fully renovated Cherry and Webb building. Two new student residence buildings are opened.
2004 A new building for the Charlton College of Business is opened on the Dartmouth campus. A second centrally located Center for Professional and Continuing Education opens in New Bedford. The university breaks ground for two more student residence buildings, to meet the increasing demand for on-campus housing.
2007 Research Building opens
2012 Dr. Divina Grossman, Founding Vice President for Engagement at Florida International University, becomes Chancellor, succeeding Jean MacCormack.