There are eight “Miami” cities in the United States. None of them are home to the University of Miami or Miami University.
People have been confounded, frustrated and fascinated with the parenthetical game surrounding the University of Miami — a private high-education institution in Coral Gables, Fla. — and Miami University, a public higher-education institution in Oxford, Ohio — for decades. Students, alums, faculty and others from both schools will happily proclaim they’re the REAL Miami.
Technically, Miami (Ohio) is the REAL Miami. The school was established in 1809, more than a century before Miami (Fla.) in 1925. The latter bears the Miami name because Coral Gables borders Miami on its southwest side. The former is not — and has never been — located in or near a Miami, Ohio. It is, however, named after the Miami Tribe, a group of Native Americans who inhabited parts of present-day Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
Oxford, a small city 40 miles northwest of Cincinnati, sits in the Miami Valley in western Ohio. It’s about 20 minutes west of the city of Little Miami, which lies on the banks of the Great Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River that was used extensively by the Miami people.
So, the next time you consider suggesting it’s dumb to have two Miami schools, think again. The REAL Miami has one of the most fascinating origins of any school in the country.