The University Press was authorized by the Board of Trustees in 1953, but was not activated until January 1, 1956, when Vernon Sternberg was appointed the first Director. The University Press was originally responsible to an editorial board, and included as component parts the Photographic Service, Art Service, Duplicating Service, and Printing Service. The Editorial Board was composed of the Vice President for Instruction, the Vice President for Business Affairs, the Director of Area Services, and the Director of Student Affairs.
On August 21, 1958, the Board of Trustees approved a reorganization of the University Press. The Press was made responsible to the Chief Officer for Instruction rather than to an Editorial Board. For contractual arrangements, it was made responsible to the Legal Counsel. The publication of all bulletins, official catalogs, leaflets, and brochures, was made the responsibility of the Registrar's Office. Photographic Service was made the adjunct of Information Service; Art Service was combined with Printing Service and was made the responsibility of Auxiliary and Service Enterprises.
At the April 8, 1976 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the University Press was made responsible for reporting to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research rather than to the Vice President for University Relations.
Since 1958, the University Press has been a member of the Association of American University Presses; it is also a member of the Book Publisher's Council, Inc., the American Book Sellers Association, and the National Association of College Stores. The University Press is responsible for the publication of enduring scholarly work.