- Oldest University In The United States: Havard University
- Yale University
- Columbia University
Oldest University In The United States – Africa Facts Zone
Africa Facts Zone presents the Oldest University In The United States. The United States Of America Is home to some of the best colleges in the world nad also some of the oldest universities in the entire world. While these institutions may not have the ancient context of higher learning establishments like the University of Bologna, which dates back to 859 A.D., or the University of Oxford, which came about in 1096, these colonial hallmarks provide a look back into our America’s.
Five of the universities below are also members of the prestigious Ivy League, and all have managed to combine their rich historic heritage with a continued commitment to development and innovation.
10. Columbia University
Located in New York City, Columbia University ranks as one of the oldest university in the United States. It was chartered in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of George II of Britain, and renamed Columbia College in 1784 after the US gained independence. It was the first university to grant the M.D. degree and is, to date, the institution that administers the annual Pulitzer Prize for landmark achievements in journalism, literature, and music.
The university is divided into 20 schools, providing undergraduate and graduate programs in everything from applied mathematics to urban development.
It is currently the sixth best institution for anatomy and physiology. In addition to housing multiple distinguished alumni—five Founding Fathers, three former U.S. presidents, and 38 living billionaires—Columbia students and alumni have won a whopping combined 39 Academy Awards, 125 Pulitzer Prizes, and 11 Olympic medals.
9. Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University follows as one of the oldest university in the United States. The university was first founded as a small classical school in 1749 named Augusta Academy, and then eventually was renamed to honor the first president of the United States, George Washington, and Robert E. Lee, who was president of the university shortly after his surrender to Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War.
The university gets the remainder of its current title from General Robert E. Lee, who was president of the university from 1865 until his death in 1870.
Its first major benefactor was George Washington, who endowed the academy with $20,000 in 1796, at the time the largest gift ever given to an educational institution in the US.
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts institution tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains in Lexington, Virginia.
The university plays home to many iconic traditions, including the Fancy Dress Ball, which dates back to 1907. In total, the school consists of 40 undergraduate programs, and offers professional degrees by the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, and the School of Law.
8. Princeton University
This private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey, was founded in 1746 by New Light Presbyterians, in order to train ministers, and soon became the educational and religious capital of Scottish Presbyterian America.
Princeton University ranks as one of the oldest university in the United States. It has oldest building Nassau Hall, which dates back to 1756. Nassau Hall was technically the temporary capital of the US for four months in 1783, when the Continental Congress met there.
Princeton is currently ranked 13th in the world overall, seventh in the subject area of arts and humanities, and fourth for mathematics.
Princeton University offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, as well as several other professional degrees through programs like the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Bendheim Center for Finance. At one point before his presidency, which began in 1902, Woodrow Wilson served as the president of the university, who ultimately introduced the preceptorial system, or the one-on-one form of mentorship programs we now see at universities all across the country.
7. University of Delware
The University of Delaware (UD), located in Newark, was originally founded as ‘Free School’ and has changed name and location several times. Since Delaware was part of the Pennsylvania colony until 1776, the university was denied a charter in order to prevent a rivalry with the University of Pennsylvania.
Serving as the state of Delaware’s largest (and oldest) university & one of the oldest university in the united states, the University of Delaware offers more than 135 undergraduate degrees, 67 doctoral programs, 142 master’s degree programs, 14 dual degrees, 15 interdisciplinary programs, 12 online programs, and 28 certificate programs.
It’s not considered a colonial college as it was not an officially chartered higher education institution until 1833, after the American Revolution, but UD nonetheless has an impressively long history of high-quality teaching and is currently ranked joint 491st in the overall QS World University Rankings.
At an acceptance rate of nearly 66 percent (for in-state applicants), the University of Delaware is an incredibly popular and practical option for many students. Former alumni include Joe Biden and Chris Christie
6. Moravian College
Moravian College is a private liberal arts institution in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, founded by Moravians—or descendants of followers of the Bohemian Reformation. Most notably, Moravian College was the first institution of higher learning educate Native Americans in their own native language and the first to educate women.
The college traces its founding to 1742 by 16-year-old Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf, who established it as Bethlehem Female Seminary, the first boarding school for young women in the US. It gained such a distinguished reputation that George Washington personally petitioned the headmaster for the admission of two of his great-nieces.
The Moravian Female Seminary, as the school became known, was chartered to grant baccalaureate degrees in 1863, and in 1913 became Moravian Seminary and College for Women, before eventually becoming coeducational when the colleges for the two genders merged in 1954. Moravian College also serves as one of the oldest university in the United States.
5. University of Pennsylvania
Established: 1740 (chartered in 1755)
Located in West Philadephia, Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, who wished for the school to focus on more practical education for commerce and public service, while also enriching the mind with lessons in theology and literature.
The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn) was the first US university to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Penn was also one of the first academic institutions in the country to have multidisciplinary teaching in different faculty areas, and in 1765 became the first US university to have a medical school.
The school houses many undergraduate and graduate programs, including the Fels Institute of Government and the Perelman School of Medicine. Notable previous students include poet Ezra Pound, president Donald Trump, and finance guru Warren Buffet.
Penn currently ranks 15th in the world overall, and is particularly reputed for its management and law courses, having been ranked fifth in the world for business and management. In general, the university has a strong reputation for its intensive research activity & also serve as one of the oldest university in the United States.
4. Oldest University In The United States: Yale University
Home of the Bulldogs and Harvard University’s prime rival, Yale University was founded in 1701 and originally established to educate Congregational ministers. That said, the college was originally dedicated to theology and sacred languages until after the American Revolution, when it began to incorporate the humanities and sciences into the curriculum.
Yale University is currently ranked 17th in the world which makes it one of the best & oldest university in the United States. It was renamed Yale in 1718 in recognition of a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. Also that year, Yale moved to its current location in New Haven, Connecticut, having previously been located in Clinton, Saybrook and Wethersfield.
Yale was originally established to train ministers in theology and sacred languages, but by 1777 the school’s curriculum began to include humanities and sciences, and in 1861, Yale was the first US university to award a PhD. It currently ranks fourth in the world for law studies, and sixth for arts and humanities.
Yale University has 12 professional schools (including a top-notch law program that consistently ranks in the top three nationally, per the American Bar Association), an undergraduate program, and the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Yale’s undergraduate admission is one of the most selective in the country, with last year’s acceptance rate hovering at 6.3 percent.
3. Oldest University In The United States: St John’s College
St John’s College (SJC) is a private liberal arts college which was originally founded as King William’s School, the Maryland colony’s first ‘free’ school (free in this context meaning to free students through education).
It gained its current name in 1784 and now has two campuses, one in Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland, and another in New Mexico’s state capital, Santa Fe. Although it doesn’t feature in the QS World University Rankings, the college was included among the US’ top 100 liberal arts colleges according to the U.S. News & World Report.
St John’s College has no religious affiliation and is known for its small class sizes, giving students more personalized attention.
The college only offers one bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, and one master’s program available at the Annapolis campus in liberal arts as well. For those seeking the other master’s program, Master of Arts in Eastern Classics, they’ll have to attend the Santa Fe campus. Perhaps the most unique thing about the college is the absence of grades—while grades are given on a regular scale, the only time you’ll see them is if you ask directly. There will also be no use of modern textbooks or lectures, as St. John’s College only believes in using a series of manuals for higher learning.
2. Oldest University In The United States: College of William and Mary
This public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia, was founded in 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II under a royal charter. During the first century of its existence, the College of William and Mary was a meeting place for lawyers and those interested in the law profession.
The College of William and Mary is the oldest university in the American South & one of the oldest university in the United States. It was the first school of higher education in the US to install an honor code of conduct for students.
Now, the school offers four professional programs—law, business, education, and marine science. Among many other notable figures, the university has taught the likes of George Washington, Jon Stewart, and James Comey.
Ranked 601-650 in the world, the college is also placed within the global top 450 for arts and humanities. It has educated three US presidents, including Thomas Jefferson.
1. Oldest University In The United States: Havard University
Established: 1636 (chartered in 1650)
Founded by clergyman John Harvard in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest university in the United States, and because of its influence and wealth, one of the most prestigious as well. Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is one of the foremost research universities in the country, housing the immense Harvard Library, which is the largest academic library in the world with 79 individual libraries holding over 18 million volumes.
Harvard University was originally called New College. The name was subsequently changed to Harvard College in honor of its first benefactor, John Harvard, who bequeathed half of his monetary estate and his 320-volume scholar’s library to the university in his will.
As well as being the oldest university in the US, Harvard is also one of the world’s most prominent, currently ranked third in the QS World University Rankings®. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject, it’s placed first in the world for the broad subject area of life sciences and medicine, and second for arts and humanities.
The university is the alma mater to many notable figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Jill Abramson, Bill Gates, Natalie Portman, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama.