The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
Old Schools for Young Thangs
By Caelon Reed
Life is a learning process. Can't you just hear your Great Aunt Thelma saying that right now? She'd probably add "Go to college" and "Apply for scholarships." In America it's custom to attend grade school, but less than 60% of U.S. students graduate in 6 years. Part of that mythical American dream is to get that degree.
Since I’ve graduated high school, I’ve been enrolled in college mainly because it’s an important milestone in our culture. Which led me to wonder about the oldest colleges in the United States. Research, research, research--it's part of college life.
For starters, here are the three oldest colleges in the United States:
1. Harvard University- Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University was established in 1636, making it the oldest University in the United States. After receiving funding from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Puritans founded Harvard. The college was named after John Harvard, who left the university a library and half his estate. Many U.S. presidents are Harvard boys (John Adams, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, and others). Harvard started out with 9 students; today they have more than 20,000 students enrolled.
2. College of William and Mary-Williamsburg, Virginia
In 1693, King William III and Queen Mary II of England decided to fund another college, this in the Virginia colony. They signed this charter with expectations of a “perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages and other good Arts and Sciences.” The college began construction before Williamsburg the city even came into existence. The first building was named Sir Christopher Wren and went into flames three times. So it's been through hell and back (literally).
Aside from being a bona fide phoenix, William and Mary has some great achievements under its belt. It is home to Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776, making it the first university with a Greek letter society. It was also the first college to become a university AND the first law school in America. But the university did not go coed 'til 1918. Too bad about that last part (they should've done it sooner), but, nonetheless Virginia pride!
3. Yale University-New Haven, Connecticut
Yale was founded in the year 1701. You know those shirts that say, “I survived spring break in [insert location here]"? Well, Yale survived the American Revolutionary War. Forget about Cancún.
Yale's charter stated that it would be a place “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences [and] through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.” It seems like that's been holding up. At Yale you’ll find the oldest college art museum, the Yale University Art Gallery. Yale School of Medicine was chartered in 1810 and after that came the many more graduate and professional schools that make Yale the university it is today.
These are just the three oldest school’s America has to offer; there are many others that were created before the 18th century. Of course, that's practically yesterday to Europe, but that's another story.