Some of the private universities like Harvard, Yale, or Princeton (1746), which belong to the exclusive ‘Ivy League’* group of eight universities (*belonging to or typical of a groups of old and respected universities of the eastern US. These are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale Universities, as well as Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania), are among the oldest and most highly regarded institutions in the country. They are considered elitist not only because of their high academic standards and their prestige, but also because tuition fees can be extremely high.
Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the US. It is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the eastern coast of the US. Founded 16 years after the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the university has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 18,000 degree candidates, including undergraduates and students in 10 principal academic units. An additional 13,000 students are enrolled in one or more courses in the Harvard Extension School. Over 14,000 people work at Harvard.
Seven presidents of the US – John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and George W. Bush – were graduates from Harvard. Its faculty have produced 40 Nobel Laureates.
Harvard College was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named for its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charlestown, a young minister who, upon his death in 1638, left his library and half his estate to the new institution. Harvard’s first scholarship fund was created in 1643 with a gift from Ann Radcliffe, Lady Mowlson. During its early years the College offered a classic academic course based on the English university model but consistent with the prevailing Puritan philosophy of the first colonists. Although many of its first graduates became ministers in Puritan congregations throughout New England, the College was never formally affiliated with a specific religious denomination. The Harvard Corporation, known formally as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, is the University’s executive board.
Harvard students represent an array of ethnic groups, religious traditions and political persuasions. They come from every region of the USA and more than 100 other countries.
Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest intuition of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the USA. In July 1754 Samuel Johnson held the first classes in a new school house adjoining Trinity Church, located on what is now lower Broadway in Manhattan. There were 8 students in the class and trustees of King’s College were John Jay (the first chief justice of the US), Alexander Hamilton (the first secretary of the Treasury), G. Morris (the author of the final draft of the US Constitution. The college reopened in 1784 with a new name – Columbia – in recognition of its colonial ancestor.
During the last half the 19th century Columbia rapidly assumed the shape of a modern university. Some new schools and colleges were added: the Columbia School of Law (1858), Barnard College for women (1889), the medical school (1891), followed by Teachers College (1893). The development of graduate faculties in political science, philosophy and pure science established Columbia as one of the nation’s earliest centers for graduate education. Since 1896 the institution has officially been known as Columbia University in the City if New York. The School of Journalism was established by bequest of Joseph Pulitzer in 1912 and a course on war and peace studies organized the College’s influential Core Curriculum. The study of sciences flourished along with the liberal arts. Franz Boas founded the modern science of anthropology there in the early 20th century, and Thomas Morgan set the Medical Center, the first such center to combine teaching, research and patient care, was officially opened as a joint project between the medical school and the Presbyterian Hospital.
Research into the atom by faculty members I.I.Rabi, Enrico Fermi and Polykarp Kush brought Columbia’s Department of Physics to international prominence in the 1940s. The founding of the School of International and Public Affairs in 1946 marked the beginning of intensive growth in international relations as the major scholarly focus of the University.
The University continues to set the highest standards for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, both in the USA and around the word. Columbia was proud to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2004.
The founding of the University of San Francisco is connected with the establishment of the Jesuit Order in California, European immigration to the western US, and the population growth of California and San Francisco as a result of the California Gold Rush. The University of San Francisco began as a one-room schoolhouse named Saint Ignatius Academy. The institution’s founding president was Anthony Maraschi, a Jesuit from northern Italy, who was teaching ‘mental philosophy’ and received permission from Archbishop to build a Jesuit church and school. On October 15, 1855 the school opened its doors to its first class of three students. In 1859, Maraschi incorporated the institution under California state law, obtained a charter to issue college degrees, formed a board of trustees and renamed the institution Saint Ignatius College.
Now the University of San Francisco’s main campus occupies more than 55 acres near Golden Gate Park. The University offers classes at five Northern California regional campuses, at Southern California regional campus in the city of Orange, and at a site in Phoenix< Arizona. USF has sponsored cooperative study-abroad programmes throughout the world, including programmes in Mexico, Chile, Japan, China, the Philippines, England, Spain, Italy, Hungary, El Salvador and South Africa. On October 15, 2005 the University celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Yale University was founded in 1701 as the school in the home of Abraham Pierson, its first rector, in Connecticut. In 1718 the school was renamed Yale College. As the years passed the College established the Medical Institution, Divinity School, Law School, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, School of Fine Arts, and School of Music. In 1887 Yale College became Yale University. It continued to add to its academic offerings with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, School of Drama, School of Architecture, and School of Management. Today Yale University comprises some major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate programme), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and ten professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of research organizations, libraries and museums, and administrative and support offices.