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Columbia University

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY is the oldest, richest, and most famous of all institutions of higher education in the New York metropolitan region and a member of the prestigious Ivy League. As King's College, it received a royal charter on 31 October 1754 from George II of England "to promote liberal education" and to "prevent the growth of republican principles which prevail already too much in the colonies." But the college would produce a crop of American rebels, including John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Robert Livingston, and Gouverneur Morris. In 1760, it moved to a three-acre site near the Hudson River in lower Manhattan on land donated by Trinity Church. In 1770, its School of Medicine awarded the first M.D. degrees in what would become the United States.

Between 1776 and 1783, when New York City was the headquarters for British military operations in the American Revolution, King's College suspended all classes and its building became a military hospital. The college reopened in 1784 as Columbia, using a word that had recently been coined by patriotic poets. In 1813, the School of Medicine merged with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Having remained a small institution until the mid-nineteenth century, Columbia began a period of expansion during the administration of Charles King. In 1857, it moved to a site at Forty-seventh Street and Park Avenue; it established a School of Law in 1858 and a School of Mines (later the School of Engineering) in 1864. During the presidency of Frederick A. P. Barnard, the college became one of America's first major universities. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences began operating in 1880, the School of Architecture in 1881, the School of Library Service in 1887, the School of Nursing in 1892, and the School of Social Work in 1898. And before the turn of the century, both Barnard College, one of the original Seven Sisters and the first private college in the city to award liberal arts degrees to women, and Teachers College, which was to become the preeminent training ground for educational professionals in the United States, became semi-independent affiliates of Columbia. In 1896, the institution declared itself a university, and in 1897, it formally moved to Morningside Heights on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The centerpiece of the new rectangular campus became Low Memorial Library, a classical Roman building with Grecian detail. Other buildings were designed in the Italian Renaissance style by McKim, Mead and White.

During the first half of the twentieth century, and especially during the presidency of Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia became one of the world's largest and most prominent universities. The Graduate School of Journalism began in 1912, the Graduate School of Business in 1916, the School of Dentistry in 1917, and the School of Public Health in 1921. Seven years later, the new Columbia-Pres by terian Medical Center in Manhattan's Washington Heights became the first institution in the world to unite physician training, medical research, and patient care in a single giant complex. Meanwhile, Columbia College launched its famous compulsory Contemporary Civilization survey for undergraduates in 1919. The influential course traced the development of Western thought and made the study of original masterworks the foundation of Columbia's core curriculum.

During the twentieth century, more than sixty persons affiliated with Columbia won the Nobel Prize, including Harold C. Urey in chemistry, I. I. Rabi and Polykarp Kusch in physics, André Cournand and Dickinson Richards in medicine, and William Vickrey in economics. The students were similarly distinguished and included such persons as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lou Gehrig, Paul Robeson, Lionel Trilling, Benjamin Spock, Jack Kerouac, Virginia Apgar, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In the spring of 1968, the Columbia campus became a battleground when students occupied five buildings to protest the proposed construction of a university gymnasium in a near by park and to fight against institutional involvement in the military-industrial complex. After five days of relative stand off, President Grayson Kirk asked the New York Police Department to clear over a thousand protestors from university buildings. The ensuing chaos injured eighty-nine persons and led to 712 arrests. A positive consequence was the creation of the University Senate, a deliberative body with representation from the administration, faculty, alumni, staff, and student body. A negative consequence was the temporary shattering of a long tradition of peaceful debate.

After a difficult financial period during the 1970s, Columbia returned to strength under the administration of Michael Sovern. He instituted a renewal program that included the creation of 120 endowed professorships. In 1983, Columbia College admitted women for the first time (Barnard College continued to admit women only) and applications from both male and female students soon increased markedly. In 1993, George Rupp became Columbia's eighteenth chief executive officer. His administration was characterized by a doubling of Columbia's applicant pool and unprecedented success at fund-raising. By the early years of the twenty-first century, the university had enrolled more than twenty-thousand full-time students; with its affiliates Barnard College and Teachers College, the total stood at about twenty-seven thousand. It included sixteen schools, dozens of distinguished academic departments, and more than seventy venues for specialized research. Columbia College, however, continued to have the smallest undergraduate enrollment in the Ivy League at four thousand. Lee Bollinger became the nineteenth president of Columbia University on 1 July 2002.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Brief History of Columbia. Available online at: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aboutcolumbia/history.html.

Kenneth T.Jackson

See alsoEducation, Higher: Colleges and Universities, Women's Colleges ; Ivy League ; Seven Sisters Colleges .

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Columbia University

Columbia University, mainly in New York City; founded 1754 as King's College by grant of King George II; first college in New York City, fifth oldest in the United States; one of the eight Ivy League institutions.

Schools and Affiliates

Columbia College, the original core of the university, is now a coeducational undergraduate school. The school of medicine (est. 1767), which awarded the first M.D. degree in America in 1770, was absorbed into the independent College of Physicians and Surgeons (chartered 1807), which in turn was absorbed into the university in 1891. Also included in the university are the schools of law (1858); architecture, planning, and preservation (1896); and engineering and applied science, founded (1864) as the school of mines; the graduate school of arts and science, founded as the graduate faculties of political science (1880), philosophy (1890), and pure science (1892); and the schools of nursing (1892), general studies (1904), journalism (1912), business (1916), dental medicine (1916), public health (1922), social work (1940), international and public affairs (1946), and the arts (1948). Columbia has in the past operated schools of pharmacy (1904–76) and library science (1926–92) and offered professional courses in optometry (1910–56). Affiliates of the university are Teachers College (founded 1889, affiliated with the university 1898) and Barnard College (founded 1889, affiliated with the university 1900).

Much of Columbia's work in the fields of political science and international relations is carried on through a large group of research institutes (e.g., the East Asian, the European, and the Russian, now Harriman, institutes). At Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., are the university's Nevis physics laboratories. At Palisades, N.Y., the university operates the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which has extensive facilities for research in geophysics, geochemistry, and oceanography. The university enrolls some 22,000 students.

Columbia has formal educational ties to the Juilliard School of Music and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, to Oxford and Cambridge universities in England, to the Univ. of Paris, to Kyoto and Tokyo universities in Japan, and other educational institutions. It operates the Arden House conference center at Harriman, N.Y., and Reid Hall, an academic facility in Paris. The university library system, among the nation's largest, has many important manuscript and rare book collections. Columbia Univ. Press was founded in 1893.

History

Its first president was Samuel Johnson (1696–1772), a clergyman, who held classes in the schoolhouse of Trinity Church. The administration of his successor, Myles Cooper, was interrupted by the American Revolution; the college was closed but was reopened as Columbia College (1784) in a building in lower Manhattan. Title was first vested in the regents of the Univ. of the State of New York but in 1787 it was transferred to the trustees of the college, who elected William Samuel Johnson president. In 1857, under Charles King (1789–1867), the college moved to a site at Madison Ave. and 49th St.; in 1897, under Seth Low, the move was made to Morningside Heights. The gradual addition of professional and graduate schools resulted in the assumption of the name Columbia Univ. in 1896; in 1912 the name became Columbia Univ. in the City of New York. Columbia College remained the undergraduate school and in 1919 originated the modern Contemporary Civilizations Core Curriculum requirements, for which it is still well known.

Notable presidents of Columbia include F. A. P. Barnard, Nicholas Murray Butler, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Grayson Kirk was president from 1953 to 1968 and was succeeded by Andrew Cordier. In 1970, William J. McGill was appointed president; his successor, Michael I. Sovern, was president from 1980 to 1993. George E. Rupp succeeded Sovern in 1993, and Lee C. Bollinger followed Rupp in 2002.

Bibliography

For histories of the various schools, see the volumes published in the Bicentennial series of Columbia Univ. See University on the Heights, ed. by W. First (1969); D. C. Humphrey, From Kings College to Columbia (1976).

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