Rutgers University

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RUTGERS UNIVERSITY was chartered as Queens College in 1766 by the colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin. The college was located in New Brunswick on the banks of the Raritan River and was affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1825, the college was renamed Rutgers College to honor a prominent church member and philanthropist from New York City named Henry Rutgers. During the nineteenth century the college gradually severed its religious ties and began receiving financial support from the state of New Jersey. In 1864 the New Jersey legislature named Rutgers the recipient of funding from the federal land grants of the Morrill Act, which allowed Rutgers to expand its scientific and agricultural educational offerings. In 1869, Rutgers played the first college football game with Princeton, winning by a score of 6 to 4. Through its ties to the Dutch Reformed Church, Rutgers became the site for more than 300 Japanese students who came to the United States in the late nineteenth century to study English and technical fields. The Rutgers faculty members William Elliot Griffis and David Murray traveled to Japan during the 1870s to advise the Meiji government on its modernization and educational projects.

During the early twentieth century New Jersey expanded its support for Rutgers to include a state-supported women's college. Thanks to a lobbying effort led by Mabel Smith Douglass, who was named the college's first dean, the New Jersey College for Women (renamed Douglass College in 1955) began operating in 1918. In 1921 the College of Agriculture (renamed Cook College in 1973) was formed. Soon after, engineering, arts and sciences, and education were all configured as colleges or schools, to organize what was now Rutgers University. Paul Robeson, a prominent African American entertainer and political activist, graduated from Rutgers in 1919 after distinguished academic and athletic achievement. Like most of American higher education, Rutgers experienced dramatic growth during the period following World War II with undergraduate enrollment reaching 8,656 during 1948 and expanding to nearly 48,000 graduates and undergraduates by 2000. The mid-twentieth century saw the expansion of Rutgers University to include campuses in Newark and Camden and the New Jersey legislature's official designation of Rutgers as the state university. Selman Waksman, a professor in the College of Agriculture and a graduate of Rutgers College, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1952 for his work in the discovery of antibiotics.


McCormick, Richard. Rutgers: A Bicentennial History. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1966.

Moffatt, Michael. The Rutgers Picture Book: An Illustrated History of Student Life in the Changing College and University. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1985.

Robert NelsonReddick

See alsoEducation, Higher: Colleges and Universities ; New Jersey .

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