The History of Ivy League Universities

The Ivy League is a term used to refer to 8 exclusive New England schools of higher learning with some of the richest and longest histories of any college or university in the United States. A degree from one of these prestigious universities is synonymous with excellence in academics as well as material wealth.

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the Ivy League as well as the country as a whole. It was brought into existence by an act of the Massachusetts legislature in 1636 and named after John Harvard, the university`s first benefactor. Although initially a training ground for Unitarian and Congregationalist clergy, the university became increasingly secular through the 18th Century and today is known as one of the foremost cultural centers in America and the center of the elite of its Boston area location. It is known as one of the most picturesque campuses in the world and it has the largest endowment of any college in the world.

Harvard`s most bitter Ivy League rival and its equal in academic excellence and elitism is Yale University. Founded in 1702 in what was then the colony of Connecticut, it is the 3rd oldest institute of higher learning in America. The university got its name from early benefactor Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. It was originally established to train the political leaders and clergy of the colony. Today, Yale`s considerable assets include the 2nd largest academic library in the Unites States and one of it`s largest endowments with over 16.3 billion.

Princeton University in the town in Princeton, New Jersey, was founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, it received its present day name in 1896. Princeton was one the first institutes of higher learning established in what is now the United States and is one of the richest universities in the world with a multi-billion dollar endowment and its graduates could fill a book of Who`s Who in America.

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League school located in Philadelphia, PA. It is the 4th oldest institute of higher learning in America. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, its initial focus was education for public service on the classics and theology as well as practical education for commerce. Today the university offers an extensive range of graduate and undergraduate programs from a dental school to a nursing and veterinary school.

Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island; it is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in the United States. It was founded in 1746 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the campus is one of the finest examples of Georgian style American colonial era architecture.

Dartmouth College is a liberal arts college that also houses a prestigious medical school. Established in 1769, the college is the smallest of the 8 Ivy League schools but still one of the richest with a multi-billion dollar endowment.

Colombia University is a private research institute of higher learning located in New York City. It was founded in 1754 as King`s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the administrator of the American literary award, the Pulitzer Prize and is in the first tier of American research universities.

Cornell University is a private land-grant university located in Ithaca, New York. It is the most recently founded of all the Ivy League schools dating to its founding in 1865. Founded by benefactors Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university today offers renown programs in liberal arts, engineering, law, and medicine.

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