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Established in as King’s College on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan , Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and is considered one of the most prestigious schools in the world. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence , seven of which belong to the Ivy League.

Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world. It was renamed Columbia College in following the American Revolution , and in was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In , the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

Columbia scientists and scholars have played a pivotal role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface ; the laser and maser ; [12] [13] nuclear magnetic resonance ; [14] the first nuclear pile ; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas ; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift ; [15] [16] [17] and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 16 graduate schools. With over As of December [update] , its alumni, faculty, and staff have included: seven Founding Fathers of the United States; [n 2] four U. Discussions regarding the founding of a college in the Province of New York began as early as , at which time Colonel Lewis Morris wrote to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts , the missionary arm of the Church of England , persuading the society that New York City was an ideal community in which to establish a college.

In , the assembly appointed a commission of ten New York residents, seven of whom were members of the Church of England , to direct the funds accrued by the state lottery towards the foundation of a college. Classes were initially held in July and were presided over by the college’s first president, Dr. Samuel Johnson. Johnson was the only instructor of the college’s first class, which consisted of a mere eight students. Instruction was held in a new schoolhouse adjoining Trinity Church , located on what is now lower Broadway in Manhattan.

In , Dr. In the charged political climate of the American Revolution , his chief opponent in discussions at the college was an undergraduate of the class of , Alexander Hamilton. The suspension continued through the military occupation of New York City by British troops until their departure in The college’s library was looted and its sole building requisitioned for use as a military hospital first by American and then British forces.

After the Revolution, the college turned to the State of New York in order to restore its vitality, promising to make whatever changes to the school’s charter the state might demand.

The Regents finally became aware of the college’s defective constitution in February and appointed a revision committee, which was headed by John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. In April of that same year, a new charter was adopted for the college granted the power to a separate board of 24 trustees. Samuel Johnson , was unanimously elected president of Columbia College.

Prior to serving at the university, Johnson had participated in the First Continental Congress and been chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Both President George Washington and Vice President John Adams attended the college’s commencement on May 6, , as a tribute of honor to the many alumni of the school who had been involved in the American Revolution.

In , the college moved from the King’s College campus at Park Place to a primarily Gothic Revival campus on 49th Street and Madison Avenue , where it remained for the next forty years. During the last half of the 19th century, under the leadership of President F. Barnard , the president that Barnard College is named after, the institution rapidly assumed the shape of a modern university.

Barnard College was created in as a response to the university’s refusal to accept women. Research into the atom by faculty members John R.

Dunning , I. Rabi , Enrico Fermi and Polykarp Kusch placed Columbia’s physics department in the international spotlight in the s after the first nuclear pile was built to start what became the Manhattan Project.

There was an evening school called University Extension, which taught night classes, for a fee, to anyone willing to attend. In the aftermath of World War II, the discipline of international relations became a major scholarly focus of the university, and in response, the School of International and Public Affairs was founded in , drawing upon the resources of the faculties of political science, economics, and history.

During the s Columbia experienced large-scale student activism , which reached a climax in the spring of when hundreds of students occupied buildings on campus. The incident forced the resignation of Columbia’s president, Grayson Kirk , and the establishment of the University Senate. Though several schools within the university had admitted women for years, Columbia College first admitted women in the fall of , after a decade of failed negotiations with Barnard College , the all-female institution affiliated with the university, to merge the two schools.

During the late 20th century, the university underwent significant academic, structural, and administrative changes as it developed into a major research university. For much of the 19th century, the university consisted of decentralized and separate faculties specializing in Political Science, Philosophy, and Pure Science. In , these faculties were merged into the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In , the School of International and Public Affairs , which was previously a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, became an independent faculty.

The majority of Columbia’s graduate and undergraduate studies are conducted in Morningside Heights on Seth Low ‘s lateth century vision of a university campus where all disciplines could be taught at one location. Columbia’s main campus occupies more than six city blocks , or 32 acres 13 ha , in Morningside Heights , New York City, a neighborhood that contains a number of academic institutions. The university owns over 7, apartments in Morningside Heights, housing faculty, graduate students, and staff.

Almost two dozen undergraduate dormitories purpose-built or converted are located on campus or in Morningside Heights. Columbia University has an extensive tunnel system , more than a century old, with the oldest portions predating the present campus.

Some of these remain accessible to the public, while others have been cordoned off. The Nicholas Murray Butler Library, known simply as Butler Library , is the largest single library in the Columbia University Library System , and is one of the largest buildings on the campus.

Proposed as “South Hall” by the university’s former president Nicholas Murray Butler as expansion plans for Low Memorial Library stalled, the new library was funded by Edward Harkness , benefactor of Yale’s residential college system, and designed by his favorite architect, James Gamble Rogers.

It was completed in and renamed for Butler in The library design is neo-classical in style. Its facade features a row of columns in the Ionic order above which are inscribed the names of great writers, philosophers, and thinkers, most of whom are read by students engaged in the Core Curriculum of Columbia College.

Low Memorial Library , a National Historic Landmark and the centerpiece of the campus, is listed for its architectural significance. Philosophy Hall is listed as the site of the invention of FM radio. Here the first experiments on the fission of uranium were conducted by Enrico Fermi. The uranium atom was split there ten days after the world’s first atom-splitting in Copenhagen, Denmark. Draped in an academic gown, the female figure of Alma Mater wears a crown of laurels and sits on a throne.

The scroll-like arms of the throne end in lamps, representing sapientia and doctrina. A book signifying knowledge, balances on her lap, and an owl, the attribute of wisdom, is hidden in the folds of her gown. Her right hand holds a scepter composed of four sprays of wheat, terminating with a crown of King’s College which refers to Columbia’s origin as a royal charter institution in A local actress named Mary Lawton was said to have posed for parts of the sculpture.

The statue was dedicated on September 23, , as a gift of Mr. Robert Goelet, and was originally covered in golden leaf. During the Columbia University protests of a bomb damaged the sculpture, but it has since been repaired. The term refers to the long series of granite steps leading from the lower part of campus South Field to its upper terrace.

With a design inspired by the City Beautiful movement , the steps of Low Library provides Columbia University and Barnard College students, faculty, and staff with a comfortable outdoor platform and space for informal gatherings, events, and ceremonies. McKim’s classical facade epitomizes late 19th-century new-classical designs, with its columns and portico marking the entrance to an important structure.

In April , the university purchased more than two-thirds of a 17 acres 6. Greene Center for Mind, Brain, and Behavior, where research will occur on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Replacing these buildings created 6. Community activist groups in West Harlem fought the expansion for reasons ranging from property protection and fair exchange for land, to residents’ rights. As of December [update] , the State of New York’s Empire State Development Corporation approved use of eminent domain, which, through declaration of Manhattanville’s “blighted” status, gives governmental bodies the right to appropriate private property for public use.

According to U. Health-related schools are located at the Columbia University Medical Center , a acre 8. Wien Stadium as well as facilities for field sports, outdoor track, and tennis.

A fourth is the acre 24 ha Nevis Laboratories in Irvington , New York for the study of particle and motion physics. A satellite site in Paris, France holds classes at Reid Hall. In , the university established the Office of Environmental Stewardship to initiate, coordinate and implement programs to reduce the university’s environmental footprint. The U. The plan commits to incorporating smart growth, new urbanism and “green” building design principles.

The university requires a minimum of Silver, but through its design and review process seeks to achieve higher levels. This is especially challenging for lab and research buildings with their intensive energy use; however, the university also uses lab design guidelines that seek to maximize energy efficiency while protecting the safety of researchers.

Every Thursday and Sunday of the month, Columbia hosts a greenmarket where local farmers can sell their produce to residents of the city. In addition, from April to November Hodgson’s farm, a local New York gardening center, joins the market bringing a large selection of plants and blooming flowers. The market is one of the many operated at different points throughout the city by the non-profit group GrowNYC. According to the A. Kuchler U. Columbia Transportation is the bus service of the university, operated by Academy Bus Lines.

In addition, all TSC students can ride the buses. Columbia University received 60, applications for the class of entering and a total of around 2, were admitted to the two schools for an overall acceptance rate of 3. Annual gifts, fund-raising, and an increase in spending from the university’s endowment have allowed Columbia to extend generous financial aid packages to qualifying students. The donation is among the largest single gifts to higher education.

That same year, the university ended loans for incoming and then-current students who were on financial aid, replacing loans that were traditionally part of aid packages with grants from the university.

However, this does not apply to international students, transfer students, visiting students, or students in the School of General Studies. The policy change made Columbia one of the last major academic institutions and the last Ivy League university to switch to the Common Application.

Scholarships are also given to undergraduate students by the admissions committee. Designations include John W. Named scholars are selected by the admission committee from first-year applicants.

According to Columbia, the first four designated scholars “distinguish themselves for their remarkable academic and personal achievements, dynamism, intellectual curiosity, the originality and independence of their thinking, and the diversity that stems from their different cultures and their varied educational experiences”.


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