List of 5 Oldest Universities in the United States

United States of America has an excellent education framework, and cultural importance globally.

The United States of America is the home to some of the finest and oldest universities globally that have produced leaders, artists, and influencers. From the first American president of the USA to the world’s wealthiest person, they have studied in at least one of these universities.

 Here’s a look at some of the 5 oldest universities in the United States;

List of 5 Oldest Universities in the United States

  1. Harvard University.
  2. The College of William and Mary.
  3. St. John’s College.
  4. Yale University.
  5. The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

1. Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the five oldest universities in the united states established in 1636 (chartered in 1650).

The university is located in Massachusetts, Harvard University was originally called New College. The name was subsequently changed to Harvard College in honor of its first benefactor, John Harvard, who bequeathed half of his monetary estate and his 320-volume scholar’s library to the university in his will.

Harvard University is the oldest university in the United States, Harvard is also one of the world’s most prominent, currently ranked third in the World University Rankings.

2. College of William and Mary

College of William and Mary is the second oldest universities in the united states which was established in 1693.

Named for the British co-monarchs who were reigning at the time and who gave the university its royal charter (the first for any university in the US), the College of William and Mary is the oldest university in the American South and was the first school of higher education in the US to install an honor code of conduct for students.

Ranked 601-650 in the world, the college is also placed within the global top 450 for arts and humanities. It has educated three US presidents, including Thomas Jefferson.

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3. St. John’s College

St John’s College (SJC)  has been established since 1696 which make it one of the oldest universities in the united states. St John’s College (SJC)is a private liberal arts college which was originally founded as King William’s School, the Maryland colony’s first ‘free’ school (free in this context meaning to free students through education).

It gained its current name in 1784 and now has two campuses, one in Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland, and another in New Mexico’s state capital, Santa Fe. Although it doesn’t feature in the  World University Rankings, the college was included among the US’ top 100 liberal arts colleges according to the U.S. News & World Report.

4. Yale University

Yale University has been established since 1701.  Yale University is currently ranked 17th in the world and was originally founded as ‘Collegiate School’.

It was renamed Yale in 1718 in recognition of a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. Also that year, Yale moved to its current location in New Haven, Connecticut, having previously been located in Clinton, Saybrook and Wethersfield.

Yale was originally established to train ministers in theology and sacred languages, but by 1777 the school’s curriculum began to include humanities and sciences, and in 1861, Yale was the first US university to award a PhD. It currently ranks fourth in the world for law studies, and sixth for arts and humanities.

5. University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania was established in 1740 (chartered in 1755). The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn) was founded by Benjamin Franklin and was the first US university to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Penn was also one of the first academic institutions in the country to have multidisciplinary teaching in different faculty areas, and in 1765 became the first US university to have a medical school.

Penn currently ranks 15th in the world overall, and is particularly reputed for its management and law courses, having been ranked fifth in the world for business and management. In general, the university has a strong reputation for its intensive research activity.

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