Emergent University, 1860 – 1920: A Timeline

The Emergent American University, 1860 – 1920: A Timeline




1861 Massachusetts legislature grants charter for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; classes commence in 1865
1861 Yale the first American academic institution to award the PhD degree
1862 Congress passes Morrill College Land Grant Act; provides federal support to Union states to establish schools of technology
1864 School of Mines opens as part of Columbia College
1864 Columbia trustees make Frederick A.P. Barnard their 10th president; to serve until 1888.
1866 Cornell University opens in Ithaca, New York; funds from benefactor Ezra Cornell and New York State; Andrew Dickson White its first president (1866-1885)
1869 Charles W. Eliot elected president of Harvard University; to serve until 1909
1873 Johns Hopkins gives $3.5 million to Baltimore to establish a hospital and University.
1872 Cornell becomes the 2nd American academic institution to award the PhD.
1873 New Yorker Cornelius Vanderbilt gives $1 million to create Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Methodist in denominational character.
1873 Harvard becomes the 3rd American institution to award the PhD.
1875 Columbia College becomes the 4th institution to award the PhD; does so through its School of Mines.
1876 Johns Hopkins University opens in Baltimore; Daniel Coit Gilman its founding president (1876-1901)
1878 Hopkins awards its first PhDs; soon the national leader in doing so
1881 Joseph Wharton gave $100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania to establish The Wharton School of Finance and Economy
1883 The Modern Language Association (MLA)  organized to promote the professional study of modern languages and literature
1884 The American Historical Association (AHA) founded to advance the professional study of history.
1884 Columbia political scientist John W. Burgess publishes his pamphlet, The American University:
1885 The American Economic Association (AEA) founded; Columbia’s Edwin R.A. Seligman among the prime movers.
1889 Jonas Clark provides $1 million to start Clark University in Worcester, Mass.; originally an exclusively graduate university. The psychologist G. Stanley Hall its founding president (1889- 1920)
1890 Second Morrill Land Grant Act extends federal support to southern states excluded in the original 1862 legislation.
1891 Leland Stanford, Jr. University opens in Palo Alto, California, with $24 million in funding from railroader Leland Stanford. The biologist David Starr Jordan its first president.
1892 The American Psychological Association (APA) is founded. Columbian James McKeen Cattell a prime mover.
1892 John D. Rockefeller provides $34 million in funding to establish the University of Chicago; William Rainey Harper its founding president (1892-1902).
1897 Columbia University moves to its new campus on Morningside Heights, following receipt of several $500,000-plus gifts for several buildings.
1900 By 1900, six major American universities JHU, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Chicago) had awarded nearly 1700 PhDs
1900 Fourteen universities form the Association of American Universities
1903 Harvard philosopher William James publishes “The PhD Octopus,” a criticism of colleges for insisting on the PhD as a requirement for a teaching position.
1905 Andrew Carnegie founded and funded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Set out to assist universities by providing retirement support for faculty
1905 Columbia psychologist James McKeen Cattell publishes the first version of his American Men of Science, a pioneering effort to rank scientists and universities by their research productivity
 1915  American Association of University Professors (AAUP)  organized to protect the “academic freedom” of the senior professoriate.
1917 The journalist and Columbia graduate Randolph Bourne published a critiques of the pro-interventionist sentiments of his teachers  such as John Dewey  in “Twilight of Idols” and “War and the Intellectuals’
 1917 Columbia trustees fire James McKeen Cattell for violating University rules on voicing opposition to US entry into WW I
 1917  October Columbia political scientist Charles A. Beard resigns to protest Trustee action against Cattell and other faculty.
 1918  Several leading academics participate in the “Inquiry,” a research undertaking to plan for establishing a permanent peace at the close of the war. Columbia’s James T. Shotwell among them.
 Last updated: February 16, 2014

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