Old school: The 20 colleges and universities over 100 years old

Looking for a school with a lot of history? These higher-education institutions have been in operation since before your grandma was in bloomers. Students at these schools enjoy the rich history, well established alumni groups, and some of the oldest college towns in America.

20 schools over 100 years old in the U.S.

From East Coast colonial colleges to the first university in Hawaii, find out what these old schools have to offer modern students.

20. University of Hawaii, Manoa: The first university in Hawaii was founded in 1907. About 69 percent of students are from Hawaii, but a few lucky outsiders also get to study in paradise.

19. Joliet Junior College: This Illinois vocational college makes the list as the first community college in the United States. The junior college has welcomed students since 1901.

18. Texas A&M University: Founded in 1876, this school ranks as the first public institution of higher learning in the state of Texas. Today, A&M students root on their Aggie sports teams with pride.

17. University of Washington: “Let there be light” is the motto of this Pacific Northwest university, which was founded in 1861 as a way to improve Seattle’s prestige with the rest of the nation.

16. San José State University: Founded in 1857 as Minns’ Evening Normal School, San José State University ranks among the oldest public colleges on the West Coast.

15. Santa Clara University: Founded in 1851, the school is a private Jesuit university. Notable alums include Janet Napolitano.

14. Saint Louis University: This one-of-a-kind school was founded in 1818 and enjoys the distinction as the oldest university west of the Mississippi.

13. Miami University: This Ohio school was founded in 1809 and claims the nation’s oldest student newspaper, The Miami Student.

12. The University of Georgia, Athens: This state university was established in 1801. Legend has it that if freshmen walk under the campus arch, they’ll never graduate.

11. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: The American Revolution delayed the opening day of this university, which opened its doors in 1795.

10. Salem College: Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and founded in 1772, this Southern school is the nation’s oldest educational institution for women.

9. The College of Charleston: Founded in 1770, this South Carolina school is the oldest university south of Virginia. The vibrant small town of Charleston makes a fine backdrop.

8. Dartmouth College: A minister from Connecticut founded Dartmouth in 1769. Today, this Hanover, New Hampshire school enjoy the rich history of this Ivy League school.

7. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: This state university of New Jersey sees itself as 243 years old and sharp as a tack. Rutgers was chartered in 1766 and opened in New Brunswick in 1771.

6. Brown University: Founded in 1764, this school brings students to Providence, Rhode Island, a New England center for culture, arts, and education.

5. Columbia University in the City of New York: A royal charter by King George II founded Columbia in 1754. Samuel Johnson held some of the school’s first classes next to Trinity Church in Manhattan.

4. University of Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin’s idea for a college in 1743 was an innovative vision of higher education at what would first be called the College of Pennsylvania.

3. Yale University: This ivy-league institution is the third-oldest higher-education university in the United States. Founded in 1701, Yale currently welcomes about 11,000 students a year.

2. The College of William & Mary: This colonial Williamsburg school was founded by a royal charter in 1693, reopening as a public university in 1888. Notable alums include Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Jon Stewart.

1. Harvard University: Hands-down the oldest college in the United States. Harvard got the nation’s educational future off to a good start in 1636. The school currently has about 320,000 living alumni.

Does older necessarily mean wiser? That’s up to you to decide, but one thing is certain: these old schools have an impressive history. Whether you’re thinking of earning a bachelor’s degree from an institution with years of credentials or you’re considering graduate school from an ivy-draped establishment, these centenarian schools are worth a look.

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