The Oldest and Newest Universities in the U.S.

If someone asks you to name 10 universities in the United States, you would probably be able to. But what if they ask you about the newest and oldest universities in the US? Here are the first founded universities in the country and the ones that can be considered “babies” to help you answer that question.

Oldest Universities

Student standing outside Harvard University red brick building.

Flickr user Carlos Pacheco

Harvard University, 1636

Founded in 1636, almost every American knows this university. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and named after John Harvard, its first benefactor, the campus sprawls across 210 acres.

Considered an Ivy League university, 11 different faculties divide the campus. Ivy League describes colleges with high selectivity, social elitism, and also excellence. It was the school of known people such as Bill Gates, (the founder of Microsoft), Barack Obama and George W. Bush (US Presidents) and also Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook). Even though the tuition is expensive, it offers different financial aid packages to help its students.

Tucker Hall at the College of William and Mary.

Flickr user benuski

The College of William and Mary, 1693

King William III and Queen Mary II founded the Virginia university in 1693, as a royal university.

It became a private university, in 1776, and later public, in 1906. Popular due to its law and medicine programs, it also includes professional schools, such as business, education and marine science. Its students founded the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society in 1776, which is also the oldest honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States. Presidents of the U.S Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe attended it.

Looking through the entry gate at Yale University's main building.

Flickr user m01229

Yale University, 1701

Founded in 1701 and located in New Haven, Connecticut, 14 constituent schools divide this Ivy League private university’s campus. Faculties oversee their own curriculum and degree programs, though Yale Corporation governs the whole university. Yale students, represented by the Yale Bulldogs, then compete with other schools in the NCAA Division I Ivy League. Important people such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, and also Jodie Foster studied here.

Newest Universities

Students in graduation gowns sitting atop of the entrance sign at UC Merced.

Flickr user SDHN

University of California Merced, 2005

A public university founded in 2005, it’s located in San Joaquin Valley California and its campus occupies 810 acres of territory. All buildings on campus are also LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Divided into 3 schools, this university offers 21 undergraduate majors and 22 minors. Its most recent building is the one for science and engineering. They plan on adding two new schools, medicine and management.

Arched Catholic Oratory building of Ave Maria University.

Flickr user Terence Faircloth

Ave Maria University, 2003

Founded officially in 2013, this Catholic, private university started working back in 1998. It’s located in the town of Ave Maria, Florida–east of Naples–and offers 3 graduate and 30 undergraduate degrees. In 2012, it was part of U.S News & World Report’s, “Best Colleges 2012” list of “National Liberal Arts College Rankings”. Tom Monaghan was the first founder of this university. He made his fortune through starting Domino’s Pizza at the beginning of the ’60s.

A water fountain in front of Soka University campus building.

Flickr user Little Koshka

Soka University of America, 2001

Located in Aliso Viejo, California, this liberal arts school has pacifism, human rights, and the coexistence of nature and humanity as its main principles. The university offers bachelor degrees in areas such as Environmental Studies, Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences, or International Studies, and master degrees in Educational Leadership and Societal Change. Classes don’t exceed 12 students. Additionally, students must at least one non-native language. Spanish, French, Mandarin, and also Japanese are offered by the university.

Interested in attending a historic school or a brand new one? Enter your info into our college match tool to see which universities are suggested for you!

2 thoughts on “The Oldest and Newest Universities in the U.S.”

  1. Luke says:

    Florida Polytechnic University began in 2014! Check us out!

  2. Erin Hill says:

    Check out Harrisburg University of Science & Technology – established in 2005!

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