Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Vanderbilt University (also known as Vandy) is a private, non-sectarian university located in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873 as the result of a gift of one million dollars by shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had hoped his gift and the work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds of the Civil War, Vanderbilt is now one of the most prestigious universities in the United States.
Comprised of 10 schools--4 undergraduate and 6 graduate--and a medical center, the university has an approximate total enrollment of 11,000. Its chancellor is Gordon Gee.
Prior to the Civil War, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South had been considering creating a regional university for the training of ministers. Through the lobbying of Nashville bishop Holland McTyeire , church leaders voted in 1872 to create a Central University in Nashville. However, lack of funds delayed the actual founding of the college.
The following year, on a medical trip to New York, McTyeire stayed at the residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose second wife was the cousin of McTyeire's wife. Vanderbilt, the wealthiest man in America at the time, had been considering philanthropy as he was in his advanced years. His original plan was to establish a university on Staten Island, New York to honor his mother. However, McTyeire successfully convinced him to donate $500,000 to endow Central University. The endowment (later increased to $1 million) would be Vanderbilt's only philanthropy. Though he never expressed any desire to having the university named after himself, McTyeire and his fellow trustees soon rechristened the school as the Vanderbilt University.
In the fall of 1875, about two hundred students enrolled at Vanderbilt; the University was dedicated in October of that year. Bishop McTyeire named Landon Garland , his mentor from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and then-Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, as Chancellor. Garland shaped the school's structure and hired the school's faculty, many of whom were renowed scholars in their respective fields.
For the next 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt would be under the auspices of the General conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. However, tensions began rising between the University administration and the Conference over the future of the school, particularly over the methods by which members of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust would be chosen. Conflicts escalated with the appointment of James Kirkland as chancellor in 1893. The final straw, at least in the mind of Kirkland, was a failed campaign to raise $300,000 from southern Methodist congegrations (only $50,000 was raised). Further disputes between the bishops and Kirkland, which erupted into litigation in 1912, led the Methodist conference to sever all ties with Vanderbilt University in June 1914.
Vanderbilt experienced the probably peak of its intellectual influence during 1920s and 1930s when it hosted two partly-overlapping groups of scholars who had a large impact on American thought and letters: the Fugitives and the Agrarians.
During the Civil Right movement, Vanderbilt exhibited both the best and worst of the attitude prevalent in the South during that time. In the late 1950's, the Vanderbilt Divinity School became something of a hotbed of the emerging movement, and the university responded rashly by expelling one of its leaders, James Lawson. Much later, in 1996, he was made a Distinguished Alumnus for his achievements. (add first black athlete in SEC was at Vanderbilt) History, race, and civil rights issues again came to the fore on the campus in 2002, when the university decided to rename an old dormitory called Confederate Memorial Hall, and nationwide attention, plus a lawsuit by the Order of the Confederate Rose resulted.
In 1979, Vanderbilt absorbed its neighbor Peabody College.
Vanderbilt is currently divided into ten degree-granting units:
- College of Arts and Science
- Blair School of Music
- School of Engineering
- Peabody College of Education and Human Development
- Graduate School
- Divinity School
- Law School
- School of Medicine
- School of Nursing
- Owen Graduate School of Management
As of Fall 2004, the university had an enrollment of 6,272 undergraduate and 5,022 graduate and professional students. It was also the largest private employer in Nashville and one of the largest in Tennessee, with approximately 18,000 faculty and staff.
Once considered a southern school, Vanderbilt has been taking steps to diversify its incoming classes. Today, around 55% of the total student body comes from outside the South, including 8.5% coming from outside the U.S. Moreover, 22% of the Class of 2008 were students of color.
The Vanderbilt campus is located approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of downtown Nashville; however, the university occupies a park-like setting. The campus has an area of 330 acres (1.3 km²), though this figure includes large tracts of sparsely-used land in the southwest part of the main campus, as well the medical center. The original academic quad is approximately 30 acres (120,000 m²) in area.
The campus is certified to have at least one specimen of every tree that is indigenous to the state of Tennessee. In fact, the main (original) campus was designated as a national arboretum in 1988, a status which the University does not take lightly. Any visitor to the campus will quickly notice that signs posted to the trees by various student groups are actually bound to the trees with wire instead of being nailed to them, as it is illegal to cause damage to any tree on a national arboretum.
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center has grown to be an important part of the University and is distinguished in medical education, research, and patient care. In 2003, the Medical Center was placed on the Honor Roll of U.S. News and World Report annual rating of the nation's best hosptials, solidifying Vanderbilt's reputation as a peer of universities like Duke and Stanford. Additionally, the U.S News ranked the university's school of medicine 17th in the nation among research-oriented medical schools in its annual ratings of best American educational institutions.
The University itself has also received high marks from the U.S. News. Vanderbilt currently ranks 18th in the nation among national research universities in the U.S. News college rankings. In the U.S. News graduate program rankings, the Vanderbilt Law School ranks 17th, Vanderbilt's Peabody College ranks fifth among schools of education, and Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management ranks 45th among business schools. (Though it has been argued that Vanderbilt's ranking is hindered by its relatively small size. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal recently rank Owen second among "smaller" business schools.)
Additionally, Vanderbilt is ranked first in the nation in the fields of Special Education and Audiology.
As with any large research institution, Vanderbilt investigators work in a broad range of disciplines. However, among its more unusual activities, the university has institutes devoted to the study of coffee and of bridge (the game, invented by a great-grandson of the Commodore). In addition, in mid-2004 it was announced that Vanderbilt's chemical biology research may have serendipitously opened the door to the breeding of a blue rose, something that had long been coveted by horticulturalists and rose lovers.
Vanderbilt is a member of the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference in the NCAA's Division I, in which it is the only private school. The men's soccer team competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, as the SEC does not sponsor that sport for men. Vandy's teams are nicknamed the Commodores and the school colors are black and gold. The school fields teams in 13 varsity sports (6 men's, 6 women's, and 1 coed). Men's and women's tennis, as well as women's lacrosse, are Vandy's strongest sports.
Chancellors of Vanderbilt
- Landon Garland (1875-1893)
- James Kirkland (1893-1937)
- Oliver Carmichael (1937-1946)
- Harvie Branscomb (1946-1962)
- Alexander Heard (1963-1982)
- Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000)
- Gordon Gee (2000- )
Unless otherwise noted, the following people graduated with baccalaureate degrees. Names with an asterisk (*) graduated from Peabody College prior to its merger with Vanderbilt.
Art and Humanities
- Donald Davidson, poet
- Randall Jarrell, poet, critic, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
- Delbert Mann, Oscar-winning director
- Merrill Moore , poet
- John Crowe Ransom, poet, essayist, and social commentator
- Allen Tate, poet, critic, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
- Robert Penn Warren, Pulitzer prize winner, first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
- James Patterson, bestselling novelist, wrote Along Came A Spider and Kiss the Girls, which were adapted into successful Hollywood films
Business and Economics
- William Douglas Parker, Jr. (MBA), Chairman, President, and CEO of America West Airlines
- Charlie Soong, missionary, businessman, father of the Soong sisters
- Muhammad Yunus (PhD), pioneer of microcredit
Entertainment and Fashion
- Joe Bob Briggs, B-movie critic
- Amy Grant, Contemporary Christian music artist
- Bettie Page*, model
- Dinah Shore, singer, actress, and television host
- Molly Sims, supermodel [attended two years but dropped out to pursue modeling]
Government, Politics, and Activism
- Lamar Alexander, US Senator from Tennessee, former Governor of Tennessee, presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000
- Bill Boner(MS)*, former Mayor of Nashville
- Bill Campbell, former Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia
- Frank G. Clement, former Governor of Tennessee
- Beverly Briley, first Mayor of Nashvile-Davidson Metropolitan government
- Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and presidential candidate [attended Law and Divinity Schools but did not complete his degree at either]
- Tipper Gore (MS)*, wife of Al Gore, former Second Lady of the United States, activist
- John Jay Hooker(Law School), political figure
- James Lawson, Civil Rights pioneer
- Mickey Kantor, United States Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration
- Ric Keller, US Representative from Florida
- John Kennedy, Louisiana State Treasurer and Democratic Candidate for US Senate in 2004
- Harlan Mathews, former US Senator from Tennessee
- Roy Neel , Campaign Manager for Howard Dean, Deputy Chief of Staff for former President Bill Clinton and Chief of Staff for Al Gore
- Bill Purcell (JD), Mayor of Nashville
- James Sasser (BA, JD), former US Senator from Tennessee and US Ambassador to China
- Fred Dalton Thompson (JD), former US Senator from Tennessee, actor
- Skip Bayless, ESPN personality and nationally syndicated columnist
- Roy Blount Jr., humorist, sportswriter, and author
- David Brinkley, broadcast journalist
- Terry Eastland , publisher of The Weekly Standard
- Buster Olney, ESPN baseball writer and former Sports Editor for the New York Times
- Steven Buckles, Chief Economic Advisor for former President Ronald Reagan, Creator of "Reaganomics"
- Stanley Cohen, Nobel prize winner (1986)
- Walter Chazin, Notable Biochemist
- Alain Connes, Fields Medal Winner (1982)
- Tony Earley, Noted American novelist
- Bill Frist, Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, former transplant surgeon
- F. Peter Guengerich , Director of the Center in Molecular Toxicology
- Bill Ivey , Director of the National Endowment for the Arts during the Clinton Administration, director of the Curb Center at Vanderbilt
- Roy Neel , Campaign Manager for Howard Dean, Deputy Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and Chief of Staff for Al Gore
- Terry Page, Notable Neuroscientist
- Julia Sears, pioneering feminist
- Margaret Rhea Seddon, astronaut
- Susan F. Wiltshire , Clinton Administration National Endowment for the Humanities apointee
- John Vrooman, Notable Sports Economist
- Vanderbilt University
- Vanderbilt University Alumni/ae
- Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University
- Vanderbilt University Athletics
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center
- The Vanderbilt Hustler Newspaper
- Vanderbilt Clinical Research Center
- Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
- Vanderbilt Children's Hospital
- Vanderbilt Institute for Coffee Studies
- Vanderbilt Bridge Center
- Vanderbilt Divinity School
- Exploration: The Journal of Vanderbilt Research
- U.S. News' Best Universities page
- U.S. News' Best Hospitals page
- The Children, by David Halberstam - tells the story of the Civil Rights era in Nashville
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