Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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February 8th
“A certain place of universal study”
This day in 1693 saw the birth of the College of William and Mary, one of the nation’s oldest colleges. At the request of Virginia colonists, King William III and Queen Mary II granted a charter that established “a certain place of universal study, a perpetual college of divinity, philosophy, languages, and the good arts and sciences . . . to be supported and maintained, in all time coming.”

Americans have long recognized the importance of a strong university system. By the time of our nation’s founding, a handful of institutions of higher learning had already been established. The following are the oldest U.S. colleges (with the year in which each institution became a bachelor’s degree-granting institution):

Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts – 1636

College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia – 1693

Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut – 1701

Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey – 1746

Columbia University
New York City, New York – 1754

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1757

Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island – 1764

Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey – 1766

Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire – 1769

In the United States today there approximately 2,675 four-year institutions and 1,670 two-year institutions serving approximately 18 million students. It is the finest system of colleges and universities in the world.

American History Parade
1693
The College of William and Mary, second oldest college in the United States, is chartered.

1870
The Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing voting rights regardless of race, is ratified.

1910
The Boy Scouts of America is founded in Washington, D.C.

1922
President Warren G. Harding has a radio installed in the White House.

1971
The NASDAQ, the world’s first electronic stock market, begins operation.

1978
Senate debates are broadcast on radio for the first time.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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