The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Vanderbilt University

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Vanderbilt University
Edition of 1920. See also Vanderbilt University on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, a coeducational institution of higher learning, located at Nashville, Tenn., founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt of New York, who in 1873 made a donation of $500,000 which was afterward increased to $1,000,000. The charter of the university was taken out in 1872 in the name of Central University. In 1873 the name was changed to Vanderbilt University. Work began in 1875 with four departments, law, medicine, theology and arts. In 1879 the departments of dentistry and pharmacy were added, and in 1886 the department of engineering. These seven departments indicate the present organization of the university. The continued growth of the university has been made possible by gifts of various members of the Vanderbilt family, especially by William H. Vanderbilt, son of the founder, and by Cornelius Vanderbilt, F. W. Vanderbilt and William K. Vanderbilt, all grandsons of the founder. A large number of gifts have also been made by others, the most notable of which was a gift of $1,000,000 to the School of Medicine, made by Andrew Carnegie in 1913. At present the productive funds of the university amount to $3,600,000. Other property amounts to $1,450,000. The annual income is $300,000. The number of students (1919), 1,000. The main campus of the university is situated in the West End portion of Nashville, and comprises a tract of 75 acres, justly celebrated as one of the most beautiful college sites in the world. Here the work of all departments is done except medicine and dentistry. These are located on a special campus of 14 acres in the southern part of the city, near the City Hospital. The College of Arts and Science has maintained from the beginning a high standard for admission and graduation, and has exercised an unusual influence on education in the South. The work of the freshman year is required. After that all work is elective, but students are required to arrange their courses around some central group of studies. The degree of B.A. is given for all courses, although B.S. may be given for specialization in the natural sciences. The university is coeducational, but no special effort has been made to increase the attendance of women. It is, therefore, known chiefly as a college for men.

Vanderbilt University has 3,250 names on its register of those who served in the Great War. Worthy of special mention is the hospital unit which rendered efficient service in France. Vanderbilt University was originally affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. An effort to bring it entirely under the control of the church was resisted by the trustees, whose position was sustained by a decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee in 1914. Since then the university has considered itself independent and undenominational.

Bishop H. N. McTyeire was the first president of the Board of Trust, and in that capacity the chief executive officer of the university until his death in 1889. After his death the chancellor succeeded to most of his duties and responsibilities. The first chancellor was Dr. Landon C. Garland, who was succeeded in 1893 by J. H. Kirkland, who had previously held the professorship of Latin.