The Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter. The opening marked the culmination of an extended effort by William Barton Rogers to establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America.
Today MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research—with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle—continue to be its primary purpose. MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools encompass numerous academic departments, divisions, and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories, and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.
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Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.
Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.
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Endicott College was founded in 1939 by Dr. Eleanor Tupper and her husband, Dr. George O. Bierkoe, who shared the vision of creating a college to educate women for greater independence and an enhanced position in the workplace. Of course, this was a radical idea in those days near the end of the Depression and just before America's entry into World War II. Despite its unconventional nature, the dream took hold and flourished during the war and the years beyond.
The College was issued its first charter by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1939. In 1944, it was officially approved by the Commonwealth for the granting of Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees. Eight years later in 1952, Endicott was accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
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Gordon College provides an environment where both mind and spirit can soar. Almost all Christian colleges put strong emphasis on behavioral expectations, chapel attendance, and prayer before classes. Gordon goes beyond this. Every professor integrates Christian thought and assumptions into classroom study.
We embrace a process of education that links the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of life. Gordon is serious about its commitments. We expect our teachers to live in a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and model His life principles before their students.
Many in secular institutions disagree with this basic faith and life requirement. They say it infringes on academic freedom. Not so. We completely embrace academic freedom. We do so within a common framework of faith. But that's not a straightjacket. It's an understanding that Christianity and its values provide a springboard to explore truth in all its dimensions.
Gordon College strives to graduate men and women distinguished by intellectual maturity and Christian character, committed to lives of service and prepared for leadership worldwide.
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Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is an educational institution serving the Lord and His Church. Its mission is to prepare men and women for ministry at home and abroad. The seminary undertakes this task as a training partner with the Church so that what is learned on campus may be complemented by the spiritual nurture and the exercise of ministry available through the Church.
Gordon-Conwell's mission arises out of God's redemptive work in this world effected in Jesus Christ, understood through the biblical Word and mediated by the Holy Spirit. As a theological seminary, it provides learning, resources and training through which men and women may acquire knowledge, gain skills and develop attitudes needed in Christ's ministry.
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Edith Lesley Wolfard began the Lesley School in September, 1909, for the professional instruction for kindergarten teachers. Those first students gathered in the living room of her family home at 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, at a time when the kindergarten movement was an emerging idea and the preparation of women for careers outside the home a radical notion.
"Kindergarten education in America will soon become established as a permanent unit in our national educational philosophy," she said at the time, and her vision extended far beyond training teachers. "I plan not merely to set up just another training school; I plan for us to be different; to consider the individual of basic importance; to inculcate the ideal of gracious living; and to foster the traditions of American democracy."
Lesley University today offers programs in 23 states and online, and is among the largest providers of teacher education in the nation, focusing on the educational needs not just in early education, but the preparation of quality teachers in math, science, special education and literacy.
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Salem State University, established in 1854 as Salem Normal School, is a comprehensive, publicly supported institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. Salem State enrolls approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students representing 20 states and 49 foreign countries, and is one of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Salem State's mission is to provide a high quality, student-centered education that prepares a diverse community of learners to contribute responsibly and creatively to a global society, and serve as a resource to advance the region's cultural, social and economic development.
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In the 1840s, the Universalist Church wanted to open a college in New England. Boston businessman Charles Tufts gave the church a gift of 20 acres of land, valued at $20,000, on the condition it be used for establishing a college. With that, the location was decided. Tufts' land, which he inherited, was located on one of the highest hills in the Boston area, Walnut Hill, straddling Medford and Somerville.
As local lore has it, when a relative asked Charles Tufts what he would do with his land, and more specifically with "that bleak hill over in Medford," Tufts replied, "I will put a light on it." In 1855, a toast to the new Tufts College was offered at a Universalist gathering in Faneuil Hall. Hosea Ballou 2nd, a Universalist clergyman and the college's first president, remarked, "For if Tufts College is to be a source of illumination, as a beacon standing on a hill, where its light cannot be hidden, its influence will naturally work like all light; it will be diffusive."
When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered Tufts College in 1852, the original act of incorporation noted the college should promote "virtue and piety and learning in such of the languages and liberal and useful arts as shall be recommended." The official college seal, bearing the motto Pax et Lux (Peace and Light) was adopted in 1857, and the student body picked the school colors of brown and blue in 1876. (The colors were not made official, however, until a 1960 vote of the Board of Trustees.)
In Tufts' early days, the main college building that would eventually bear Ballou's name served as both home and classroom for seven students, who were taught by four professors. By the time of Ballou's death in 1861, Tufts had 36 alumni, and 53 students enrolled.
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Wellesley College was founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, who were passionate about the higher education of women.
The first students, numbering 314, moved into College Hall and began classes in 1875. From that first class, 18 were graduated in 1879. Over the next 25 years, Wellesley College developed from a nascent institution into a vibrant academic community built upon a strong liberal arts foundation. A major revision of the curriculum in the 1890s resulted in the development of courses of study in all the major sciences and the addition of many renowned members of the faculty, including Mary Whitin Calkins, who established one of the first psychology laboratories in the country in 1891; Emily Greene Balch, recipient of the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize, who taught economics and sociology; Katharine Lee Bates ’80, who taught English and authored many works, including “America the Beautiful.”
A number of student organizations and campus traditions that continue to contribute to Wellesley’s identity today were established during this early period, including Tree Day, hoop rolling, Flower Sunday, and step singing. Student Government was established in 1901.
World War II brought additional changes, and attention, to Wellesley College. Wellesley’s seventh president, Mildred McAfee, took a leave of absence from 1942 to 1946 to lead the WAVES (Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Navy) and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1945. The campus also hosted men for the Navy Officer's Training Corps during the war. The College abandoned a number of post-baccalaureate programs soon after the war. Though vestiges of the original academic program remained, the modern Wellesley education was emerging.
Two of Wellesley's most famous alumnae—Madeleine Korbel Albright '59 and Hillary Rodham Clinton '69—were graduated in the following years. During the late 1960s another large curriculum revision occurred, polishing the modern course of study grounded in the liberal arts with significant and renowned science departments. Since 1968, exchange programs with other colleges such as MIT have further enhanced educational opportunities available to Wellesley students.
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