The largest state of the United States, New York City has more to offer than just The Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. In the famously artistic upper west side of this state, there’s a cozy little Ivy. Columbia University is one of the most significant research universities in the world and has been around for over 250 years, making it the 5th oldest higher education institution in the US. Here are 7 interesting facts about the oldest university in New York City – Columbia!
C is for cozy, C is for Columbia
The Ivy League are known to be the best institutions for higher learning across the world. Columbia University has the smallest campus of the lot. With the main campus spanning only 32 acres and being almost fully residential, it is a tight-knit community. However, Columbia University is also the 2nd largest property-owner in New York City, after the Catholic Church.
From 5 to 50000
Columbia University was first established in 1754 and was initially known as King’s College. From its inception over 250 years ago, Columbia University has undoubtedly grown by leaps and bounds. Did you know? The first graduating class of Columbia was made up of only 5 students and now the university has over 50,000 living undergraduate alumni. Talk about an exponential growth!
Not your typical classroom
309 Havemeyer Hall – in a world of classrooms, this one is a celebrity. Columbia University is famous for having the most filmed college classroom. It was the setting for more than a dozen films including all three original spiderman films. Allegedly, quite a few undergraduate students sleep through the general chemistry lectures that take place here.
From the mascot to the movies
Remember this lion? It shows up at the beginning of every Tom and Jerry episode and countless other movies. This famous MGM studios logo is inspired by the lion mascot of Columbia University. Here’s a fun fact – the mascot is called ‘Roar-ee the Columbia lion’, and dresses in the school colors; blue and white.
Columbia is the place where some of the world’s most brilliant inventions were made. The Manhattan Project was a significant undertaking that happened during the Second World War. Researchers at Columbia created the first nuclear weapon – the atomic bomb. Other famous early inventions are the FM Radio and neon laser. Today, Columbia has spectacular alumni base that holds patents for over a thousand projects and researches.
A Nobel at every corner
Columbia is an amazing university, and it still holds down the title because of the quality graduates it produces every year. The university has a history of high achievers including 34 presidents and prime ministers, 45 Olympians, 84 Nobel prize winners, over 90 Pulitzer prize winners, and many celebrities. Columbia currently holds the title for most Nobel Laureates among all Ivies.
An underground tunnel system
Here’s a cool story to end with. Did you know that Columbia has an underground tunnel system that connects many buildings on the campus? History has it that Columbia University was built over a mental asylum and the tunnels date back to that period. Although the tunnels are still in use today, students and staff are allowed only in a few of them for safety concerns.