An Overview of Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private research university of 6,378 undergraduates and 5,229 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a distinguished medical center, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation's top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.
The combination of cutting-edge research, liberal arts and a distinguished medical center creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.The university grew and changed significantly in the past seven years under the leadership of Chancellor Gordon Gee. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million. Applications for admission rose from 8,000 in 2000 to more than 13,000 in 2007, and the university became one of the most selective institutions in the country. Gee flaunted conventional wisdom in 2003 with a radical restructuring of the athletics program, which resulted in improved student athlete academic achievement and a jump in the university's athletic performance, with seven teams being ranked in the top 25 nationally in 2006-2007. During this time the university saw a 50 percent increase in the number of minority students, completed or began construction of more than $700 million in new facilities, including one of the nation's best children's hospitals, and became the most-preferred provider of health care services in middle Tennessee.
The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that elects its own members and officers. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust. An independent, privately supported university employing nearly 2,700 full-time faculty and a staff of over 17,500, Vanderbilt is the largest private employer in Middle Tennessee and the second largest private employer in the state.
A Brief History
Vanderbilt University was founded in the spring of 1873 with a $1 million gift by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt to to build a university in the South that would "contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country." The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. Today, the university covers 330 acres.
Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt, which has had just eight chancellors in its 134-year history: Landon C. Garland (1875-1893), James H. Kirkland (1893-1937), Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46), Harvie Branscomb (1943-1963), Alexander Heard (1963-1982); Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), E. Gordon Gee (2000-2007), and Nicholas S. Zeppos (2008- ).
Vanderbilt's student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university's history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127; in 2006 it was 11,607.