Milestones 1900s


Chemistry laboratory at the University of North Dakota with five male students in uniform and an instructor, c. 1897.


Hudson Valley Community College (SUNY), previously Hudson Valley Technical Institute, welcomed its first female student in 1955. Here a student is operating a lathe, c. late 1950s.


Students participating in the Native American Higher Education Initiative, sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


FEBRUARY 27, 1900 The Association of American Universities is founded.

1901 Joliet Junior College in Illinois is founded, the oldest public junior college in the nation.

JUNE 17, 1901 The College Entrance Examination Board administers first test.

JANUARY 12, 1903 The General Education Board, endowed by John D. Rockefeller with $150 million, is incorporated. It becomes the world's most powerful educational foundation.

DECEMBER 7, 1905 University of Kansas professors Hamilton Cady and David McFarland discover helium.

1906 The University of New Mexico initiates "Pueblo Revival" as a distinctive campus architectural style in honor of indigenous heritage and culture.

MARCH 10, 1906 The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is chartered by the United States Congress.

MARCH 21, 1906 Governor Beckam of Kentucky signs the bill establishing the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School (now Eastern Kentucky University).

MARCH 31, 1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (N.C.A.A.) is formed.

Linus Pauling, an Oregon State University graduate, and two-time Nobel Prize winner, works with a vacuum pump in his lab, c. 1940.
Alias Varkey preparing a dish in the culinary arts program at Macomb community College, Warren and Clinton Township, Michigan, c. 2008.
University of Vermont fraternity men dressed in comic "hayseed" attire, carrying scythes and pitchforks.
Aerial view of the Quadrangle on the University of Illinois campus, Urbana- Champaign,  1890.
Student I.D. card for Celina Sotomayor, at Hostos Community College (CUNY), mother of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice in the U.S., c. 1970s.
University of Florida, Gainesville,  Three female students carrying books, 1955.
Indiana University, Bloomington, Maxwell Hall and Student Building, 1966.
Women students performing dance in front of the Mackay Statue in the Quadrangle at the University of Nevada Reno, c. 1920.
Students at the University of Minnesota learn how to maintain and repair automobiles, 1916.

NOVEMBER 17, 1907 Junior colleges are established by the California legislature.

1908 The University of Missouri establishes the first School of Journalism in the world.

APRIL 25, 1908 Edward R. Murrow, leading broadcast journalist and 1930 graduate of Washington State College, is born.

JULY 2, 1908 Thurgood Marshall, a jurist and the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, and a graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, is born.

SEPTEMBER 1909 The Spanish American Normal School is founded at El Rito,New Mexico.

JULY 24, 1910 Abraham Flexner's study of medical education in the United States for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is published.

1913 America's first organized genetics course is taught at Connecticut Agricultural College (now the University of Connecticut) by Professor Albert Blakeslee, famous for his research on plants.

1914 The Smith-Lever Act establishes a national cooperative extension system and a "Negro extension system."

JANUARY 2, 1915 The American Association of University Professors is created.

DECEMBER 30, 1915 The Mathematical Association of America is founded on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, December 30-31. The Ohio Section becomes the first section of the M.A.A. and receives its charter on March 1, 1916.

1916 The American Federation of Teachers is formed.

JANUARY 1, 1916 The American Association of University Professors issues a report defining the present-day system of tenure.

FEBRUARY 23, 1917 Smith-Hughes Act provides up to $7 million annually in federal support for vocational education in agriculture, trades and industry, and home economics.

1918 The American Council on Education is organized.

JANUARY 23, 1918 Gertrude B. Elion, biochemist and pharmacologist and graduate of Hunter College/CUNY, who won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, is born.

1919 Paul Robeson, the only African-American in his class and the third in Rutgers' history, gives the valedictorian address at commencement.

JUNE 30, 1920 The American Association of Junior Colleges (now the American Association of Community Colleges) is founded in St. Louis.

1921 The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges is founded in Washington, D.C.

JULY 7, 1923 The University of Delaware inaugurates a study abroad program as students travel to Paris.

1925 Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, becomes chairman of the newly formed National Research Endowment to aid the mathematical, physical and biological sciences.

NOVEMBER 2, 1925 The University of Wisconsin approves Alexander Meiklejohn's creation of an experimental residential liberal arts college within the state university.

NOVEMBER 14, 1925 A charter is filed for the creation of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Phonetic spelling shows foreign students at the Colorado School of Mines at Golden how the word "microscopically" should sound. This project was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, 1945.
Hudson Valley Community College (SUNY), previously Hudson Valley Technical Institute, welcomed its first female student in 1955. Here a student is operating a lathe, c. late 1950s.
President Eisenhower showing off his catch with W. Alton Jones in September 1958 in West Greenwich, R.I. Jones was chairman of the board of Cities Service Company at that time. A personal friend of Eisenhower, he invited the former president to his game preserve several times to fish its "bountiful ponds."
Craig Dunn (42) blocks for The Ohio State University in game vs. Baylor University, 1981.
Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, shows students in a lab seated around a machine on which an iron press is applying pressure on a wooden board, c. 1944.
Brooklyn College, CUNY, Bedford Avenue and Avenue H, c. 1950.

JUNE 23, 1926 The first Scholastic Aptitude Test is administered by the College Entrance Examination Board.

1929 Charles Hamilton Houston joins Howard University School of Law and helps produce many young attorneys who lead the battle to end segregation in public life; chief among them is Thurgood Marshall, the founder of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and one of the lead attorneys on the Brown v. Board of Education case that declared separate educational facilities unconstitutional.

JUNE 3, 1934 Iowa State University establishes statistics as an academic discipline.

1935 Professors Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks of Louisiana State University found the award-winning literary journal, The Southern Review.

MAY 25, 1935 Jesse Owens of The Ohio State University sets four world records at a Big 10 championship track meet.

1936 The University of Iowa creates the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the first graduate program in writing in the U.S.

1937 Prairie View A & M University (Texas) and Virginia State University begin graduate programs.

DECEMBER 12, 1938 In Lloyd Gaines v. University of Missouri, attorneys file suit to allow blacks admission to the graduate programs of white institutions. The Supreme Court decides for equal legal education within the state.

1939 Ernest O. Lawrence, class of 1922 at the University of South Dakota, receives the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of the cyclotron while a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

1943 Returning G.I.'s help found the San Luis Institute in Colorado, a public two-year college affiliated with Adams State College. Most of the students are Hispanic-American veterans.

APRIL 25, 1944 Dr. Frederick Douglas Patterson (president of Tuskegee University) establishes the United Negro College Fund to help support African-American colleges. There are 27 member colleges.

JUNE 22, 1944 President Roosevelt signs the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (the G.I. Bill), which provides funds for American veterans to pursue higher education.

1945 The influx of G.I.'s swells enrollment throughout public universities; New Jersey's state school, Rutgers, grows from 750 students in September 1945 to 4,200 in September 1947.

1945 The University of Wyoming establishes the American Heritage Center library.

JULY 25, 1945 Vannevar Bush, provost and physicist at MIT, writes a report, "Science: The Endless Frontier," in which he argues that ongoing federal support for university-based research and development made sense as a national investment.

JUNE 6, 1946 Triple Cities College (now Binghamton University SUNY) is founded.

AUGUST 1, 1946 The Fulbright Act becomes law, providing scholarships to American students to study abroad and to foreign students for study in the United States.

DECEMBER 11, 1947 A report of the President's Commission on Higher Education (The Truman Report) addresses student access and affordability, and the need to expand existing campuses and create new ones as well as to organize public junior colleges.

1948 The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is formally incorporated.

FEBRUARY 2, 1948 Steven Chu, currently the United States Secretary of Energy and the 1977 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, is born.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin received his B.S. from the University of Maryland in 1993.
Paul Robeson, a graduate of Rutgers University, is shown as the title character in "Othello" in a Theatre Guild Production on Broadway, 1943-44. 
Boarding Hall, State Normal School in Gorham, Maine, now the University of Southern Maine, c. 1880s.
Psychology laboratory at the University of Iowa, 1911.
Georgia State Normal School, now the University of Georgia, parade float, c. 1920s.
Young men and women working in a machine shop at Boise Junior College (now Boise State University), some possibly working for the National Youth Association (NYA) during WW II, c. 1944.
Students at the University of Southern Mississippi in front of P.W.A. sign on campus, 1939.
Artist William Caughey created this bird's eye view of the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition 1909, looking to the southeast toward Mt. Rainier, site of the University of Washington campus.

APRIL 5, 1949 Campus leaders meet at Albany, N.Y., to launch the State University of New York, the last state in the nation to establish a state-wide system of public higher education. SUNY initially includes 29 member institutions.

MAY 10, 1950 The National Science Foundation is established.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1950 Public college and university enrollment passes private institution enrollment for the first time.

OCTOBER 3, 1950 The University of California Loyalty Oath is put into effect, requiring all University employees to sign an oath affirming not only loyalty to the state constitution, but also a denial of membership or belief in Communist or other  organizations advocating overthrow of the United States government.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1951 The City College of New York admits women to all programs.

1952 Selman Waksman, a graduate of Rutgers College (1915) and director of the Rutgers Institute for Microbiology, wins the Nobel Prize in Medicine for research that led to the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1952 The world's first successful open-heart surgery is performed at the University of Minnesota by Drs. F. John Lewis and C. Walton Lillehei.

1953 Florida A & M College is elevated to university level and given a law school, pharmacy, liberal arts, agricultural education, agronomy and home economic programs.

JANUARY 20, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., is inaugurated as president of the United States.

1954 The American Council on Education's "Report on Sponsored Research Policies of Colleges and Universities" is released.

JANUARY 29, 1954 Oprah Gail Winfrey, media personality, actress, philanthropist and graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville, is born.

MAY 17, 1954 In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court unanimously rules that any laws mandating or permitting segregation in public schools are unconstitutional. Several cases prior to the Brown decision, most notably Sweatt v. Painter (1950) and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents (1950), had argued that separate is inherently unequal in public higher education. The Brown decision was first applied to higher education desegregation in Florida ex rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control (1956), although this ruling is generally considered ineffectual.

APRIL 12, 1955 University of Pittsburgh researcher Jonas Salk, a City College of New York graduate, administers first polio vaccine.

1956 The Board of Higher Education opens a community college in Staten Island (now the four-year College of Staten Island) in response to demands for free higher education in the borough.

OCTOBER 4, 1957 Sputnik I is launched into orbit around the earth and spurs the U.S. government to increase science research.

OCTOBER 20, 1957 Hilda Lucia Solis, current United States Secretary of Labor and a graduate of the California State Polytechnic University, is born.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1958 National Defense Education Act authorizes a $1 billion four-year program of federal financial assistance to strengthen science, mathematics and foreign-language instruction.

1959 The American College Testing program (ACT) is founded.

JANUARY 5, 1959 The College Bowl is first televised nationally.

1960 The W.K. Kellogg Foundation announces a series of grants to be used to establish university centers for training two-year college leaders, the Kellogg Junior College Leadership Programs.

FEBRUARY 1, 1960 Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. and David Richmond, students at North Carolina A & T, begin a sit-in to desegregate the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. Sit-ins spread in college towns across the South, leading to the creation of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Students engaged in agricultural project at Eastern Kentucky University as part of the university's Model Laboratory School in 1916.
Jonas Salk, a City College/CUNY, graduate, and developer of the polio vaccine, shown in his lab at the University of Pittsburgh, 1954.
Norman Borlaug, a graduate of the University of Minnesota and professor at Texas A & M University, earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for advances in plant breeding.
Students in a computer class at Westchester Community College. c. 2000.
T. Sanford Doolittle water color of Rutgers College, c.1850s. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, tumbling team, c.1930s.
 Bette Fulcher at the piano and John Clark with tuba in Boise Junior College (now Boise State University) marching band uniform 1958-1959.
University of Hawaii choir receives an aloha greeting back from a Japan tour, 1958.

APRIL 26, 1960 The California master plan for higher education (Donahue Education Act) is passed.

SEPTEMBER 1960 Miami Dade Junior College opens; by 2009 it has become the largest institution of higher education in the United States.

DECEMBER 28, 1960 The Bernard Berelson report on Graduate Education is released.

1961 John Gardner's "Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?" is published.

1961 The California State Colleges are established as a system with a Board of Trustees and a Chancellor. Its primary function is to include undergraduate and graduate  instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, in applied fields and in the professions.

FEBRUARY 23, 1961 The American Association of State Colleges and Universities is founded.

APRIL 11, 1961 The City University of New York is created under the leadership of Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. and Governor Nelson Rockefeller, making the municipal colleges a university system. The CUNY Graduate Center is created as the Ph.D.-granting institution for the entire system.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1962 Riots at the University of Mississippi result in two deaths over impending enrollment of James Meredith and desegregation.

OCTOBER 1, 1962 James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

JUNE 11, 1963 Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes at the University of Alabama despite the efforts of Governor George Wallace to deny entry by "standing in the schoolhouse door."

JUNE 12, 1963 Clark Kerr's "Uses of the University" is published and offers the view that the federal-grant university was displacing the old land-grant college. This new multiversity or knowledge factory was becoming more of a bureaucracy than a community.

NOVEMBER 22, 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson, a graduate of Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now known as Texas State University, San Marcos), becomes president of the United States following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

JULY 2, 1964 The Civil Rights Act is enacted by the U.S. Congress, stating that institutions accepting federal funding shall not discriminate on the basis of race.

DECEMBER 3, 1964 Mario Savio, leader of the Free Speech Movement, and 800 other students of the University of California at Berkeley are arrested during a sit-in at the campus administration building. The sit-in was the climax of three months of protest over rules limiting the activities of civil rights groups and other political organizations on campus.

APRIL 13, 1965 Rutgers University historian Eugene Genovese causes a national uproar when he welcomes victory by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. Despite political pressure, Governor Richard J. Hughes refuses to dismiss him.

APRIL 22, 1965 Justin Morrill College is established within Michigan State University as a model of reform in state university undergraduate education.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1965 University of Florida researcher Robert Gade invents Gatorade.

SEPTEMBER 27, 1965 The University of California, Santa Cruz, opens as the first Oxford-style cluster colleges in public higher education to "make the university seem smaller as it grows larger."

Two women playing women's field hockey at the University of Colorado at Boulder, c. 1920.
Recreation of Wright Brothers' first airplane, part of Utah State University's aeronautics program, c. 2000.
Professor and students hold a giant slide rule at Michigan State University. c. 1960.
University of Colorado at Boulder marching band, c. 1980.
Jefferson Rotunda at the University of Virginia, c.1919.

NOVEMBER 8, 1965 The Higher Education Act becomes law, providing financial assistance to college students in the form of Basic Educational Opportunity Grants.

1966 The Dr. Allan Carter report, "An Assessment of Quality Graduate Education," is published.

JULY 5, 1966 SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) is created by CUNY vice chancellor for urban affairs Julius C.C. Edelstein. Mandated by the State Legislature, CUNY is required to recruit and admit a minimum of 1,000 students from "poverty areas" to the senior colleges. SEEK will increase enrollment, and create a greater diversity within CUNY. The creation of SEEK is a response to the changing racial demographics of New York City and the influence of the civil rights movement.

OCTOBER 15, 1966 The National Sea Grant College Act is passed by U.S. Congress.

NOVEMBER 23, 1966 The Chronicle of Higher Education is first published.

JANUARY 20, 1967 The California Board of Regents fires University of California president Clark Kerr amid unfounded charges of his being a communist or a communist follower.

JANUARY 30, 1967 The California Community College System is created.

AUGUST 18, 1967 Agronomists at the University of California, Davis, develop square tomatoes to revolutionize large-scale harvesting.

JULY 1, 1968 The League for Innovation in the Community College is founded.

1969 The American Association of Colleges and Nursing is founded.

SPRING 1969 San Francisco State University becomes the first four-year college to establish an African-American studies department.

APRIL 1969 A conference held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, results in El Plan de Santa Barbara, establishing the demands of Latino college youth.

APRIL 20, 1969 A group of African-American students, some openly carrying rifles, walk out of the student union building at Cornell University, ending a 36-hour occupation. They leave after university officials agree to drop disciplinary proceedings against five African-American students involved in earlier protests for a separate "black college."

MAY 4, 1970 Four students at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, are shot to death by Ohio National Guardsmen during a rally to protest the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

MAY 15, 1970 Police kill a pre-law student and a local high school student and wound 14 others at Jackson State College (Mississippi) during student protests; no one was ever charged with the shootings.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1970 Ewald Nyquist proclaims the "University Without Walls" in his inaugural address at the 93rd convocation of the University of the State of New York and calls for a more flexible, open and diversified system of post-secondary education.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1970 The Scranton Commission Report on campus unrest is released, calling the Kent State shootings unjustified.

MARCH 30, 1971 The Newman report on higher education is published, calling for higher education to serve all Americans, including those beyond traditional college age.

1972 U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, Claiborne Pell, is the driving force behind the passage of the Basic Education Opportunity Grant, part of the restructuring of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which awarded grant money directly to the financially neediest undergraduate students. The program was renamed the Pell Grant Program in 1980.

Student teachers at the Kansas State Teachers College, now Emporia State University, c. 1897.
Chemistry class at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Venable Hall, 1958.
Student musicians in Valencia Community College, Florida, c.2000.
Aerial view of the College of New Jersey. c. 2000.
University of Rhode Island egg candling, c. 1902.
Colorado State University, band, c. 1910.
Ventress Hall, University of Mississippi, constructed in 1889 as the school library, 2006.

JUNE 8, 1972 Congress passes a higher education aid bill (known as Title IX) that includes a provision barring Federal aid to any public college that discriminates against women.

AUGUST 9, 1972 The American Association of Community College Trustees is incorporated. Its mission is to promote effective board governance through advocacy and education.

AUGUST 9, 1974 Gerald R. Ford, a graduate of the University of Michigan, becomes president of the United States.

NOVEMBER 19, 1974 The Buckley Amendment of Student and Family Privacy Rights of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is passed by Congress, compelling educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U. S. Department of Education to provide students with access to their education records

NOVEMBER 26, 1974 The American College Public Relations Association and the American Alumni Council merge to create the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

JUNE 1, 1976 The New York City Board of Higher Education imposes tuition for the first time at City University of New York colleges, and the state of New York agrees to assume financing of four-year CUNY colleges as a budget crisis cripples New York City.

1977 The Food and Agricultural Act provides permanent and sustained institutional federal funding for black land-grant colleges, initially established in the 1890 Morrill Act.

JANUARY 20, 1977 Jimmy Carter, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, is inaugurated as president of the United States.

MAY 12, 1977 The federal Office of Management and Budget issues Statistical Directive 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting, which acknowledges Hispanics as a separate federally identified group and enables them to receive federal education financing.

DECEMBER 8, 1977 Rosalyn Summers Yalow (Hunter College '41) becomes the first woman in the U.S. to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

JUNE 6, 1978 Proposition 13 in California is passed, capping property tax rates and reducing public funding of schools, libraries and other institutions.

JUNE 23, 1978 The U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, in which reverse discrimination was alleged. The ruling bars quota systems in college admissions, but affirms the constitutionality of affirmative action programs.

NOVEMBER 1, 1978 The Middle Income Student Assistance Act expands federal student assistance programs to include middle-income students as well as low-income students by expanding eligibility for the Basic Education Opportunity Grant and eliminating income restrictions for Guaranteed Student Loans.

AUGUST 30, 1981 The University of Maryland releases its report on the post-land-grant university.

APRIL 23, 1983 U.S. News and World Report publishes first college and university rankings.

APRIL 26, 1983 "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform" is released by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1985 Richard Moll's book "The Public Ivys" identifies the best state colleges and universities for undergraduate education.

DECEMBER 1986 The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is created with 18 member institutions and leads to the formation of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS), which receive federal aid for higher education.

SEPTEMBER 1989 The University of North Carolina Press publishes the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.

University of Texas, Austin, Big Bertha drum, c. 1960.
University of Connecticut war effort on campus, c. 1942.
Spanish language class at the University of Wyoming, c. 1955.
Naval trainees marching from Wabash Train Station to the campus of the University of Missouri, Columbia, 1942.
University of Hawaii Taro Field project, 2006.
Students from Sam Houston University in Texas showcase their work at a national meeting of the American Democracy Project, sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, c. 2005.
University of Michigan Ann Arbor female basketball team, 1908.

1991 University of Minnesota introduced "GOPHER" as a Web server, combining university mascot name with "Go Fer" terminology.

JUNE 22, 1992 The U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative stamp honoring Vermont's U.S. Senator Justin Morrill as author of the 1862 federal Land Grant Act.

JULY 6, 1992 Henry R. Rowan, a wealthy founder of a New Jersey manufacturing company, gives $100 million to Glassboro State College, the largest individual cash gift to a public college. Trustees promptly rename the school Rowan College (now University).

MARCH 1, 1993 At Rutgers University, President Bill Clinton outlines his national service plan, AmeriCorps, which will allow students to earn tuition for college by filling community service jobs.

FEBRUARY 21, 1996 Dedication of the W.E.B. DuBois Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst - the tallest academic library in the world, named to honor a native son of Massachusetts.

NOVEMBER 11, 1998 The Association of American Universities issues its report on graduate education, calling on research universities to review the size, scope, and performance of their graduate school programs.