Oldest Colleges in US

We have collected some of the famous oldest colleges in US which are all continuously developing. All these colleges have a rich historic heritage which makes them highly ranked and prominent all over the world. Even though some of these oldest schools have changed names, they are still among the top universities in the world and are still in operation.

Harvard University

Oldest Colleges in US

Founded: In 1636 

Founder: Massachusetts Legislature

Detail: 1636 was the year Harvard University was established. It is one of the oldest colleges which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. John Harvard, who donated his books and money, suggested the name for this university. It has now become a top university with multiple subjects to study. Besides, all the faculties of Harvard University are famous worldwide. Many important people, like U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize winners, went to this university.

Stanford University 

Oldest Colleges in US

Founded: In 1885 

Founder: Leland and Jane Stanford

Detail: Leland and Jane Stanford started Stanford University, also known as Leland Stanford Junior University, in 1885. They made this university to honor their son who died young. Their motto, “The wind of freedom blows,” shows they like it when people think freely. Founders of major companies such as Google and Netflix attended Stanford. Also, Stanford helps a lot in technology, science, medicine, and the arts.

Yale University

Founded: In 1701

Founder: Reverend James Pierpont

Detail: In the United States, Yale University is a highly regarded and old university. In 1701, it was established as the Collegiate School, but later changed its name to Yale College. People think highly of it because it has lots of smart and innovative ideas. As years went by, Yale got bigger and started offering more types of schooling, like for law, medicine, and business. Also, Yale has made a bunch of really successful people, even some who became Presidents of the United States and leaders in other areas.

Columbia University 

Founded: In 1754

Founder: Royal Charter 

Detail: Among the most highly regarded and established universities in the country is Columbia University. King’s College was founded back in 1754. After American independence, Columbia College was renamed. It has expanded since then and now provides a variety of study classes for students. People who have gone to Columbia have done important things in writing, science, law, and more. 

Duke University

Founded: In 1838

Founder: Methodist and Quaker families 

Detail: Among the oldest universities in the United States is Duke University. In 1838, it was established as Trinity College. Later, a man named James Buchanan Duke gave donations to the college, so they renamed it Duke University in 1924. This college is located in Durham, North Carolina, and has extremely good classes, attractive buildings, and a famous church called Duke Chapel. This university attracts students and athletes from all over the world.

University of California 

Founded: In 1868

Founder: State legislature

Detail: Located in California, the University of California system consists of several universities. San Francisco is home to the oldest one. That began in 1868. People know it for being extremely good at teaching and for doing new research. This university’s highly qualified teachers support students’ exploration and learning. Besides, Berkeley has interesting places like a tall tower called the Campanile. 

Northwestern University

Founded: In 1851

Founder: John Evans

Detail: Among the greatest and oldest universities in the country is Northwestern University. It began in Evanston, close to Chicago, in 1851. People made it to help the area called the Northwest Territory. The school focuses on learning new things and making everyone feel welcome. Nowadays, Northwestern is famous for having extremely good programs in different subjects including law, journalism, and engineering. 

Rice University

Founded: In 1912

Founder: William Marsh Rice

Detail: Texas’s oldest university is called Rice University. William Marsh Rice was the man who got it all started in 1912. The campus of the university is beautiful. The reason why this school is famous worldwide is its smart students and great programs. They have a special way of living on campus called “residential colleges” where students live and learn together. Moreover, Rice is known for science, engineering, and lots of other interesting stuff.

Brown University

Founded: In 1764

Founder: Baptist Leaders

Detail: Founded in 1764, Brown University is one of the oldest universities in America. Some Baptist leaders founded an alternative kind of college with a desire for change. They got a bunch of money from a guy named Nicholas Brown Jr., who they named the college after. Brown University stands out because it lets students choose what they want to learn without making them take specific classes. The Ivy League is also part of a fancy group of schools where it belongs.

Princeton University

Oldest Colleges in US

Founded: In 1746

Founder: New Light Presbyterians

Detail: Princeton University, located in the United States, is a very old and highly regarded institution. In the state of New Jersey, the town of Princeton is located. This university is among the oldest in the nation, having started as the College of New Jersey in 1746. It chose to rename itself Princeton University later, in 1896. Many powerful people have attended this institution, adding to its prestige and rich history.


The oldest universities in the United States that we have discussed above have all been in existence for a very long time and have contributed significantly to the development of Americans as a whole. People who attended these colleges were able to learn and think critically.

These old colleges have focused on being extremely good at teaching from the beginning until now. Plus, they come up with new ideas. Moreover, as things change, these colleges are still sticking to their mission of being excellent and coming up with new ways to help students learn better.

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