The Columbia 250 timeline traces the University’s evolution over 250 years into the diverse cultural and academic institution it is today. The University's history is divided into six eras, from its colonial roots to the present.
1754 Columbia University is founded as King’s College by royal charter of England’s King George II. Reverend Samuel Johnson, a colonial scholar and Anglican minister, is appointed its first president. Classes are begun in the schoolhouse at Trinity Church. King's College is the fifth of what will be nine colleges chartered in the American colonies.
1758 A bequest of 8,000 pounds from Joseph Murray, a King's College governor and Trinity Church communicant, is the largest single philanthropic gift made in the American colonies. By 1775, King's College is the wealthiest of all colonial colleges.
1760 King's College moves to its own building at Park Place, overlooking the Hudson River. This will be the institution's home until 1857.
1763 Myles Cooper, an Oxford-trained minister of 28, is appointed second president of King's College; Samuel Johnson retires to Connecticut, where he dies in 1772.
1767 Doctors Samuel Bard, Peter Middleton, John Jones, and Samuel Clossy open a medical college affiliated with King’s College; it is the second medical school in the colonies and, in 1770, the first to award the MD degree.
1775 President Cooper departs from King's College for the British frigate HMS Kingfisher, with a revolutionary mob at his heels. He is believed to be partly responsible for a series of anonymous Tory pamphlets condemning the British resistance as treasonous. Tutor and recently ordained Anglican minister Benjamin Moore (1768 Kings College) becomes acting president.
1776 King’s College suspends instruction, as the British occupy Manhattan and use the college as a military hospital. Most trustees, faculty, and students side with the crown. In its 22 years of operation, King's College enrolled 226 students, of whom 113 graduated.