Graduate and professional education take wing under presidents F. A. P. Barnard and Seth Low, Barnard College is founded, and the University relocates to Morningside Heights.

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Law Library

Columbia Law School is founded by Theodore H. Dwight; he serves as dean until 1891.

Early Columbia baseball invitation

Intercollegiate sports begin at Columbia with a baseball game against NYU.

The School of Mines

The Columbia School of Mines, the nation’s first mining school and the precursor of today’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, is founded by Thomas Egleston. Charles Frederick Chandler is the school's first dean, and a driving force behind its growth; he will hold the post for 32 years.


President F.A.P. Barnard

F. A. P. Barnard becomes Columbia's tenth president. A Yale graduate, he previously taught at the University of Alabama and presided over the University of Mississippi. His ambitions for Columbia know no bounds, and he fights unsuccessfully against trustees, faculty, and students to make Columbia coeducational—only to have an affiliated women's college, whose creation he opposes, named in his honor.

Early sports coverage of Columbia

Columbia loses to Rutgers in the fourth intercollegiate football game ever played.

Columbia Spectator staff portrait

The Columbia Spectator is founded as a small bimonthly publication.

John Burgess

The Faculty of Political Science is founded by John W. Burgess. It is a primary step in transforming Columbia College into a university. It will later become the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The School of Architecture

The School of Architecture, the third such school in the United States, is founded by William R. Ware, a noted architect.

Teachers College

The Industrial Education Association, underwritten by Grace Hoadley Dodge, begins to offer a course in teacher training. In two years it will become the New York School for the Training of Teachers, and, in 1892, Teachers College. In 1900 Teachers College will become an affiliated part of Columbia University, the status it has maintained ever since.

School of Library Science

The School of Library Service, the first training school for librarians, is founded by Melvil Dewey, originator of the Dewey Decimal System. The school moves to Albany in 1889, returns to Columbia in 1926, and closes in 1992.

Barnard College's original brownstone on 43rd Street

Barnard College opens for classes for undergraduate women in a brownstone on East Forty-third Street, with instruction initially provided by Columbia faculty.

President Seth Low

Former Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low becomes Columbia’s 11th president. A trustee at the time of his election, he had successfully served two terms as mayor of Brooklyn while still in his early thirties.

The School of Nursing

The School of Nursing is founded at Presbyterian Hospital by Anna Caroline Maxwell and becomes affiliated with Columbia University in 1937.

The University acquires 18 acres in Morningside Heights.

Plans for the Morningside Heights Campus

Trustees select the architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White, whose work is prominently displayed at the Chicago World's Fair 1893, to develop the Morningside Heights campus.

Low Library

President Seth Low gives million dollars to the University for the construction of a library on the new campus site, to be named after his father. This gift is followed by others, assuring that the McKim plan for the campus will be enacted.

James Dickson Carr

By a vote of the trustees, and reflective of its increased focus on graduate and professional education, Columbia College in the City of New York becomes Columbia University in the City of New York; the undergraduate school retains the name Columbia College.

James Dickson Carr, LLB, was one of the first black students to receive a law degree.

Early Morningside Heights Campus

Columbia University moves to Morningside Heights. The Forty-ninth Street campus is sold for 900,000 dollars and its buildings promptly demolished.

School of Social Work

The [New York] School of Social Work opens; it becomes part of Columbia in 1940.

Barnard's Millbank Hall

A corporate agreement between Columbia University and the 11-year-old Barnard College establishes the basic affiliation arrangements that persist to the present. Barnard is to have its own trustees, faculty, and financial responsibilites; the academic head of Barnard is to be a dean in the University, and Barnard graduates are to receive Columbia degrees.


Columbia inaugurates a summer session and an extension program, offering courses to part-time students on campus and through home study correspondence courses. This is the forerunner of the School of General Studies, organized as such in 1946.

Next: The Butler Era [1902–1945]

wellington koo
This remarkable Columbian was a key figure in expanding China's relationship with the West.
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