Where the Names of US Universities Come from: Interesting Facts

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Even if you aren’t going to ask Google to show you the latest ratings of the world’s best universities, I bet, a few names have just come to your mind. It is another question what exactly has made these educational establishments so popular, that their names have turned into the synonyms to high-quality education and scientific progress. And now we’d better leave it for another research paper.

However, today our task is to discover what’s in the names of alma maters of the modern world’s geniuses. I’ve selected three US universities, widely famous for their academic and scientific achievements, as well as for the achievements of their graduates. So, let’s check out whom or what these institutions owe their names to.

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1636

Eight of the Founding Fathers, who signed the American Declaration of Independence, were Harvard graduates. Interestingly, eight American Presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, are also the graduates of this university.

It was believed that John Harvard, a well-educated British minister in America before it had become the United States, founded this university. However, recently it has been discovered that he was one of several founders and benefactors. Probably, his contribution was more significant than that of his companions, so he was honored in the naming of the future world’s best universities.   

Now let’s move to the next university. I hope, you are reading this post not to distract your attention from writing an essay. I can’t check it though, but I still count on your honesty (put a smiley here).

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1701

Elihu Yale, a British trader and philanthropist, was also an active benefactor of the Collegiate School, which was finally named after him and turned into a university in 1718. In the very beginning, however, there was only one building named after him. The one he gave money for, actually.

Still, the university was destined to become alma mater for five Presidents of the US as well as presidents and prime ministers of some other countries, for royals (for example, Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden studied there), for such famous actors as Paul Newman and Meryl Streep, and for many other politicians, scientists, and celebrities.   

Leland Stanford Junior University, Stanford, California, 1891

Nowadays Stanford University is more than a school, it’s just the future of education in its best form. When Stanford says that it is a global leader in teaching and research, you can do nothing but nod your head as respectfully as possible. Its students and graduates are known as the authors of innovations that simply run ahead of our time.

The university was named after the only son of successful American tycoon and politician, Leland Stanford. The family were traveling around Europe when Leland Junior caught typhoid. The boy passed away in Italy. After the Stanfords returned to America, they donated a huge sum of money to establish the university that would once become the second home for hundreds of geniuses. 

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