From Queen’s College to top research university, Rutgers has always been ahead of its time.
A charter is granted to establish Queen’s College—with the principal intention of educating future ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church.
Rutgers’ second amended charter is also signed by Franklin. The stated purpose of the college is “the Education of Youth in the Learned Languages and in the Liberal and Useful Arts and Sciences.”
Queen’s College holds its first commencement exercises. Nineteen-year-old Matthew Leydt QC1774 is the entire graduating class.
The cornerstone of the first building (Old Queens) at Queen’s College is laid. It will take 14 years to finally complete.
Old Queens is first occupied; it houses the preparatory school, the college, the theological seminary, and a few faculty apartments.
The college, renamed for Colonel Henry Rutgers, reopens for good after several temporary closings; 30 students are enrolled.
Rutgers is designated the state’s land-grant school—thanks to the 1862 Morrill Act, which promotes public university systems, and because of the lobbying efforts of professor George H. Cook and others. The act also facilitates the creation of the Rutgers Scientific School. The Dutch Reformed Church severs ties with Rutgers. Watch a video.
Rutgers defeats Princeton, 6–4, in the first intercollegiate football game ever played.
Winants Hall, the first residence hall, opens, named after philanthropist Garrett E. Winants. It is the sole dormitory until 1915.
First real football coach is hired. George Foster “Sandy” Sanford takes the Rutgers team in hand.
New Jersey College for Women is founded by Mabel Smith Douglass, who serves as its first dean. Watch a video.
Rutgers College officially becomes Rutgers University.
The Rutgers Tomato is introduced and becomes the dominant commercial tomato of the mid-20th century. Watch a video.
Enrollment, mostly of WWII veterans, skyrockets over the next two years. Rutgers is designated The State University of New Jersey. Watch a video.
The University of Newark becomes Rutgers University–Newark.
The College of South Jersey becomes Rutgers University–Camden.
President Mason Gross (1959–1971) begins his tenure. He oversees one of the greatest expansions in Rutgers history, with growth in student population and facilities construction.
The Black Organization of Students takes over Conklin Hall at Rutgers–Newark, in time leading to major reforms in minority admissions and faculty recruitment. Watch a video.
1970 – 80s
President Edward J. Bloustein (1971–1989) expands research enterprise and recruits top scholars.
Rutgers is invited to join the Association of American Universities.
Rutgers–New Brunswick is reorganized, leading to the formation of the School of Arts and Sciences.
The Rutgers University Alumni Association is created.
A record 54,000 students are enrolled, the most diverse Rutgers student body to date.
Rutgers issues its 500,000th degree. Robert Barchi is named Rutgers’ 20th president.
Most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is integrated into Rutgers to form Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Rutgers joins the Big Ten Academic Alliance.
Rutgers becomes part of the Big Ten Athletic Conference.
Rutgers Health is created, bringing all patient care under one clinical umbrella. Rutgers turns 250 years old on November 10, 2016.
“Two hundred and fifty years ago … a charter from the royal governor—Ben Franklin’s son—established Queen’s College. A few years later, a handful of students gathered in a converted tavern for the first class. And from that first class in a pub, Rutgers has evolved into one of the finest research institutions in America.”
— President Barack Obama, addressing the Class of 2016 at Rutgers’ 250th Anniversary Commencement.