Historical Timeline Smith_M 1
Historical Timeline of Important Events in Higher Education.
Georgia Southern University
Michael A. Smith
Historical Timeline Smith_M 2
30th Century BC
Cuneiform is invented by ancient Mesopotamians. This is the
earliest form of writing and literacy and is the earliest form of
education in its time.
5th Century BC
Sophists in Athens and Greece. The era of teaching of wisdom.
The first use of full time teaches that were paid for that they were
teaching. In addition, the teaching brought about form of inquiry
and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on
asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to
illuminate ideas.
428 BC
Philosophic schools are created and this is the early stages of the
college and university. Schools are created that are dedicated to the
teaching of large groups of students.
University of Paris, France and the University of Bologna, Italy are
founded. These are two of the first 5 original universities to be
founded in the 12th and 13 Century.
Oxford University is founded in England. It becomes the 3rd
university to be founded and part of the originally 5 universities
that were first created.
Salamanca University is founded in Spain. It becomes the 4th
university to be founded and part of the originally 5 universities
that were first created.
University College is founded in England. It becomes the 5th
university to be founded and part of the originally 5 universities
that were first created. It was the final university created during
this time.
Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United
States. It was founded 16 years following the arrival of the
Pilgrims and is part of the “Colonial Nine”. The university has
grown from having 9 students and a single master, to an enrollment
of over 18,000 degree candidates.
The Roxbury Latin School was modeled on the English grammar
school. The school was to give instruction in the classics and to
produce Christian Citizens. Founded by Reverend John Eliot, to fit
students for public service both in church and commonwealth
William and Mary was founded in 1693 by a Royal Charter issued
by King William III & Queen Mary. The second-oldest college in
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America. A perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, and
Yale University founded; when the charter was granted for a
school (Collegiate School of Connecticut) wherein Youth may be
instructed in the Arts and Sciences through the blessing of
Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in
Church and Civil State. The school was renamed Yale College in
1718 after the Welsh merchant Elihu Yale.
College of New Jersey was founded later would be renamed to
Princeton University. The College of New Jersey was founded for
the Education of Youth in the Learned Languages and in the
Liberal Arts and Sciences. The charter specified that any person of
any religious denomination whatsoever might attend. The College
moved to Princeton in New Jersey in 1756, and was renamed
Princeton University in 1896.
King’s College was founded in 1754 by royal charter of King
George II of England. First American medical school to grant the
M.D in 1767. The College reopened in 1784 after the
Revolutionary War and was given a new name, Columbia College.
The University of Philadelphia is founded; The College of
Philadelphia was the only college that was not at first under church
control but the Anglicans quickly began to dominate this preRevolutionary college. The College of Philadelphia was renamed
the University of Pennsylvania in 1791.
College of Rhode Island (Brown University) The seventh-oldest
college in the U.S. was founded as a Baptist institution and
registered its first students in 1765. It moved in 1770 to its present
location on College Hill, overlooking the city of Providence, RI.
The first women were admitted in 1891, establishing the Women’s
College, later known as Pembroke College. It was renamed Brown
University in 1804 in recognition of a gift from Nicholas Brown.
Following the Revolutionary War, Queen’s college (Renamed
Rutgers University) struggled financially and school trustees
considered options such as moving the college to New York or
merging the college with Princeton. The merging measure failed
by one vote. In 1825, renamed Rutgers College to honor trustee
and Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Henry Rutger
Dartmouth College is founded. The last institution of higher
learning established under Colonial rule (9th oldest college in
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U.S.) Dartmouth established a college for the education and
instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land and also of
English Youth and any others.
Northwest Ordinance is passed which states that sections of land in
every new township with be set aside for the support and continued
growth of education.
Dartmouth v. Woodward case; a legal battle involving the state of
New Hampshire and Dartmouth College. The state of New
Hampshire attempted to gain control over Dartmouth (a private
institution) because of its charter and its financial support of the
institution. Supreme Court ruled in favor a Dartmouth and closed
doors on any future attempts by states to gain control of private
institutions. This in turn gave us our present day separation of
private and public higher education institutions.
University of Virginia is founded. This is viewed as the first real
state university in the 19th Century. It was listed as a public
university because of the following; The university had a board of
visitors appointed by the governor of the state; The state provided
initial capital and ongoing funding for the operation of the
university The university was founded to be free of domination of
any and all religious sects; and Provisions were made for the
provision of free tuition to selected poor students from throughout
the state.
The Faculty Yale Report is published; written by Yale faculty to
defend the thorough study of the ancient languages. A special
committee was appointed to inquire about the elimination of "dead
languages" from college curriculum.
Oberlin College is founded in 1833. In 1835 Oberlin became one
of the first colleges to admit African American students. In 1837,
Oberlin College admitted four female students, making it the oldest
coeducational institution in the United States.
First Morrrill Act Passed; Signed into law by President Abraham
Lincoln in 1862. Eligible states received 30,000 acres of federal
land to establish colleges/universities. Colleges and universities
assisted by this federal funding focused on educating farmers,
scientists, and teachers.
Second Morrill Act Passed; The Second Morrill Act proposed to
extend access to higher education by providing additional
endowments for all land-grant universities. However, this act also
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prohibited distribution of money to states whose colleges made
distinctions of race in admissions.
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (otherwise known as the GI
Bill) is passed, opening the doors of higher education to veterans
of World War II. This is the first of a series of “GI Bills” that
provide federal financial support for education to veterans.
The Truman Commission Report lays the policy groundwork for
dramatically increased participation in higher education throughout
the U.S. In addition to its call for more universal access to higher
education, the most important enduring legacy of the report was
the promotion of the community college system across the United
U.S. Supreme Court rules in the Brown v. the Board of Education
of Topeka decision that “separate but equal” educational facilities
are unconstitutional.
President John F. Kennedy issues an executive order creating the
President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, which
refers to ‘affirmative action’ for the first time.
Congress passes The Vocational Education Act, reflecting a
national commitment to enhancing vocational training pushing for
better programs in the technical and community college
Civil Rights Act passed, which protects people from discrimination
based on race, color or national origin. The official begins of
desegregation and the equal rights movement of that time.
Because of the need to determine institutional eligibility for new
federal grants and assistance, the Federation of Regional
Accrediting Commissions of Higher Education is formed to
establish common procedures and policies for accrediting colleges
Higher Education Act Passed; The Higher Education Act of 1965
was the first federal measure that provided financial support to
both public and private colleges in addition to individual students.
Since 1965, the HEA has been amended seven times (1972, 1976,
1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008).
The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education is established with
Clark Kerr at the helm. This commission would create a grading
standard for all colleges and universities.
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Yale and Princeton accept their first women undergraduates. This
moves Ivy League education closer to full coeducation status and
desegregation of higher education has begun.
Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is
developed by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. It is
formally published in 1973 with revisions published in 1976, 1987,
1994, and 2000
Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, in which Title IX
prohibits discrimination based on gender, marital, and parental
status in the following areas: admissions, financial aid, health and
insurance benefits, career guidance and counseling services,
housing facilities, courses and other educational activities, and
scholastic, intramural, club, or intercollegiate athletics. The Act
also includes the Basic Equal Opportunity Grant; renamed the Pell
Grant in 1980 – affirming the nation's commitment to providing
equal educational opportunity for the disadvantaged.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) establishes
protections for persons with disabilities who wish to apply or are
enrolled at an institution of higher education.
The Council on Postsecondary Accreditation is established by the
merger of the National Commission on Accreditation and the
Federation of Regional Accrediting Commissions of Higher
Education to serve as the recognizing body for accrediting
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, later modified in
1990 to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
ensures a free appropriate public education to students with
disabilities in the least restrictive environment and open doors for
more qualified students with disabilities to enter postsecondary
11.6 million students are enrolled in colleges and universities in
the United States. In a permanent shift, more than half are now
The U.S. Department of Education is created. This agency would
monitor and the progress of student and the funding of schools.
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Proposition 48 is passed by the National Collegiate Athletic
Association, toughening the academic requirements for freshmen
athletes in Division I sports
Congress passes The Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act,
amending the Vocational Education Act of 1963 to provide federal
assistance to states, including the use of funds for vocational
education opportunities, authorized special programs, sanctioned
national programs, and established evaluation criteria.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides further
protections for persons with disabilities who wish to apply or are
enrolled at an institution of higher education.
U.S. Supreme Court’s U. S. v. Fordice ruling makes headway
toward desegregation of statewide systems of higher education
The Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation is
established as a stopgap measure to recognize voluntary
accreditation associations after the Council on Postsecondary
Accreditation was dissolved.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is established as
the recognizing body for accrediting organizations, taking over
responsibility from the Commission on Recognition of
Postsecondary Accreditation.
The Department of Education establishes the Distance Education
Demonstration Program to determine how to change the regulatory
and legal barriers which discourage distance education programs.
The National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education
releases a report which notes the rise in tuition over the last twenty
years, and calls on colleges and universities to take steps to reduce
their costs and become more affordable.
College Cost Reduction and Access Act; his act provided the
largest increase in federal student aid since the GI Bill. This was
accomplished through subsidy cuts in the student loan program.
Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act; this act
attempted to stabilize student loan funding so that lenders would
continue to participate in Federal Family Education Loan Programs
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Race to the Top Program; the program provides competitive grants
to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for
education innovation and reform.” Some key components of the
plan include making substantial gains in student achievement,
closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates,
and ensuing that students are prepared for success in college and

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