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Drew University is a coeducational private university located in Madison, New Jersey, in the United States. Drew has been nicknamed the "University in the Forest" because of the serenity of its wooded 186-acre campus (753,000 m2) when compared to the busy suburban area surrounding the school. As of 2015, 2,113 students are pursuing degrees at the university's three schools. Undergraduate tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year was US$59,661 (excluding books, personal expenditures, and health insurance), making Drew among the most expensive universities in New Jersey.

In 1867, financier and railroad tycoon Daniel Drew purchased an estate in Madison to establish a theological seminary to train candidates for ministry in the Methodist church. The seminary later expanded to offer an undergraduate liberal arts curriculum in 1928 and graduate studies in 1955. The College of Liberal Arts, serving 1,417 undergraduate students, offers strong concentrations in the natural sciences, social sciences, languages and literatures, humanities and the arts and in several interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary fields. The Drew Theological School, the third-oldest of thirteen Methodist seminaries affiliated with the United Methodist Church, currently enrolls 436 students preparing for careers in the ministry and the academic study of theology.The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, enrolling 351 graduate students, offers masters and doctoral degrees in a variety of specialized and interdisciplinary fields.

While affiliated with the Methodist faith, Drew University makes no religious demands of its students. While many of the Theological School's students and faculty are United Methodist, students of all faiths are admitted to study. The United Methodist Church's General Commission on Archives and History is located on campus and maintains an archive of Methodist records and artifacts from the nineteenth century to the present.

From estate to seminary (1832–1928) In 1866, Daniel Drew approached church leaders during the Methodist Centenary Celebration with an offer to build, equip, and endow a theological seminary near New York City. Drew asked that his pastor, John McClintock (1814–1870), be appointed lead the seminary as its first president. Instruction began under the direction of McClintock as both president and professor of practical theology after the first students were admitted in 1867. Drew is the third-oldest of thirteen Methodist seminaries affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Drew offered professional training for candidates to the ministry augmented by "an opportunity for a broad culture through the study of the humanities." The seminary attracted a faculty that made influential contributions to Methodist theology and biblical scholarship, including James Strong (1822–1894), a professor of exegetical theology, collaborated with McClintock on the ten-volume Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1867–1881), and researched, compiled, and published Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890) during his tenure at the seminary. Writings on early church theology and Christian practice were translated into Chinese for use by foreign missions.

As a liberal arts college (1928–1990)

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Drew Theological Seminary educated and trained hundreds of Methodist ministers. It began to expand its role with the addition of a course of study for women in 1920 when it established a "College of Missions." This course would be renamed the "College of Religious Education and Missions" in 1929 but was short-lived.

In 1928, Drew Theological Seminary accepted a gift of $1.5 million from brothers Arthur J. Baldwin (1868–1939) and Leonard D. Baldwin (1866–1933) to establish an undergraduate liberal arts college. The Baldwins were successful attorneys who were raised on a farm in Cortland, New York. Both brothers attended Cornell University. They established a law firm with former New Jersey governor John Griggs spanning "varied interests in lumbering, manufacturing, transportation, and other enterprises that ranged from owning the Grosvenor Hotel in New York City to Arthur's legal counseling for the rising McGraw-Hill publishing empire." The Baldwins became acquainted with the seminary's president, Ezra Squier Tipple, who "welcomed the brothers to his prominent New York City Methodist Church when they came to Manhattan." Leonard Baldwin eventually became a trustee of the seminary in 1919. The donation originally consisted of $500,000 to build a college building, and $1,000,000 in the form of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) stock. However, the Baldwins exchanged the stock with a gift of cash in October 1928.

In their modesty and in recognition of their sibling affection, the Baldwins asked that it be named "Brothers College." The theological seminary then changed its name to "Drew University" to reflect its expanded role. Brothers College, later renamed as the "College of Liberal Arts", opened in September 1928 with its first class of 12 students. Brothers College would incorporate the women's program and become coeducational in 1942 during World War II when school officials recognized that the military draft and war effort would reduce the all-male student body. Drew offered admission to United States Navy personnel through the V-12 Navy College Training Program. Drew was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the program which offered students a path to a naval officers' commission.

Drew began offering graduate-level education in 1912. The university expanded its graduate education programs focusing in religious studies in 1955 with the establishment of the Graduate School, the third of Drew's degree-granting entities. Four years later, it would expand the curriculum into other areas of the humanities. The Graduate School was renamed as the "Caspersen School of Graduate Studies" after a pledge of $5,000,000 in 1999 by financier Finn M. W. Caspersen (1941–2009) and his wife (and Drew alumna) Dr. Barbara Morris Caspersen.

During the 1970s, the College also established, with generous assistance from the Mellon Foundation, a now widely-imitated freshman seminar program. It allows first-year students to participate, with faculty who also serve as their academic advisers, in intensive study of a topic of hopefully mutual interest. Interdisciplinary study became a focus of the curriculum as well, with the creation of majors in behavioral studies, neuroscience and Russian Studies, and minors in such fields as American studies, arts administration and museology, business management, dance, public health and writing.

In 1984, psychology professors Philip Jensen and Richard Detweiler led an effort to provide a personal computer and application software to all incoming freshman, a program referred to as the "Computer Initiative". Drew was the first liberal arts college to have such a requirement. The Computer Initiative differentiates Drew from other liberal arts colleges, and continues to this day. As a result, Drew has considerably fewer public computing labs than comparable schools its size, utilizing the centrally-managed student laptops for instructional and general-purpose computing use.

Drew University today (1990–present)

After serving two-terms as New Jersey's 48th governor, Thomas Kean (b. 1935) was appointed as Drew's tenth president. He would serve for 15 years before retiring in 2005. During his tenure, Kean continued his work in public service on several commissions, and was appointed as chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11th attacks. However, as president, Kean raised the Drew's profile, overseeing fundraising efforts that tripled the size of the university's endowment, adding new faculty in African, Asian, Russian, and Middle Eastern Studies, significantly increased opportunities for students to study abroad, increased applications from prospective students, and committed more than $60 million to construction of new buildings and renovation of older buildings—principally student residence halls.

After Kean's retirement, the trustees selected Robert Weisbuch, former president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, as Drew's eleventh president in 2005. He served for seven years, and stepped down in June 2012. Under Weisbuch's direction, Drew became SAT-optional. From 2006 to 2013, applicants were allowed to submit a graded high school essay instead of SAT or ACT scores. In 2013, the university reinstated the SAT (or ACT) as an admission requirement.

Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger became the President of Drew University in July 2014, after serving 10 years as the President of the College of Saint Benedict. She succeeds Dr. Vivian A. Bull, a former economics professor and associate dean of the College at Drew and former President of Linfield College, who served as Drew's interim president from 2012 to 2014.

For the 2012-2013 year, Drew University's undergraduate costs were $54,200 (excluding books, personal expenditures, and health insurance), making Drew the most expensive school in the state of New Jersey. Drew University offers both academic scholarships and need-based financial aid.