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Vanderbilt University

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanderbilt_University

Vanderbilt University (also known informally as Vandy) is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, founded in 1873. The university is named in honor of shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the South. The Commodore hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.

Today, Vanderbilt enrolls approximately 12,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and over 90 foreign countries in four undergraduate and six graduate and professional schools. Several research centers and institutes are affiliated with the university, including the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, Dyer Observatory, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the only Level I trauma center in Middle Tennessee. With the exception of the off-campus observatory and satellite medical clinics, all of the university's facilities are situated on its 330-acre (1.3 km2) campus in the heart of Nashville, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from downtown. Despite its urban surroundings, the campus itself is a national arboretum and features over 300 different species of trees and shrubs.

In the years prior to the American Civil War of 1861–1865, the Methodist Episcopal Church South had been considering the creation of a regional university for the training of ministers in a location central to its congregations. Following lobbying by Nashville bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire (1824–1889), church leaders voted to found "Central University" in Nashville in 1872. However, lack of funds and the ravaged state of the Reconstruction Era South delayed the opening of the college.

The following year, McTyeire stayed at the New York City residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose second wife was Frank Armstrong Crawford Vanderbilt (1839–1885), a cousin of McTyeire's wife, Amelia Townsend McTyeire (1827–1891); both women were from Mobile, Alabama. Indeed, the McTyeires had met at St. Francis Street Methodist Church in Mobile. Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was the wealthiest man in the United States at the time, was considering philanthropy as he was at an advanced age. He had been planning to establish a university on Staten Island, New York, in honor of his mother. However, McTyeire convinced him to donate $500,000 to endow Central University in order to "contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country."

The endowment was eventually increased to $1 million (equivalent to $20,311,664 in 2013 dollars) and would be only one of two philanthropic causes financially supported by Vanderbilt. Though he never expressed any desire that the university be named after himself, McTyeire and his fellow trustees rechristened the school in his honor. Vanderbilt died in 1877 without seeing the school named after him.

In the fall of 1875, about 200 students enrolled at Vanderbilt, and in October the university was dedicated. Bishop McTyeire was named Chairman of the Board of Trust for life by Vanderbilt as a stipulation of his endowment. McTyeire named Landon Garland (1810–1895), his mentor from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and then-Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, as chancellor. Garland shaped the school's structure and hired the school's faculty, many of whom were renowned scholars in their respective fields. However, most of this crop of star faculty left after disputes with Bishop McTyeire.