Historic Moments
  Undergraduate students can trace heritage to 1855

Today's Northwestern University undergraduate students can trace their heritage to Nov. 5, 1855.

On that day the new institution, chartered in 1851 by the State of Illinois, opened its doors to10 students in the College of Literature, Arts and Sciences, the first academic division at Northwestern. Two faculty members were on hand to provide the instruction.

Now, in its sesquicentennial year, Northwestern has approximately 7,500 full-time undergraduate students and 940 full-time faculty who teach undergraduates.

As the first undergraduate college grew is size and expanded its curriculum, its name also changed. It was known in its early years as the College of Liberal Arts and became the College of Arts and Sciences in 1963. It was renamed the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1998 to honor the contributions of the Weinberg family to Northwestern. Today, the college enrolls 3,849 full-time students and has 516 full-time faculty; it offers almost 50 academic concentrations, plus combined degrees and special programs.

Music became the second undergraduate school in 1895. It had its beginnings in 1874 when the music department of the Evanston College for Ladies became the Northwestern University Conservatory of Music and a department of the College. It was established as an undergraduate school when it "attained so good a standing├Žas would seem to justify it changing its name to that of a School of Music." Seventy students enrolled in the new school.

The School of Music is the smallest undergraduate school, with 385 full-time students; full-time faculty number 67. It has six academic concentrations, two combined degree programs and interdisciplinary certificates.

Engineering courses were offered in the College as early as 1873. In 1909 the University created the College of Engineering, forerunner to the School of Engineering, Technological Institute and the current McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. McCormick is the second largest undergraduate school, with 14 academic concentrations and five special honors programs. It has 1,437 full-time undergraduates and 165 full-time faculty.

The School of Communication had its origins in 1878 when a department of elocution was established in the College; it later became the School of Oratory, essentially a privately owned and operated institution. The School of Oratory became the School of Speech in 1921, and then became the School of Communication in 2002.

The School of Communication now has 1,170 full-time students and 110 full-time faculty. It has diverse programs that range from performing arts to learning disorders and offers four special programs.

The Medill School of Journalism was established in 1921 with a gift from the Chicago Tribune. The new school was named in honor of Joseph Medill, founder of the Chicago Tribune. Medill today is composed of 627 students and 73 faculty. Its academic programs include editorial, broadcast news, magazine, new media, newspaper and teaching media.

The School of Education can trace its origins to the College's department of pedagogy. That department became the department of education in 1906. The department was renamed the School of Education in 1920, and in 1926 trustees made education an independent academic division. The academic unit became the School of Education and Social Policy in 1988.????? It offers four programs tailored to individual interests and career goals and has 292 full-time undergraduates and 24 full-time faculty.

One of the earliest academic areas from the University's early years no longer exists. The Preparatory Department, renamed the Academy in 1892, prepared high-school-age students for the rigors of a Northwestern education. It was the most important source of undergraduates in the early years.

It was closed in 1917 as a result of the growth in public high schools. Northwestern now has an abundance of highly qualified high school students seeking admission as freshmen.

A total of 1,893 freshmen from an applicant pool of 14,723 students enrolled in the fall of 2000. Eighty-three percent graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. The mean combined scores for the class as a whole were 1377 on the Scholastic Assessment Test and 30 on the American College Test. More than 58 percent received Advanced Placement credit.

They and their modern predecessors are among the best and brightest in the country, maintaining the tradition of high academic achievement that began with just 10 students in the middle of the 19th century.

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