The Federal Charter
With the full restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1814, civil recognition for the school was sought in the form of a federal charter. Guided through Congress by William Gaston, the charter was signed by President Madison on March 1, 1815, allowing the College to "admit any of the students . . . to any degree in the faculties, arts, sciences, and liberal professions, to which persons are usually admitted in other Colleges or Universities of the United States . . ." Two years later, Charles and George Dinnies, brothers from New York, were awarded the degree of bachelor of arts and became the College’s first graduates.