Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

name = Vanderbilt University

image_size = 125px
established = 1873
type = Private
calendar= Semester
endowment = $3.488 billion [cite news
last = Brasher
first = Joan
title = A Conversation with Matthew Wright
url =
work = Vanderbilt View
date = 2007-11-01
accessdate = 2007-12-08
chairman = Martha Rivers Ingram
chancellor = Nicholas S. Zeppos
provost = Richard C. McCarty
faculty = 3,222
students = 11,847
undergrad = 6,532
postgrad = 5,315
campus = Urban, convert|330|acre|km2|1
city = Nashville
state = TN
country = U.S.
coor =
athletics = NCAA Division I
Southeastern Conference
14 varsity teams
American Lacrosse Conference
1 varsity team
1 varsity team
free_label =
free =
mascot = Mr. Commodore
nickname = Vandy
Harvard of the South [cite news
last = Tomasky
first = Michael
title = Fred Thompson
work = The Guardian
url =
date = 2008-01-01
accessdate = 2008-05-20
] [cite journal
last = Whitehead
first = John S.
title = Southern Universities: Are They Rising?
journal = History of Education Quarterly
url =
volume = 26
issue = 4
pages = p. 561
publisher = History of Education Society
date = Winter, 1986
accessdate = 2008-05-20

colors = Black and Gold color box|blackcolor box|#997F3D
affiliations = Association of American Universities
website = []

Vanderbilt University is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational research university in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt 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 comprises four undergraduate and six graduate schools, enrolling approximately 11,800 students from all 50 U.S. states and over 90 foreign countries. In its 2009 ranking of universities, "U.S. News & World Report" placed Vanderbilt 18th among national universities, and the schools of education, law, medicine, and nursing were ranked among the top 20 in the country. The university is among the top 25 recipients of federal educational research funds. Also affiliated with the university are several research institutes, the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, the Dyer Observatory, and the comprehensive Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), the only Level I trauma center in Middle Tennessee.

With the exception of the off-campus observatory, all of Vanderbilt's facilities are situated on a convert|330|acre|km2|1|sing=on plot in the heart of Nashville, only convert|1.5|mi|km|1 from downtown. Despite its urban surroundings, the campus itself is a national arboretum and features over 300 species of trees and shrubs.


Founding and early years

In the years prior to the American Civil War, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South had been considering creating a regional university for the training of ministers located centrally for the of the church. Through the lobbying of Nashville bishop Holland McTyeire, church leaders voted in 1872 to create "Central University" in Nashville. However, lack of funds and the war-ravaged state of the South delayed the opening of the college.

The following year, on a medical trip to New York City, McTyeire stayed at the residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose second wife was the cousin of McTyeire's wife. Vanderbilt, the wealthiest man in America at the time, had been considering philanthropic causes as he was at an advanced age. His original plan was to establish a university on Staten Island, New York, in honor of his mother. McTyeire, however, successfully convinced him to donate USD$500,000 to endow Central University in order to "contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country."cite web |publisher = Vanderbilt University |title = The History of Vanderbilt |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ]

The endowment (later increased to USD$1 million) would be Vanderbilt's only philanthropy. Though the Commodore never expressed any desire to have the university named after himself, McTyeire and his fellow trustees soon rechristened the school as "the Vanderbilt University." Vanderbilt died in 1877 having never even visited the school named after him.

, 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.

plit with the Methodist Church

For the first 40 years, the Board of Trust (and therefore the university itself) was under the control of the General Conference (the governing body) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. However, tensions began rising between the university administration and the Conference over the future of the school, particularly over the methods by which members of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust would be chosen and the extent to which non-Methodists could teach at the school.

Conflicts escalated with the appointment of James Kirkland as chancellor in 1893. The final straw, at least in the mind of Kirkland, was a failed campaign to raise USD$300,000 from Southern Methodist congregations (only $50,000 was raised).

In 1905, the Board of Trust voted to limit Methodist representation on the board to just five bishops. Former faculty member and bishop Elijah Hoss led a group attempting to assert Methodist control. In 1910 the Board refused to seat three Methodist bishops. The Methodist Church took the issue to court and won at the local level. On March 21, 1914, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the Commodore, and not the Methodist Church, was the university's founder and that the board could therefore seat whomever it wished. The General Conference in 1914 voted 151 to 140 to sever its ties with Vanderbilt; it also voted to establish a new university, Southern Methodist University, and to greatly expand Emory University. [cite web |url = |title = Vanderbilt University and Southern Methodism |first = Frank |last = Gulley |accessdate = 2008-02-20 ]

1920s and 1930s

Vanderbilt enjoyed early intellectual influence during the 1920s and 1930s when it hosted two partly overlapping groups of scholars who had a large impact on American thought and letters: the Fugitives and the Agrarians. During the same period, Ernest William Goodpasture and his colleagues in the School of Medicine invented methods for cultivating viruses and rickettsiae in fertilized chicken eggs. This work made possible the production of vaccines against chicken pox, smallpox, yellow fever, typhus, Rocky mountain spotted fever and other diseases caused by agents that only propagate in living cells.

Civil Rights movement

In the late 1950s, the Vanderbilt Divinity School became something of a hotbed of the emerging civil rights movement, and the university expelled one of the movement's leaders, James Lawson. Much later, in 2005, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus for his achievements and re-hired as a Distinguished University Professor for the 2006–07 academic year. [cite news |last = Patterson |first = Jim |title = The Rev James Lawson to return as visiting professor |work = The Vanderbilt Register |date = 2006-01-30 |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ]

As with Lawson, the university drew national attention in 1966, when it recruited the first African American athlete in the Southeastern Conference, Perry Wallace. [cite web |title = Perry Wallace |publisher = Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame |url = |date = 2003 |accessdate = 2007-08-17] Wallace, from Nashville, played varsity basketball for Vanderbilt from 1967-1970, and faced considerable opposition from segregationists when playing at other SEC venues. In 2004, a student-led drive to have Wallace's jersey retired finally succeeded. Harold Stirling Vanderbilt was chairman of the Board of Trust between 1955 and 1968 when racial integration was a very prominent topic at the school. Today a statue of him in front of Buttrick Hall memorializes his efforts.

In 1966, the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology moved from Ohio to Nashville, in order to merge with the Vanderbilt Divinity School. In 1979, Vanderbilt absorbed its neighbor, Peabody College.

History, race, and civil rights issues again came to the forefront on the campus in 2002, when the university decided to rename a residence hall on the Peabody campus, Confederate Memorial Hall, to Memorial Hall. [cite news |last = Vanderbilt University |title = Confederate Memorial Hall renamed Memorial Hall |work = The Vanderbilt Register |date = 2002-09-19 |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Nationwide attention resulted, in part due to a lawsuit by the Tennessee chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who had helped pay for the building's construction in 1933 with a $50,000 contribution. [cite news |last = Latt |first= Elizabeth P |title = Court ruling supports Vanderbilt decision to change name of building |work = The Vanderbilt Register |date = 2003-10-01 |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ]

The Davidson County Chancery Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2003, but the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in May 2005 that the university would have to pay damages based on the present value of the United Daughters of the Confederacy's contribution if an inscription bearing the name "Confederate Memorial Hall" were to be removed from the building or altered. [cite news |last = Vanderbilt University |title = Appeals court rules on Memorial Hall dispute |work = The Vanderbilt Register |date = 2005-05-05 |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ]

In late July 2005, the university announced that although it has officially renamed the building and all university publications and offices will refer to it solely as "Memorial Hall", the university would neither appeal the matter further nor remove the inscription and pay damages. [cite news |last = Vanderbilt University |title = Vanderbilt drops suit over Memorial Hall |work = The Vanderbilt Register |date = 2005-07-25 |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ]



Vanderbilt University, as a private corporation, is wholly governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trust. The board comprises 45 regular members (plus any number of trustees emeriti) and the chancellor, the university's chief executive officer. Each trustee serves a five-year term (except for four recently-graduated undergraduates, who serve two two-year terms). A complete, up-to-date listing of the members of the Board of Trust can be found [ here] . Martha Rivers Ingram is the board's current chairman.

Nicholas S. Zeppos currently serves as chancellor of Vanderbilt University. He was appointed interim chancellor after the departure of Gordon Gee, who left to reassume the presidency of Ohio State University on August 1, 2007, [cite news |last = Loos |first = Ralph |title = Gee to leave Vanderbilt for Ohio State |work = The Tennessean |url = |date = 2007-07-11 |accessdate = 2007-07-11 ] and was named chancellor in his own right on March 1, 2008. [cite news |last = Middlebrooks |first = Elizabeth |title = No longer 'iChancellor,' Zeppos confirmed to permanent position |url = |work = The Vanderbilt Hustler |date = 2008-03-01 |accessdate = 2008-03-01 ]

Gee had been appointed chancellor by the Board of Trust in February 2000. Controversy arose in 2006 over Gee's spending during his tenure at Vanderbilt, including the over $6 million spent on remodeling his university-owned house. An article in "The Wall Street Journal" in September of that year examining the spending of college and university executives used Gee and Vanderbilt as an example of the lax oversight common to higher education. The article also revealed that Gee's wife, a tenured professor, smoked marijuana in their home. The Board of Trust has since established a committee to monitor more closely the spending by the chancellor's office. [cite news |last = Duncan |first = Walker |title = WSJ: Vandy Making Sure Gee isn't Puffing Away Millions |work = The Nashville Post |url = |date = 2006-09-26 |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ]

Since the opening of the university in 1875, only six other individuals have served as chancellor. [cite web |last = Office of the Chancellor |title = History of the Office |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] Landon Garland was the university's first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. Garland organized the university and hired its first faculty. Garland Hall, an academic building on campus, is named in his honor.

The next chancellor was James H. Kirkland—serving from 1893 to 1937, he had the longest tenure of any Vanderbilt chancellor. He was responsible for severing the university's ties with the Methodist church and relocating the medical school to the main campus. Vanderbilt's Main Building was renamed Kirkland Hall after Kirkland left in 1937.

The longest-tenured chancellor was followed by one of the shortest-tenured. Oliver Carmichael served Vanderbilt for just nine years, 1937 to 1946. Carmichael developed the graduate school, and established the Joint University Libraries for Vanderbilt, Peabody, and Scarritt College. Carmichael Towers, a set of high-rise dormitories on the northern edge of campus, were named for Chancellor Carmichael.

Carmichael's successor was Harvie Branscomb. Branscomb presided over a period of major growth and improvement at the university that lasted from 1946 until 1963. He was responsible for opening the admissions policy to all races. Branscomb Quadrangle is a residence hall complex named for the chancellor.

Alexander Heard, for whom the campus library system is named, served as chancellor from 1963 to 1982. During his 20-year tenure, the Owen Graduate School of Management was founded, and Vanderbilt's merger with Peabody College was negotiated. He also survived calls for his ouster because of his accommodating stance on desegregation.

Joe B. Wyatt was the chancellor who served immediately before Gee, from 1982 until 2000. Wyatt oversaw a great increase in the university's endowment, an increase in student diversity, and the renovation of many campus buildings. The Wyatt Center on Peabody's campus is named for Wyatt and his wife.

Medical Center

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a vital component of the university and is the only Level I Trauma Center in Middle Tennessee.cite web |last = Vanderbilt University News Service |title = RE:VU: Quick Facts about Vanderbilt |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |year = 2008 |month = January |accessdate = 2008-01-10 ] VUMC comprises the following units: [cite web |title=Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Visitors |url= |publisher=Vanderbilt University |accessdate=2007-07-02 ]
*Vanderbilt University Hospital
*Monroe Carell, Jr., Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
*Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
*The Vanderbilt Clinic
*Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center
*Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
*Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital
*Eskind Biomedical Library
*Vanderbilt Sports Medicine
*Dayani Human Performance Center
*Vanderbilt Page Campbell Heart Institute
*Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
*Vanderbilt University School of NursingWith over 21,500 employees (including 2,876 full-time faculty), Vanderbilt is the largest private employer in Middle Tennessee and the second largest in the state (after FedEx, headquartered in Memphis). Approximately 74% of the university's faculty and staff are employed by the Medical Center.

In 2003, the medical center was placed on the Honor Roll of "U.S. News & World Report"'s annual rating of the nation's best hospitals, and 17 of the faculty were members of one of the National Academies. In 2004, the university reported that 24.1% of non-Medical Center faculty were women, while 14.4% were of a racial or ethnic minority.

tudents and faculty


As of December 2006, Vanderbilt had an enrollment of 6,532 undergraduate and 5,315 graduate and professional students. Students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries attend Vanderbilt, with 55% of the total student body coming from outside the Southeast; 8% of students are from outside the United States.cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Students |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-07-01 ] Moreover, 24% of the undergraduate class of 2010 was non-Caucasian, while roughly half were women.cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Class of 2010 |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-28 ]

Vanderbilt offers undergraduates the chance to pursue 70 majors in its four undergraduate schools and colleges: the College of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and Blair School of Music. The university also has six graduate and professional schools, including the Divinity School, Graduate School, Law School, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Owen Graduate School of Management.

The university's undergraduate programs are highly selective: in 2008, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions accepted 23% of applicants. In its most recent annual comparison of admissions selectivity, "The Princeton Review" gave Vanderbilt a rating of 98 out of 99. [cite web |last = The Princeton Review |title = Vanderbilt University: General Info |work = The Princeton Review 2006 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ] The freshmen in the Class of 2012 had standardized test scores that were well above average: the interquartile range (25th percentile-75th percentile) of SAT scores was 1380-1540 under the old scale, while the interquartile range of ACT scores was 31-34.


As with any large research institution, Vanderbilt investigators work in a broad range of disciplines, and the university is among the top 25 recipients of federal research dollars. [cite news |last = Salisbury |first = David F |title = VU gains ground in competition for federal research dollars |work = The Vanderbilt Register |url = |date = 2007-02-05 |accessdate = 2007-07-01 ] In 2007, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine ranked 10th in terms of NIH funding ($282.3 million).

Among its more unusual activities, the university has institutes devoted to the study of coffee and of bridge. Indeed, the modern form of the latter was developed by Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, a former president of the university's Board of Trust and a great-grandson of the Commodore. In addition, in mid-2004 it was announced that Vanderbilt's chemical biology research may have serendipitously opened the door to the breeding of a blue rose, something that has long been coveted by horticulturalists and rose lovers. [cite news |last = Harrison |first = David |title = A true scientific breakthrough: the blue rose |work = The Daily Telegraph |url = |date = 2004-05-23 |accessdate = 2007-07-03 ]

Vanderbilt's research record is blemished, however, by a study university researchers, in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Health, conducted on iron metabolism during pregnancy in the 1940s. [cite web |title = $10 Million Settlement In Radiation Suit |work = The New York Times |date = 1998-05-29 |url = |accessdate = 2007-09-20 ] Between 1945 and 1949, over 800 pregnant women were given radioactive iron. Standards of informed consent for research subjects were not rigorously enforced at that time,ref label|Helsinki|A|A and many of the women were not informed of the potential risks. The injections were later suspected to have caused cancer in at least three of the children who were born to these mothers. [cite news |last = Schneider |first = Keith |title = Scientists Share in Pain Of Experiment Debates |work = The New York Times |date = 1994-03-02 |url =
accessdate = 2007-07-05
] In 1998, the university settled a class action lawsuit with the mothers and surviving children for $10.3 million. [cite web |publisher = Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein, LLP |title = Vanderbilt University Radiation Class Action |date = 1998-07-27 |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ]

"Exploration" is the university's online research magazine. It publishes multimedia stories that explain campus research projects ranging from archeology to zoology, probe the motives of the explorers that perform these studies, and describe the experiences of Vanderbilt students who become involved in scientific research. Vanderbilt undergraduates also publish a journal of original research. Vanderbilt is a member of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the Universities Space Research Association.


In its 2009 edition, "U.S. News & World Report" placed Vanderbilt at 18th, tied with the University of Notre Dame and Emory University, in its ranking of national universities.cite web |title = National Universities: Top Schools |publisher = "U.S. News & World Report" |work = America's Best Colleges 2009 |url = |accessdate = 2008-08-22 ] In the same publication's 2008 graduate program rankings, Peabody College was listed at 2nd among schools of education, the Vanderbilt Law School was listed at 15th, the School of Medicine was listed at 16th among research-oriented medical schools, the School of Nursing was listed at 19th, and the Owen Graduate School of Management was listed at 34th among business schools.cite web |publisher = "U.S. News & World Report" |title = Graduate Schools: Index |work = America's Best Graduate Schools 2008 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ] Additionally, Vanderbilt is ranked 1st in the nation in the fields of special education [cite web |publisher = "U.S. News & World Report" |title = Education: Special Education |work = America's Best Graduate Schools 2008 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ] and audiology. [cite news |last = Boerner |first = Craig |title = National rankings laud Medical, Nursing schools |work = The Reporter |date = 2007-03-30 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ]

In "The Times Higher Education Supplement 2006", Vanderbilt is ranked 26th in North America and 53rd worldwide. [cite news |last = O'Leary |first = John, ed |title = World University Rankings 2006 |work = The Times Higher Education Supplement |page = 3 |date = 2006-10-06 |url = |format = Adobe PDF |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] The 2007 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, a measure of the scholarly output of the faculty of nearly 7,300 doctoral programs around the United States, ranked Vanderbilt 8th among large research universities, and 1st in the areas of comparative literature, educational leadership, pharmacology, Portuguese, Spanish, and special education. [cite news |last = Fogg |first = Piper |title = A New Standard for Measuring Doctoral Programs |work = The Chronicle of Higher Education |page = A8 |date = 2007-01-12 |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ]

"The Wall Street Journal" ranked Owen second among "smaller" business schools in 2004. [cite press release |title = Owen School ranked No. 2 among smaller schools by Wall Street Journal |publisher = Vanderbilt University |date = 2004-09-22 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ]

Campus layout

The Vanderbilt campus is located approximately convert|1.5|mi|km|1 southwest of downtown in the West End neighborhood of midtown Nashville. It has an area of convert|330|acre|km2|1, though this figure includes large tracts of sparsely used land in the southwest part of the main campus, as well as the Medical Center. The historical core of campus encompasses approximately convert|30|acre|km2|1. The Vanderbilt campus is roughly fan-shaped (with the point at the corner of West End and 21st Avenues) and reflects the university's gradual expansion to the south and to the west. The campus is fairly compact, however, and the farthest distance on campus takes about 25 minutes to walk.

The oldest part of the Vanderbilt campus is known for its abundance of trees and green space, which stand in contrast to the surrounding cityscape of urban Nashville. The campus was designated as a national arboretum in 1988 by the Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, and over 300 species of trees and shrubs can be found on campus, including one of every species of tree that is indigenous to the state of Tennessee.cite map |publisher = Vanderbilt University Office of Facilities Information Services |title = Vanderbilt University Campus Map |edition = January 2006 |section = Overleaf |accessdate = 2007-10-10 ] One tree, the Bicentennial Oak between Rand Hall and Garland Hall, is certified to have lived during the American Revolution and is the oldest living thing on the campus.

Main campus

In the northeast corner of the campus (the "base" of the fan) is the original campus. The first college buildings, including Kirkland Hall, were erected here in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s. This section stretches from West End Avenue south to the Stevenson Center and west from 21st Avenue to Alumni Lawn. The majority of the buildings of the arts and humanities departments of the College of Arts and Science, as well as the facilities of the Law School, Owen Graduate School of Management, and the Divinity School, are located in the original campus. Additionally, the Heard Central Library and Sarratt Student Center/Rand Hall can be found on the original campus.

Flanking the original campus to the south are the Stevenson Center for Science and Mathematics and the School of Engineering complex (Jacobs Hall-Featheringill Hall). Housing the Science Library, the School of Engineering, and all the science and math departments of the College of Arts and Science, save for psychology, this complex sits between the original campus and the Medical Center. The Vanderbilt University Medical Center itself takes up the southeastern part of the campus. Besides the various associated hospitals and clinics and the facilities of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, the medical center also houses many major research facilities.

West of the original campus and the Medical Center, Greek Row and the bulk of the Vanderbilt residence halls are found. From north to south, Carmichael Towers, Greek Row, Branscomb Quadrangle, and Highland Quadrangle house the vast majority of on-campus residents in facilities ranging from the double-occupancy shared-bathroom dorms in Branscomb and Towers to the apartments and lodges in Highland Quadrangle. This part of campus is newer than the others; Vanderbilt's westward growth did not start until the 1950s. This portion of campus was built by tearing down small single family houses and duplexes dating from the early 20th century, and so the area has significantly less green space than the arboretum on the original campus and is more indicative of the university's urban locale.

Memorial Gymnasium, Vanderbilt Stadium, Hawkins Field, McGugin Center, and all the other varsity athletic fields and facilities are to be found in the extreme west of campus. The Student Recreation Center and its associated intramural fields are located south of the varsity facilities.

Peabody campus

Directly across 21st Avenue from the Medical Center sits the campus of the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Due to their separate histories until the merger, the Peabody campus was configured in a radically different style than the original Vanderbilt campus. Whereas the latter has an unplanned organic design with buildings scattered throughout, Peabody campus was planned as a geometric design, similar to the Jeffersonian style of the University of Virginia. The campus is home not only to Peabody College but also to The Commons, where all freshmen live together as part of the College Halls plan.

tudent life


The university recognizes nearly 400 student organizations, ranging from academic major societies and honoraries to recreational sports clubs, the oldest of which is the Vanderbilt Sailing Club. There are also more than 30 service organizations on campus, giving students the opportunity to perform community service across the country and around the world, including the Vanderbilt-founded Alternative Spring Break.

Despite the lack of an organized journalism curriculum, no less than ten editorially-independent media outlets are produced and controlled by students. In addition, a sportswriting scholarship, named for Vanderbilt alumni Fred Russell and Grantland Rice, is awarded each year to an entering Vanderbilt freshman who intends to pursue a career in sportswriting. Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc., (VSC) owns eight print publications, a broadcast radio station, and a closed-circuit television station that provide a forum for student opinions and issues. One publication, "The Vanderbilt Hustler", was established in 1888 and is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Nashville (the newspaper's name references another nickname for the Commodore based on his cutthroat business practices, "i.e.", that he "hustled" people out of their money). The on-campus radio station, WRVU, represents the student body by playing a range of music from bluegrass to choral, with a focus on non-mainstream music, [cite news |last = Taylor |first = Kelly |coauthors = Sam Patton |title = Letter: Greer column fails to mention diversity of campus radio station |work = The Vanderbilt Hustler |date = 2007-04-04 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-26 ] while the campus television station, Vanderbilt Television (VTV), showcases student-produced films, skits, and news and entertainment-based shows.

VSC was formed as a not-for-profit corporation in 1967 to insulate the university from potential liability and to maintain journalistic independence after a series of controversial articles published by "The Hustler". During the 1970s, VSC funded a visiting journalist position to provide advice and counsel to its various operating units. Initially, the directors of VSC included a faculty chairman of the board of directors, several student directors, and an outside journalist director. Among the earlier journalist directors was John Seigenthaler, Sr., the then-president, publisher, and editor of "The Tennessean", who also played an instrumental role in the creation of "USA Today".

Additional student publications include those published by the Vanderbilt University Law School, which publishes three law reviews; the flagship journal is the "Vanderbilt Law Review".

Greeks are an active part of the social scene on and off campus, and the university is home to 21 fraternities and 14 sororities. As of 2006–2007, 35% of men were members of fraternities and 49% of women were members of sororities, or 42% of the total undergraduate population. [cite web |title = 2006 - 2007 Membership Statistics |publisher = Vanderbilt University Office of Greek Life |url = |format = Microsoft Word Document |accessdate = 2008-04-11 ]

Honor Code

Since the first classes began at Vanderbilt, the Honor System has served to strengthen the academic integrity of the university. Its principles were outlined in a famous quote by long-time Dean of Students Madison Sarratt: [cite web |last = Sarratt |first = Madison |title = Honor Quotes |publisher = Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Honor Council |url = | accessdate = 2007-04-25 ] quote|Today I am going to give you two examinations, one in trigonometry and one in honesty. I hope you will pass them both, but if you must fail one, let it be trigonometry, for there are many good men in this world today who cannot pass an examination in trigonometry, but there are no good men in the world who cannot pass an examination in honesty.

As a part of their first act together as a class, each Vanderbilt class meets together at the Honor Code Signing Ceremony, where every member of the class pledges their honor and signs the code. The signature pages are then hung in Sarratt Student Center. The ceremony is one of only two occasions where a class will be congregated in a single place at the same time (the other being Commencement).

The Undergraduate Honor Council was formed to help enforce and protect the tradition of the Honor Code. Today, the Honor Council serves two simultaneous aims: to enforce and protect the Honor Code and to inform members of the Vanderbilt community about the Honor System.

tudent housing

All undergraduate students not living with relatives in Davidson County are required to live on campus all four years to the extent that on-campus student housing facilities can accommodate them. In practice, though, approximately 83% of undergraduates—freshmen, sophomores, nearly all juniors and most seniors—currently live on campus. The remaining undergraduates join graduate and professional students in living off-campus. Student life at Vanderbilt is consequently heavily intertwined with campus life.

However, the on-campus residential system is currently undergoing a radical change. The new system, announced by the administration in 2002, would change the current structure of quadrangle-based residence halls to a new system of residential colleges, to be called "College Halls". Similar to the residential structures at Caltech, Harvard, Rice, and Yale, the new College Halls system would create residence halls where students and faculty would live together in a self-contained environment, complete with study rooms, cafeterias, laundry facilities, and stores. This project is now underway and is scheduled to be completed within the next 20 years.

The first step in the College Halls system will be The Commons, a collection of ten residential halls on the Peabody campus that will house all first-year students beginning in the fall of 2008. While the university currently houses freshmen in three separate and distinct residential areas, it is hoped that The Commons will give first-year students a unified (and unifying) living-learning experience. Vanderbilt renovated five existing residence halls on Peabody and built five new halls to complement them. Two of the new residence halls have received LEED silver certification and the new Commons Dining Center has received gold certification, making Vanderbilt the only university in the state to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. [cite press release |title = Vanderbilt first university in Tennessee recognized for "green" building |publisher = Vanderbilt University |date = 2007-08-17 |url = |accessdate = 2007-09-02 ] [cite press release |title = Vanderbilt University goes for the gold and wins for 'green' building efforts |publisher = Vanderbilt University |date = 2008-06-18 |url = |accessdate = 2008-06-18 ] The university expects all five of the new residence halls and one renovated residence hall to eventually receive LEED recognition. [cite news |last = Sisk |first = Chas |title = Seven Vanderbilt buildings to get 'green' certification |url = |work = The Tennessean |date = 2007-09-03 |accessdate = 2007-09-03 ] The total cost of The Commons construction project is expected to be over $150 million. [cite news |last = Lewis |first = Princine |title = Living and learning at Vanderbilt to undergo major transformation |work = The Vanderbilt Register |url = |date = 2005-06-13 |accessdate = 2007-07-01 ]

With the addition of these new residence halls, the university will be able to house all undergraduate students on campus. Since university policy requires undergraduates to live on campus when possible, Vanderbilt's Office of Housing and Residential Education will no longer grant students permission to live off campus, beginning with the class graduating in 2009.cite news |last = Brown |first = Christine |title = Class of 2009 will not live off campus |work = The Vanderbilt Hustler |date = 2007-01-21 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ] Many current students who came to Vanderbilt with the understanding that seniors were generally allowed to live off campus are now disappointed that they must live on campus all four years. [cite news |last = Levine |first = Jason |title = Administrators should work with students to resolve housing problems |work = The Vanderbilt Hustler |date = 2007-03-18 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-25 ] However, university administrators believe the undergraduate community receives the greatest benefit from living in on-campus residence halls, citing increased interaction with faculty, better academic performance, and stronger interpersonal relationships.

Plans are under way to build the next two College Halls at the corner of West End Avenue and 21st Avenue, the current site of Kissam Quadrangle. Upperclass students will live in a mixture of single- and double-occupancy rooms organized into suites. A dining center will be located between the two College Halls with rooftop and patio seating. Guest quarters, classroom space, conference rooms, offices and underground parking are all also planned for the yet-unnamed facility. Everton Oglesby Architects PLLC has been selected to design the two new College Halls. [cite news |last = Brashar |first = Joan |title = The Commons: What Comes Next? |work = Vanderbilt View |date = 2008-07-31 |url = |accessdate = 2008-08-03 ]


Vanderbilt's long history has given birth to several myths and urban legends. Some of the more well known: [cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Traditions & Lore |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-26 ]

* The administration at Vanderbilt has canceled classes only twice, once because of a loose bull on campus.:Fact: Vanderbilt has canceled classes many times over its history, but not because of a loose bull.

* There is no bell at the top of Kirkland Hall, just a stereo system that imitates chimes.:Fact: After Kirkland Hall burned in 1905, Nashville schoolchildren collected money for a new 2,000-pound bell, which still chimes on the hour from Kirkland Tower.

* The teacher in "Dead Poets Society" is based on Vanderbilt professor John Lachs.:Fact: The film's screenplay was written by Tom Schulman, who is a Vanderbilt alumnus, but he based the story on his experiences at Montgomery Bell Academy, a Nashville area prep school.

* The president of the university is really a bear in a suit.:Fact: Actually, this one is true.


Vanderbilt is a charter member of the Southeastern Conference and is the conference's only private school. With fewer than 6,600 undergraduates, the school is also the smallest in the conference; the SEC's next-smallest school, the University of Mississippi, has nearly twice as many undergraduate students. Vanderbilt therefore fields fewer teams than any of its rivals—only 16—and sometimes lacks the national prominence enjoyed by schools such as the University of Florida or the University of Kentucky. Additionally, the school is a member of the American Lacrosse Conference for women's lacrosse, as the SEC does not sponsor that sport. Conversely, Vanderbilt is the only league school not to field teams in softball and volleyball, but has discussed adding either or both sports in the future. [cite news |last = Patton |first = Maurice |title = Success may add teams at Vandy |work = The Tennessean |date = 2007-05-14 |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ]

Men's and women's tennis and men's and women's basketball are traditionally Vanderbilt's strongest sports, with the more recently founded women's lacrosse and bowling programs as well as the long-standing men's baseball program experiencing moderate national success. After enjoying success in the first half of the 20th century, the football program has struggled in more recent times.

Athletics restructuring

In September 2003, Vanderbilt earned national attention when it announced that it was eliminating its athletic department. Then-Chancellor Gee called Vanderbilt's varsity athletes "isolated", and insisted that student-athletes would perform better if they were integrated into the rest of the student body. So rather than administer athletics separately from student life, Gee folded the university's varsity teams into the Office of Student Life, the same group that oversees all student organizations. The university is unique in Division I in this regard. [cite news |last = Bechtel |first = Mark |title = A Process of Elimination: Vanderbilt has found greater sports success since losing its athletics department |work = Sports Illustrated |date = 2007-06-06 |accessdate = 2007-07-02 ] Despite fears that Vanderbilt would lose coaches and recruits or would be forced out of the SEC, the university has experienced considerable success since the change; 2006–07 was one of the best in the school's athletic history. At one point, seven of Vanderbilt's 16 teams were concurrently ranked in the Top 25 of their respective sports. [cite press release | title = Seven Vanderbilt teams ranked in Top 25 | publisher = Vanderbilt University | date = 2007-02-23 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Women's bowling won the NCAA championship, bringing the university its first and only team championship since the advent of the NCAA. [cite web |last = Vanderbilt Athletic Department |title = Vanderbilt Bowlers Make History |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-14 ] The baseball team qualified for the NCAA Super Regionals in 2004, had the nation's top recruiting class in 2005 according to "Baseball America", [cite web |last = Kimmey |first = Will |title = Vandy Recruits Stay For Top Recruiting Class |work = Baseball America |date = 2005-10-11 |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] made the NCAA field again in 2006, and won the 2007 SEC regular-season and tournament championships. Vanderbilt was ranked first in most polls for a large portion of the 2007 season, and the team secured the top seed in the 2007 NCAA tournament. [cite press release | title = Vanderbilt Awarded No. 1 National Seed | publisher = Vanderbilt University | date = 2007-05-28 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ]


Vanderbilt's intercollegiate athletics teams are nicknamed the Commodores, in honor of the nickname given to Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his fortune in shipping. Students and alumni refer to Vanderbilt athletic teams as the "Dores" and use the cheer "Go Dores!"

The term "commodore" was used by the Navy during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. A commodore was the commanding officer of a task force of ships, and therefore higher in rank than a captain but lower in rank than an admiral. The closest parallel to this now-defunct rank is rear admiral lower-half. Since the term was used most during the 19th century, Vanderbilt's mascot is usually portrayed as a naval officer named "Mr. C" from the late 1800s, complete with mutton chops, cutlass, and uniform.

Notable faculty and alumni

Vanderbilt has approximately 114,000 living alumni, with 31 alumni clubs established worldwide. Many Vanderbilt alumni have gone on to make significant contributions in politics, in the arts, and in the sciences. Lamar Alexander (B.A. 1962) is a former Governor of Tennessee and a current U.S. senator; he filled the seat left vacant by the retirement of Fred Thompson (J.D. 1971).cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Notable Alumni: Politics/Government |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Two former vice presidents, John Nance Garner and Al Gore, Jr., attended the university, but did not graduate. [cite web |last = Patenaude |first = Lionel V |title = Garner, John Nance |work = The Handbook of Texas Online |publisher = Texas State Historical Association |date = 2002-03-08 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-05 ] [cite web |last = Gore |first = Al |title = Al's Bio |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] However, Gore's wife, Tipper, is herself an alumna, receiving a master's degree from Peabody in 1975. [cite web |last = The Executive Office of the President |title = White House Biography |url = |publisher = U.S. National Archives and Records Administration |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Other alumni who are or have been involved in politics include former United States Supreme Court Associate Justice James Clark McReynolds (B.S. 1882); Congressmen Steve Cohen (B.A. 1971) and Ric Keller (J.D. 1992); David Boaz (B.A. 1975), Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute; [cite web |last = Cohen |first = Steve |title = Biography of Congressman Steve Cohen |url = |publisher = U.S. Congress |accessdate=2007-05-24 ] [cite web |last = Keller |first = Ric |title = Biography |publisher = U.S. Congress |accessdate = 2008-10-05 ] [cite web |last = Presidential Scholars Foundation |title = Presidential Scholars 1971 | publisher = The Commission on Presidential Scholars |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-05 ] and John R. Steelman (M.A. 1924), former White House Chief of Staff. In addition, Senator Theodore Bilbo attended both Peabody College and the Law School.

Given the university's location in Nashville, it is not surprising that many of its alumni become involved in the music industry. Dinah Shore (B.A. 1938), Rosanne Cash (B.A. 1979), Amy Grant (B.A. 1982), and Dierks Bentley (B.A. 1997) are all alumni.cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Notable Alumni: Arts & Entertainment |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Shore later went on to star in a variety of films; other Vanderbilt alumni with Hollywood connections include Academy Award-winners Delbert Mann (B.A. 1941) and Tom Schulman (B.A. 1972) and actors Molly Sims (B.S. 1995) and Joe Bob Briggs (B.A. 1974).cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Notable Alumni: Media |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ]

In addition, the university has a rich literary and journalistic legacy. Three U.S. Poets Laureate are Vanderbilt alums: Allen Tate (B.A. 1922), Robert Penn Warren (B.A. 1925), and Randall Jarrell (M.A. 1938). Warren later went on to the win the Pulitzer Prize. Novelists James Dickey (B.A. 1949) and James Patterson (M.A. 1970) also graduated from Vanderbilt. Two well-known sportswriters, Grantland Rice (B.A. 1901) and Fred Russell (B.A. 1927), have a scholarship named after them at the university, [cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Merit-based Aid |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] and Buster Olney (B.A. 1988) writes for and "The New York Times". Journalist David Brinkley attended briefly. [cite news |last = Severo |first = Richard |title = David Brinkley, Elder Statesman of TV News, Dies at 82 |work = The New York Times |date = 2003-06-12 |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-05 ] Skip Bayless (B.A. 1974) of "ESPN First Take" attended Vanderbilt as a recipient of the Russell-Rice scholarship.

Current Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler (B.S. 2005) is also a Vanderbilt alum and was drafted in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Offensive tackle Chris Williams (B.S. 2008) was a first round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2008.

Three alumni, biochemist Stanford Moore (B.A. 1935), economist Muhammad Yunus (Ph.D. 1971), and Al Gore have won the Nobel Prize. [cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Notable Alumni: Science/Medicine |url = |publisher = Vanderbilt University |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] [cite web |last = Office of Undergraduate Admissions |title = Notable Alumni: Philanthropy/Social Activism |url = |publisher = Vanderbilt University |accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Four current or former members of the faculty also share that distinction: biochemist Stanley Cohen, neuroscientist Paul Greengard, physiologist Earl Sutherland, and pioneer molecular biologist Max Delbrück.

{|style="margin: 1em auto 1em auto"


note label|Helsinki|A|ASee article on the Declaration of Helsinki.


ee also

*Southern Ivy
*Latin American Public Opinion Project

External links

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* [ Vanderbilt University homepage]
* [ Map of campus]
* [ Vanderbilt University Office of Undergraduate Admissions homepage]
* [ Vanderbilt University Athletics homepage]
* [ Vanderbilt University Alumni homepage]
* [ Vanderbilt University Medical Center]
* [ Vanderbilt Children's Hospital]
* [ Panoramic photograph of Vanderbilt published in 1909]
* [ Arboreal tour of campus]
* [ Latin American Public Opinion Project]

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