About Northwestern University
Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university located primarily in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern is a comprehensive research institution consisting of eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and colleges: the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Graduate School, the Medill School of Journalism, the Bienen School of Music, and the Schools of Communication, Law, Education and Social Policy, and Continuing Studies.
Northwestern was founded in 1851 by John Evans to serve the people of the Northwest Territory. Instruction began in 1855, and women were first admitted in 1869. Today, Northwestern's main campus is a 240-acre (97 ha) parcel in Evanston, along the shore of Lake Michigan. The university's campus in downtown Chicago is the location of its law and medical schools. The Medill School of Journalism and School of Communication also have a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar.
In 2008 Northwestern enrolled 8,476 undergraduate and 9,955 graduate and professional students. The Northwestern Wildcats compete in 19 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA's Division I, primarily in the Big Ten Conference.
The history of Northwestern University can be traced back to a May 31, 1850 meeting of prominent Chicago businessmen who shared a desire to establish a university to serve the Northwest Territories. On January 28, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North Western University making it the first recognized university in Illinois. The school’s nine founders were all Methodists (including three ministers in the church) and were committed to non-sectarian admissions for the entire population of the territory.
John Evans purchased 379 acres (153 ha) of land along Lake Michigan in 1853 and Philo Judson began developing the plans for what would become the city of Evanston. The first building, Old College, opened on November 5, 1855. As a private university that had to raise funds for construction, Northwestern sold $100 "perpetual scholarships" that entitled the purchaser and his heirs to free tuition. In 1873, the Evanston College for Ladies merged with Northwestern, and Frances Willard, who later gained fame as a suffragist, became the school's first dean of women. Northwestern admitted its first female students in 1869 and the first female student graduated in 1874.