Vanderbilt University is a private research university located 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, four undergraduate and six graduate schools comprise Vanderbilt, enrolling approximately 12,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and over 90 foreign countries. In its 2011 ranking of universities, U.S. News & World Report placed Vanderbilt 17th among national universities and the schools of education, law, medicine, and nursing were ranked among the top 20 in the country. The Academic Ranking of World Universities listed Vanderbilt as 41st in the world in its 2009 ranking. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-11 has listed Vanderbilt as the 51st best university in the world.
The university is among the top 10 recipients of federal research funding with $444.3 million in 2008. Also affiliated with the university are several research centers and institutes, 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 Vanderbilt’s facilities are situated on its 330-acre (1.3 km2) campus in the heart of Nashville, only 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.
Notable alumni and affiliates include two Vice Presidents of the United States, 25 Rhodes Scholars, seven Nobel Prize laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Academy Award winners.