The oldest college in every US state

Flickr/Florian PilzHarvard University was founded in 1636.
  • Harvard University is the oldest college in the US.
  • The University of Delaware is one of the nation’s oldest university’s, according to the college.
  • The University of Alaska Fairbanks is among the youngest college’s founded in the country.

According to the US Department of Education, there are more than 4,000 “degree-granting” institutions in the country. The colleges were established throughout varying centuries starting in the 1600s.

We’ve rounded up the oldest colleges throughout the US. These are the oldest colleges in every state.

It’s worth noting that title of “oldest” is a hotly contested one in many of these states. We’re going by the date each institution was founded, though some colleges and universities also claim the title.


Alabama: Spring Hill College — 1830

Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama is Alabama’soldest institution of higher learning, according to its website. Founded in 1830, it beat the University of Alabama’s founding by a year.


Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks — 1922.

Burntorange72/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is the oldest college in the Last Frontier state. The university has more than 8,500 students across seven different campuses throughout the state. The school opened its doors to students in 1922, then named The Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, after the construction of the first building on campus was completed.


Arizona: University of Arizona — 1885.

The University of Arizona was founded in 1885, making it the oldest in the state. In fact, it was founded three decades before Arizona was even a state. The first classes began in 1891, according to the university.


Arkansas: University of the Ozarks — 1834.

Larryisch/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of the Ozarks.

The University of the Ozarks is the oldest higher education institution in the state of Arkansas, according to the university. It can trace its roots to 1834 to the Cane Hill School and today, the university is located in Clarksville, Arkansas.


TIE: California: Santa Clara University and The University of the Pacific — 1851.

Flickr/Yoshio Kohara/MARELBUSanta Clara University and The University of the Pacific.

Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California traces its history back to 1777 as the Mission Santa Clara de Asís. But the school as we know it today was founded in 1851, apparently making it the oldest college in the Golden State.

The University of the Pacific, formerly known as California Wesleyan College, received its charter in 1851 but didn’t open its doors until 1852, according to the LA Times, but its charter was made before Santa Clara’s, making it the oldest chartered institution in the state.

The two are often at odds about which can be considered the oldest college in the state, but going off our parameters, the two are tied for the title.


Colorado: The University of Denver — 1864.

University of Denver FacebookThe University of Denver.

The University of Denver was founded in 1864. As the oldest university in the state, it was originally known as Colorado Seminary, according to the school. The educational institution is located in Denver, Colorado.


Connecticut: Yale University — 1701.

f11photo/ShutterstockYale University.

Yale University was established in 1701 and is located in New Haven, Connecticut. However, the college’s roots can be traced back to the 1640s, according to Yale.

It is not only the oldest university in Connecticut, but it’s also the third oldest in the country.


Delaware: University of Delaware — 1743.

Via Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Delaware.

Founded in 1743, the University of Delaware is the oldest college in the state. It is also among one of the first higher education institutions to be established in the US. The public university is located in Newark, Delaware.


Florida: Florida State University — 1851.

Jackson Myers/FlickrFlorida State University.

Florida State University was founded in 1851, so many mark it as the oldest college in the state.

But, the first recognised college in the US is Rollings College in Winter Park, a liberal arts college founded in 1885.

Since we’re going by date founded, FSU, located in Tallahassee, takes the crown.


Georgia: University of Georgia — 1785.

University of Georgia FacebookUniversity of Georgia.

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the first college to be founded in the state. The university is located a little over an hour outside of Atlanta in Athens, Georgia.

When it was founded, Georgia became the first state to charter a state-supported university, according to the school.


Hawaii — University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa — 1907.

Facebook/ University of Hawaii at ManoaUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa was founded in 1907. Classes began in 1908. The university is located in Honolulu.


Idaho: Brigham Young University Idaho — 1888.

Flickr/Ken LundBrigham Young University Idaho.

Founded in 1888, Brigham Young University in Rexburg, Idaho is the oldest college in the state, though it started as Bannock Stake Academy. The school is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Illinois: McKendree University — 1828.

Facebook/ McKendree UniversityMcKendree University.

McKendree University was established nearly 200 years ago in 1828. The school is located in Lebanon, Illinois.


Indiana: Vincennes University — 1801.

Twitter/ Vincennes UniversityVincennes University.

Vincennes University touts itself as Indiana’s first college, according to the school. It was founded in 1801 and is situated in Vincennes, Indiana.


Iowa: Loras College — 1839.

Loras College was the very first college in Iowa, according to the institution. The private liberal arts college was established in 1839 in Dubuque, Iowa.


Kansas: Baker University — 1858.

Baker University opened in 1858 and is located in Baldwin City, Kansas.


Kentucky: Transylvania University — 1780.

TUPictures/ Wikimedia CommonsTransylvania University.

Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky is the oldest college in the state. The private university was founded in 1780.


Louisiana: Centenary College of Louisiana — 1825.

Billy Hathorn/ Wikimedia CommonsCentenary College of Louisiana.

Centenary College of Louisiana is located in Shreveport, Louisana. It was founded in 1825 and is the 43rd oldest college in all of the US, according to the school.


Maine: Bowdoin College — 1794.

Bowdoin College is located in Brunswick, Maine. It was chartered in 1794, according to the school, making it the oldest college in the state. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and explorer Robert E. Peary are alumni.


Maryland: St. John’s College — 1696.

smi23le/ Wikimedia CommonsSt. John’s College.

St. John’s College is the third oldest college in the US and the oldest in the state, according to the school. It was established in 1696 and is located in Annapolis, Maryland. Francis Scott Key, the writer of the Star Spangled Banner, is a notable alumnus.


Massachusetts: Harvard University — 1636.

William B. Plowman/GettyHarvard University.

Harvard University is the oldest university in the nation, according to the school. The Cambridge, Massachusetts college was established in 1636.


Michigan: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor — 1817.

AndrewHorne/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The University of Michigan Ann Arbor was founded in 1817 and was the first public university in the Northwest Territories. It is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Minnesota: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities —1851.

Dragne SDI/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities was charted in 1851 and is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It’s worth noting that Hamline University was founded in 1854 and credits itself as the first university in the state, as it graduated a class of students before U of M.


Mississippi: Mississippi College — 1826.

Mississippi College is the oldest institute of higher learning in the state. It was founded in 1826 and is situated in Clinton, Mississippi.


Missouri: Saint Louis University — 1818.

WikiWithChris/ Wikimedia CommonsSaint Louis University.

Saint Louis University was established in 1818. It is located in St. Louis, Missouri and is a private research university.


Montana: Rocky Mountain College — 1878.

Facebook/ Rocky Mountain CollegeRocky Mountain College.

Rocky Mountain College is the oldest in Montana, according to its website. It was established in 1878. The school is located in Billings, Montana.


Nebraska: Peru State College — 1867.

As Nebraska’s first college, Peru State was founded in 1867 in Peru, Nebraska.


Nevada: University of Nevada, Reno — 1874.

Dmiat/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Nevada, Reno.

The University of Nevada at Reno opened in 1874. The school, which is located in Reno, Nevada, is known as the state’s first university.


New Hampshire: Dartmouth College —1769.

Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College was founded in 1769. It’s the ninth-oldest university in the nation, according to the school.


New Jersey: Princeton University — 1746.

Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is the fourth oldest university in the US. It is located in Princeton, New Jersey. Notable alums include Michelle Obama and Jeff Bezos.


New Mexico: New Mexico State University — 1888.

Mac2678/ Wikimedia CommonsNew Mexico State University.

New Mexico State University was instituted in 1888 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


New York: Columbia University — 1754.

LENS-68/ShutterstockColumbia University.

Situated in the heart of New York City, Columbia University was endowed in 1754. It is the fifth-oldest higher education institute in the US, according to the school. Notable alumni include Warren Buffet and Kate McKinnon.


North Carolina: Salem College — 1772.

Salem College was founded in 1772. It is the 13-oldest college in the country, according to the school. The school is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and also touts itself as the oldest educational institution for women and girls in the US.


North Dakota: University of North Dakota — 1883.

MatthewUND/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of North Dakota.

The University of North Dakota was first organised in 1883. It is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.


Ohio: Ohio University — 1804.

Ohio University was established in 1804. It is the oldest college in the state. The university is located in Athens, Ohio.


Oklahoma: University of Central Oklahoma — 1890.

Houstonman6/ Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Central Oklahoma.

The University of Central Oklahoma was founded in 1890 in Edmond, Oklahoma.


Oregon: Willamette University — 1842.

Cacophony/ Wikimedia CommonsWillamette University.

Willamette University was organised in 1842. It is located in Salem, Oregon. It also brands itself as the first university in the western US, according to its website.


Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania — 1740.

MatthewMarcucci/ Wikimedia CommonsThe University of Pennsylvania.

The University of Pennsylvania was endowed in 1740 in Philadephia. It was also the first American institute of higher learning to officially have the name “university,” according to its library.


Rhode Island: Brown University — 1764.

Tupungato/ShutterstockBrown University.

Brown University was founded in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island. It was the third college in New England and the seventh in America, according to its site.


South Carolina: College of Charleston — 1770.

Lkeadle/ Wikimedia CommonsCollege of Charleston.

The College of Charleston was founded in 1770. It is located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is the oldest educational institution south of Virginia, according to its site.


South Dakota: Augustana University — 1860.

Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota was created in 1860. Its sister college is Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and the two are the among the oldest of the 40 institutes of higher education that are affiliated with the Lutheran Church.


Tennessee: Tusculum College — 1794.

Facebook/ Tusculum UniversityTusculum University.

Tusculum College is the oldest college in Tennessee and was endowed in 1794, according to the school. It is located in Morristown, Tennessee. It is also the oldest coeducational institution that affiliated with the US Presbyterian Church.


Texas: Southwestern University — 1840.

Matthew Rutledge/ Wikimedia CommonsSouthwestern University.

Southwestern University says it’s the oldest higher education institute in Texas and so apparently does the Texas State Senate: Senate Proclamation No. 15 says so. It was organised in 1840 and is located in Georgetown, Texas.


Utah: University of Utah — 1850.

Klubbit/ Wikimedia CommonsThe University of Utah.

The University of Utah was founded in 1850 and is located in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Vermont: Castleton University — 1787.

Redjar/ Wikimedia CommonsCastleton University.

Castleton University has been around since 1787 and is situated in Castleton, Vermont. It is also the 18th-oldest institute of higher learning in the country, according to its website.


Virginia: College of William & Mary — 1693.

The College of William and Mary was instituted in 1693 in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s the second-oldest institution of higher learning in America and its planning apparently pre-dates Harvard’s according to its website.


Washington: University of Washington — 1861.

Curtis Cronn / FlickrUniversity of Washington.

The University of Washington is based in Seattle and is the oldest in the state. It was founded in 1861.


Washington D.C.: Georgetown University — 1789.

F Delventhal/flickrGeorgetown University.

Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University was formed in 1789. It’s also the oldest Catholic university in the US, according to The World University Ranking.


West Virginia: Bethany College — 1840.

Wikimedia CommonsBethany College.

Founded in 1840, Bethany College is the oldest higher education institute in the state. It is located in Bethany, West Virginia. A notable alum is Frances McDormand.


Wisconsin: Carroll University — 1846.

Carroll University was established in 1846. It’s situated in Waukesha, Wisconsin.


Wyoming: University of Wyoming — 1886.

Via Wikimedia CommonsThe University of Wyoming.

The University of Wyoming was created in 1886 in Laramie, Wyoming.

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