Vanderbilt University (also known informally as Vandy) is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, founded in 1873. It was named in honor of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt 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 enrolls approximately 12,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and over 90 foreign countries in four undergraduate and six graduate and professional schools.
In its 2016 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanderbilt 15th among all national universities. In the same publication’s graduate program rankings, the Peabody College of Education was ranked third in the nation among schools of education, and the Vanderbilt Law School was listed at 16th, the School of Medicine was listed at 15th among research-oriented medical schools, the School of Nursing was listed at 15th, the School of Engineering was listed at 34th, and the Owen Graduate School of Management was listed at 25th among business schools. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanderbilt first in the nation in the fields of special education, educational administration, and audiology. In 2014, the Owen Graduate School of Management was ranked 30th by Bloomberg Businessweek among full-time MBA programs. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks Vanderbilt as the 60th-best university in the world. Additionally the ARWU Field rankings in 2015 placed Vanderbilt as 18th best in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy, and 21st in Social Sciences. In the Times Higher Education 2016 World University Rankings, Vanderbilt is 87th. The 2016/17 [[QS World University Rankings]] ranked Vanderbilt university 203rd in the world. Human Resources & Labor Review, a national human competitiveness index & analysis, ranked the university as one of 50 Best World Universities in 2011.
Vanderbilt is a charter member of the Southeastern Conference at the Division I level and for a half-century has been the conference’s only private school. The university is unique in NCAA Division I in that for several years the athletics department was not administered separately from other aspects of campus life; Vice Chancellor David Williams, who was over intercollegiate athletics, also was university counsel and in charge of other aspects of undergraduate campus life such as intramural sports. Despite fears that Vanderbilt would lose coaches and recruits or would be forced out of the SEC, the university experienced considerable success after 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.