Did you know that Ezra Cornell formed Western Union before founding the Ivy League school that bears his name? Or that Samuel Bard was a surgeon to George Washington years before his grandson John founded Bard College? Or that the highly esteemed Berklee School of Music was named after a 12-year-old boy?
At their very best, our colleges and universities are the lifeblood of American ingenuity, innovation, and revelation. Our campuses are a place where knowledge, inspiration, and opportunity are meant to converge, where thought, idea, and action coalesce.
And those schools with the finest of such traditions—those with the richest history and the brightest future—were not simply hatched from a single idea. No. The tradition of higher education is a many-colored tapestry, stitched together by countless brilliant men and women.
Indeed, many of their names adorn buildings and brochures, invoking images of scholarly discourse, tireless invention, and staggering achievement. These are the men and women featured in TBS Magazine’s “Campus Characters” series. Here, we highlight the contributions of the greatest figures in our educational history. We’ll also arm you with tons of amazing trivia tidbits along the way.
Impress your friends, irritate your roommates, or just hoard all of this juicy knowledge for yourself. (Just kidding. Don’t do that. Share it all over the internet please.)
And if there’s anybody in your school’s history that you think is deserving of our consideration, let us know. We’ll add them to our list!