private research university in Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Vanderbilt University (informally Vandy or VU) is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of New York 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.Vanderbilt enrolls approximately 13,100 students from all 50 U.S. states and over 100 foreign countries in four undergraduate and six graduate and professional schools. The university is in the process of converting its residence halls into an academic residential college system. Several research centers and institutes are affiliated with the university, including the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, and Dyer Observatory. Vanderbilt University Medical Center, formerly part of the university, became a separate institution in 2016. With the exception of the off-campus observatory, all of the university's facilities are situated on its 330-acre (1.3 km2) campus in the heart of Nashville, 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.
The Fugitives and Southern Agrarians were based at the university in the first half of the 20th century and helped revive Southern literature among others. The Jean and Alexander Heard Library, the campus library system, contains over 8 million items across ten libraries and stands as one of the nation's top research libraries. Vanderbilt Television News Archive holds the most extensive collection of television news coverage in the world, with over 40,000 hours of content. BioVU, Vanderbilt's DNA databank, is one of the largest of its kind in the world, running over 200 ongoing projects and holding over 225,000 samples. Additionally, Vanderbilt's Institute for Space and Defense Electronics, the largest of its type in the world, provides integral support to several companies, agencies, and governmental units, including Boeing, NASA, and the United States Department of Defense.Vanderbilt has many distinguished alumni and affiliates, including 45 current and former members of the United States Congress, 17 U.S. Ambassadors, 14 governors, ten billionaires, seven Nobel Prize laureates, two Vice Presidents of the United States, and two U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Other notable alumni include Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, Academy Award winners, Grammy Award winners, MacArthur Fellows, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, heads of state and other leaders in foreign government, academics, musicians, professional athletes, and Olympians. Vanderbilt has more than 145,000 alumni, with 40 alumni clubs established worldwide.Vanderbilt is a founding member of the Southeastern Conference and has been the conference's only private school for a half-century.
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