Vanderbilt University

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Vanderbilt University
Image:Vanderbilt University Seal.jpg
Established 1873
Type Private
Endowment $2.911 billion
Chancellor Gordon Gee
Faculty 2,861
Students 11,481
Undergraduates 6,402
Postgraduates 5,079
Location Nashville, Tenn., USA
Campus Urban, 330 acres
Athletics 16 varsity teams
Colors Black and Gold
Nickname Commodores Image:Vanderbilt Commodores.gif
Affiliations AAU (Academic)
SEC (Athletic)

Vanderbilt University is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational research university in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vanderbilt was founded in 1873 with a gift of $1 million by shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt who, despite having never been to the South, hoped his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War. Today, Vanderbilt enrolls around 11,000 students in ten schools—four undergraduate and six graduate and professional. Also affiliated with the university are several research facilities and a world-renowned medical center, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), which is the only Level I Trauma Center in Middle Tennessee. Vanderbilt is one of North America's top research institutions and is a member of the Association of American Universities, to whose membership Vanderbilt was elected in 1950.


[edit] History

Cornelius Vanderbilt

In the years prior to the American Civil War, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South had been considering creating a regional university for the training of ministers located centrally for the congregations of the church. Through the lobbying of Nashville bishop Holland McTyeire, church leaders voted in 1872 to create "Central University" in Nashville. However, lack of funds (and the war-ravaged state of the South) delayed the opening of the college.

The following year, on a medical trip to New York, McTyeire stayed at the residence of "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose second wife was the cousin of McTyeire's wife. Vanderbilt, the wealthiest man in America at the time, had been considering philanthropy causes as he was at an advanced age. His original plan was to establish a university on Staten Island, New York in honor of his mother. However, McTyeire successfully convinced him to donate $500,000 to endow Central University.

The endowment (later increased to $1 million) would be Vanderbilt's only philanthropy. Though the Commodore never expressed any desire to have the university named after himself, McTyeire and his fellow trustees soon rechristened the school as "the Vanderbilt University". Vanderbilt died in 1877 having never even visited the school named after him.

Image:Vandy Old Main.jpg
Old Main (1875), photographed before it burned in 1905
After the fire, Old Main was rebuilt with one tower and renamed Kirkland Hall. It is currently home of Vanderbilt's administration.
. In the fall of 1875, about 200 students enrolled at Vanderbilt; the university was dedicated in October of that year. Bishop McTyeire, who had been named chairman of the Board of Trust for life by Vanderbilt as a stipulation of his endowment, named Landon Garland, his mentor from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and then-Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, as chancellor. Garland shaped the school's structure and hired the school's faculty, many of whom were renowned scholars in their respective fields. However, most of this crop of star faculty left after disputes with Bishop McTyeire.
Old Science Hall (recently renamed Benson Science Hall), one of the original buildings, has not been used for science classes in many years.
For the first 40 years, the Board of Trust (and therefore the university itself) was under the control of the general conference (the governing body) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. However, tensions began rising between the university administration and the Conference over the future of the school, particularly over the methods by which members of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust would be chosen.

Conflicts escalated with the appointment of James Kirkland as chancellor in 1893. The final straw, at least in the mind of Kirkland, was a failed campaign to raise $300,000 from Southern Methodist congregations (only $50,000 was raised). Further disputes between the bishops and Kirkland, which erupted into litigation in 1912, led the Methodist conference to sever all ties with Vanderbilt University in June 1914.

Vanderbilt enjoyed early intellectual influence during the 1920s and 1930s when it hosted two partly overlapping groups of scholars who had a large impact on American thought and letters: the Fugitives and the Agrarians. During the same period, Ernest William Goodpasture and his colleagues in the Medical School invented methods for cultivating viruses and rickettsiae in fertilized chicken eggs. This work made possible the production of vaccines against chicken pox, smallpox, yellow fever, typhus, Rocky mountain spotted fever and other diseases caused by agents that only propagate in living cells.

Image:Vandy-Kissam Hall.jpg
Kissam Hall, men's dormitory from 1901 until it was razed in 1958. The baths were all in the basement.
In 1966, Oberlin Graduate School of Theology moved from Ohio to Nashville, in order to merge with the Vanderbilt Divinity School. In 1979, Vanderbilt absorbed its neighbor Peabody College.

In the late 1950s, the Vanderbilt Divinity School became something of a hotbed of the emerging Civil Rights movement, and the university expelled one of its leaders, James Lawson. Much later, in 2005, he was made a Distinguished Alumnus for his achievements and re-hired as a Distinguished University Professor for the 2006-07 academic year. <ref> The Rev. James Lawson to return as visiting professor by Jim Patterson, "Vanderbilt Register", January 30, 2006. Access date unknown.</ref>

As with Lawson, the university drew national attention in 1966, when it recruited the first African American athlete in the Southeastern Conference, Perry Wallace. Wallace, from Nashville, played varsity basketball for Vanderbilt from 1967-1970, and faced considerable opposition from segregationists when playing at other SEC venues. In 2004, a student-led drive to have Wallace's jersey retired finally succeeded. Harold Vanderbilt was chairman of the Board of Trust between 1955 and 1968 when racial integration was a very prominent topic at the school. Today a statue of him in front of Buttrick Hall memoralizes his efforts.

Memorial Hall, located on the Peabody campus, was the subject of a lawsuit to remove the word "Confederate" from its facade.

History, race, and civil rights issues again came to the fore on the campus in 2002, when the university decided to rename a dormitory on the Peabody campus, Confederate Memorial Hall, to Memorial Hall. Nationwide attention resulted, in part due to a lawsuit by the Tennessee chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who had helped pay for the building's construction in 1933 with a $50,000 contribution.

The Davidson County Chancery Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2003, but the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in May 2005 that the university would have to pay damages based on the present value of the United Daughters of the Confederacy's contribution if an inscription bearing the name "Confederate Memorial Hall" were to be removed from the building or altered.

In late July of 2005, the university announced that although it has officially renamed the building and all university publications and offices will refer to it solely as "Memorial Hall," the university would neither appeal the matter further nor remove the inscription and pay damages.

[edit] Organization

[edit] Board of Trust

Vanderbilt University, as a private corporation, is wholly governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trust. The Board is comprised of 45 regular members (plus any number of trustees emeriti) and the Chancellor. Each trustee serves a five-year term (except for four recently-graduated undergraduates, whom serve four-year terms). A complete, up-to-date listing of the members of the Board of Trust can be found here. Martha Rivers Ingram is the current Chairman of the Board of Trust.

[edit] Chancellor

Gordon Gee is the current Chancellor of Vanderbilt University. Appointed by the Board of Trust, he is the chief executive officer of the university, and serves only at the pleasure of the Board. Prior to his appointment in February 2000, Gee served as president of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Since the opening of the university in 1875, only seven individuals have served as chancellor:

Chancellor Tenure Notes
Landon Garland 1875–1893 Organized structure of university, hired the first faculty.[1]
James Kirkland 1893–1937 Longest tenure; severed ties with Methodist church; relocated the medical school to the main campus.[2]
Oliver Carmichael 1937–1946 Encouraged research, developed the graduate school, established the Joint University Libraries for Vanderbilt, Peabody and Scarritt College.[3]
Harvie Branscomb 1946–1962 Presided over a period of major growth and improvements, including opening admissions to all races.[4]
Alexander Heard 1963–1982 Founded the Owen School of Management and negotiated the merger with Peabody College.[5]
Joe B. Wyatt 1982–2000 Raised endowment; encouraged student volunteerism; recruited more diverse student body and renovated many old buildings.[6]
Gordon Gee 2000–

Gee also serves on the Board of Trustees of several companies including Massey Energy and Gaylord Entertainment Company.

[edit] Academic divisions

Vanderbilt University is currently divided into ten degree-granting units. Each division except the Graduate School is headed by a dean. The divisions of the university (and their current heads) are:

Academic Division Dean
College of Arts and Science Richard McCarty
Blair School of Music Mark Wait
School of Engineering Kenneth F. Galloway
Peabody College of Education and Human Development Camilla Benbow
Graduate School Dennis Hall <ref name="dhall">Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education</sub></center></ref>
Divinity School James Hudnut-Beumler
Law School Edward L. Rubin
School of Medicine Steven G. Gabbe
School of Nursing Colleen Conway-Welch
Owen Graduate School Of Management Jim Bradford

[edit] Students and faculty

Image:Gordon gee.jpg
Gordon Gee, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University

As of fall 2005, the last semester for which comprehensive data have been published, the university had an enrollment of 6,402 undergraduate and 5,079 graduate and professional students. Approximately 55% of the total student body comes from outside the Southeast, including some 8.5% from outside the United States. Moreover, 22.7% of the undergraduate class of 2009 were non-Caucasian.

With nearly 20,000 employees, Vanderbilt is the largest private employer in Middle Tennessee and the second largest in the state (after FedEx, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee). The vast majority of those employees are staff at the Medical Center (see below). Of the 2,527 full-time faculty employed by the university, 1,625 are Medical Center faculty (specifically the Schools of Medicine and Nursing) and 902 are University Central (non-Medical Center) faculty.

In 2004, the university reported that 24.1% of University Central faculty were women and 14.4% were minorities and 1% were undecided. In 2003, seventeen were members of one of the National Academies.

[edit] Campus

The Vanderbilt campus is located approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of downtown in the West End neighborhood of midtown Nashville. It has an area of 330 acres (1.3 km²), though this figure includes large tracts of sparsely used land in the southwest part of the main campus, as well as the Medical Center. The original academic quad is approximately 30 acres (12 ha) in area.

Click here to see a campus map.

[edit] Layout

Corner of 21st and West End
Bicentennial Oak, facing Buttrick Hall
Stevenson Center, as seen from Buttrick Hall

The Vanderbilt campus is roughly fan-shaped (with the point at the corner of West End and 21st Avenues) and divisible into six sections, all of which are within walking distance from one another: the furthest distance on campus take about twenty-five minutes to walk.

Original campus

In the northeast corner of the campus (the "base" of the fan) is the original campus. The first college buildings, including Kirkland Hall, were erected here in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s. This section stretches from West End Avenue south to the Stevenson Center and west from 21st Avenue to Alumni Lawn.

The majority of the buildings of the arts and humanities departments of the College of Arts and Science, as well as the facilities of the Law School, Owen, and the Divinity School, are located in the original campus. Additionally, the Jean and Alexander Heard Memorial Library (known to alumni as the JUL, or Joint University Library) and Sarratt Student Center/Rand Hall can be found on the original campus.

Stevenson Center

Flanking the original campus to the south are the Stevenson Center for Science and Mathematics and the School of Engineering complex (Jacobs Hall-Featheringill Hall). Housing the Science Library, the School of Engineering, and all the science and math departments of the College of Arts and Science, save for psychology, this complex sits between the original campus and the Medical Center.

Medical center campus

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center itself takes up the southeastern part of the campus. Besides the various associated hospitals and clinics and the facilities of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, the medical center also houses many major research facilities.

Peabody campus

Directly across 21st Avenue from the Medical Center sits the campus of the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Due to their separate histories until the merger, the Peabody campus was configured in a radically different style than the original Vanderbilt campus. Whereas the latter has an unplanned organic design with buildings scattered throughout, Peabody campus was planned as a geometric design, similar to the Jeffersonian style of the University of Virginia. The campus is home to not only Peabody College but also the future Commons, where all freshmen will live together as part of the College Halls plan (see College Halls, below).

Central campus and Greek row

West of the original campus and the Medical Center, Greek Row and the bulk of Vanderbilt residence halls are found. From north to south, Carmichael Towers, Greek Row, Branscomb Quadrangle, and Highland Quadrangle house the vast majority of on-campus residents in facilities ranging from the double-occupancy shared-bathroom dorms in Branscomb and Towers to the apartments and lodges in Highland Quad.

This part of campus is newer than the others; Vanderbilt's westward growth did not start until the 1950s. This portion of campus was built by tearing down small single family houses and duplexes dating from the early 20th century, and so the area has significantly less green space than the arboretum on the original campus and is more indicative of the university's urban locale.

Athletics and recreation facilities

Memorial Gymnasium, Vanderbilt Stadium, Hawkins Field, McGugin Center, and all the other varsity athletic fields and facilities are to be found in the extreme west of campus. The Student Recreation Center, and its associated intramural fields, are located south of the varsity facilties

[edit] Arboretum

National Arboretum Plaque.

The oldest part of the Vanderbilt campus is known for its abundance of trees and green space, which stand in contrast to the surrounding cityscape of urban Nashville. At least one specimen of every tree that is indigenous to the state of Tennessee grows on campus.

One tree, the Bicentennial Oak between Rand Hall and Garland Hall, is certified to have lived during the American Revolution and is the oldest thing on the campus.

The main (original) campus was designated by the Association of Botanical Gardens and Aboreta as a national arboretum in 1988, a status that the university does not take lightly. One interesting consequence of this designation that any visitor to the campus will quickly notice is the length to which trees on campus are protected. Signs posted on the trees by various student groups are actually bound to the trees with wire instead of being nailed to the tree, as it is unlawful to cause damage to any tree in a national arboretum.

[edit] Student life

[edit] Organizations

The university recognizes nearly 400 student organizations, ranging from academic major societies and honoraries to recreational sports clubs, the oldest of which is the Vanderbilt Sailing Club.

There are religious groups like the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Hillel, the Reform University Fellowship, the Campus Crusade for Christ, and the Wesleyan/Canterbury Fellowship.

The campus radio station, WRVU, represents the student body by playing a range of music from bluegrass to choral.

There are also more than thirty service organizations on campus, giving students the opportunity to perform community service across the country and around the world, including the Vanderbilt-founded Alternative Spring Break.

[edit] Greek Life

Image:Vanderbilt Homecoming 2003.jpg
Vanderbilt's Homecoming Queen and King have consistently been members of Greek organizations; in 2003, Kappa Delta and Beta Upsilon Chi won.
As of spring 2004, 45% of the undergraduate student body was affiliated with one of 34 social Greek organizations. Specifically, 34% of men were members of fraternities and 55% of women were members of sororities. In the 1960s and 1970s the roster of recognized fraternities included a distinctive locally-based organization, PSK, which included a more diverse membership than typical of such groups.[citation needed] More recently, several new chapters have been colonized at Vanderbilt, demonstrating the continued demand for available memberships.

The local chapters are supported by active alumni bases that continue to involve former active members in both the life of the social organization and the life of the university. Many members of Vanderbilt's Board of Trust were members of Greek organizations.

[edit] Fraternities

National fraternities recognized by the Division of Student Life include:

Alpha Epsilon Pi Alpha Phi Alpha* Alpha Phi Omega<ref>APO is not administered through the Office of Greek Life, but (due to its dual service-based and social nature) through the Office of Student Organizations. It remains, however, a national fraternity (see Alpha Phi Omega) with a robust presence at Vanderbilt.</ref>
Alpha Tau Omega Beta Chi Theta Beta Theta Pi
Beta Upsilon Chi<ref>BYX is not administered through the Office of Greek Life, but (due to its dual social-religious nature) through the Office of Student Organizations. It remains, however, a national fraternity (see Beta Upsilon Chi) with a robust presence at Vanderbilt (see "Fraternity recruitment decreases slightly." The Vanderbilt Hustler, May 7, 2006, p. 1, col. 1).</ref> Delta Kappa Epsilon Kappa Alpha Order
Kappa Alpha Psi* Kappa Sigma Lambda Chi Alpha
Lambda Theta Phi Omega Psi Phi* Phi Beta Sigma*
Phi Kappa Psi Phi Kappa Sigma Pi Kappa Alpha
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Sigma Chi Sigma Nu
Sigma Phi Epsilon Zeta Beta Tau

* NPHC Greek Societies

In addition to the officially recognized fraternities and sororities, the Nu Society (an off-campus organization established by former members of Vanderbilt's chapter of Sigma Nu after that chapter lost its charter) maintains an active off-campus presence.

[edit] Sororities

The sororities represented on campus are:

Kappa Alpha Theta, 1904 Delta Delta Delta, 1911
Alpha Omicron Pi, 1917 Pi Beta Phi, 1940
Kappa Delta, 1949 Chi Omega, 1954
Alpha Delta Pi, 1978 Kappa Kappa Gamma, 1978
Alpha Chi Omega, 1982 Delta Gamma 2000

In addition to these national sororities, Lambda Theta Alpha is a local organization for Hispanic women that is present at Vanderbilt. The African-American sororities on campus are Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta.

[edit] Honor Code

Since the first classes began at Vanderbilt, the Honor System has served to strengthen the academic integrity of the university. Its principles were outlined in a famous quote by long-time Dean of Students Madison Sarratt:

Today I am going to give you two examinations, one in trigonometry and one in honesty. I hope you will pass them both, but if you must fail one, let it be trigonometry, for there are many good [people] in this world today who cannot pass an examination in trigonometry, but there are no good [people] in the world who cannot pass an examination in honesty.

As a part of their first act together as a class, each Vanderbilt class meets together at the Honor Code Signing Ceremony, where every member of the class pledges their honor and signs the code. The signature pages are then hung in the Student Center. The ceremony is one of only two occasions where a class will be congregated in a single place at the same time (the other being Commencement).

The Undergraduate Honor Council was formed to help enforce and protect the tradition of the Honor Code. Today, the Honor Council serves two simultaneous aims: to enforce and protect the Honor Code and to inform members of the Vanderbilt community about the Honor System.

[edit] Student housing

All undergraduate students not living with relatives in Davidson County are required to live on campus all four years to the extent that on-campus student housing facilities can accommodate them.

Therefore, in reality, approximately 80% of undergraduates—freshmen, sophomores, nearly all juniors and most seniors—live on campus. The remaining undergraduates join graduate and professional students in living off-campus. Student life at Vanderbilt is consequently heavily intertwined with campus life. However, with an additional 900 beds being created with the opening of the Commons in 2008 (see below), very few undergraduates will be granted permission to live off-campus.

The on-campus residential system is currently undergoing a radical change. The new system, announced by the administration in 2002, would change the current structure of quadrangle-based residence halls to a new system of residential colleges, to be called College Halls. Similar to the residential structures at Yale, Rice, Caltech, and Harvard, the new College Halls system would create residence halls where students and faculty would live together in a self-sustaining environment for growth with study rooms, cafeterias, laundry facilities, and stores.

The change is being made in the hope of fostering a better learning atmosphere for students living on campus, as well as making students less reliant on Greek life for social status. While there will still be Greek organizations, the College Halls system will establish additional social structures for those students who chose not to join a fraternity or sorority. Many students who are members of Greek organizations worry about the effect that the College Hall system will have on their organizations, but the administration has assured them that Vanderbilt remains committed to Greek life.

This project is well underway and is scheduled to be completed within the next twenty years. The first step in the College Halls system will be The Commons, a collection of ten residential halls on the Peabody campus that will house all first-year students beginning in the fall of 2008.

While the university currently houses freshmen in three separate and very distinct residential areas, it is hoped that The Commons will give first-year students a unified (and unifying) living-learning experience. In order to accommodate these ten residential halls, the university is in the process of renovating five existing Peabody dormitories and building five new ones.

[edit] Media

Chancellor Gee holding The Slant's hoax issue (posing as the "Huslter" [sic]) reporting his death

The Vanderbilt community produces media of all genres and in all formats at a prolific rate by students, alumni, and the faculty alike.

The Vanderbilt Register is the official newspaper of the university administration and faculty. Published once every two weeks, it does not publish opinion.

Exploration is the university's online research magazine. It publishes multimedia stories that explain campus research projects ranging from archeology to zoology, probe the motives that drive the modern-day explorers that perform these studies and describe the experiences of Vanderbilt students who become involved in actual scientific research.

In spite of the lack of an organized journalism curriculum, no less than nine editorially-independent media outlets are produced and controlled by students. Seven print publications, a broadcast radio station and a closed-circuit television station provide a forum for student opinion and issues. These divisions are organized and controlled by Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc. In addition, students at the Vanderbilt University Law School publish three law reviews; the flagship journal is the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Alumni produce fourteen publications, one for each school and one overall alumni publication: Vanderbilt Magazine. In addition, an electronic newsletter, .commodore, is produced.

[edit] Medical Center

Entrance to the Vanderbilt School of Medicine

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a vital component of the university.

  • Vanderbilt University Hosptial (VUH)
  • The Monroe Carell, Jr., Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital
  • Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
  • The Vanderbilt Clinic
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

In 2003, the medical center was placed on the Honor Roll of U.S. News and World Report's annual rating of the nation's best hospitals, placing it alongside other well-known medical centers, such as the Cleveland Clinic and the Duke University Medical Center.

[edit] Rankings and unusual research

Indeed, Vanderbilt has consistently received high marks from U.S. News. Vanderbilt currently ranks 18th in the nation among national research universities in the publication's college rankings.

In the U.S. News 2006 graduate program rankings, the Vanderbilt University Law School ranks 17th, Vanderbilt's Peabody College ranks fifth among schools of education, and Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management ranks 45th among business schools. (Though it has been argued that Vanderbilt's ranking is hindered by its relatively small size. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal recently ranked Owen second among "smaller" business schools.) U.S News ranked the university's School of Medicine 17th in the nation among research-oriented medical schools in its annual ratings of best American educational institutions.

Additionally, Vanderbilt is ranked first in the nation in the fields of special education and audiology. It is also ranked in the top ten (currently at number seven overall) for its graduate department of religion, and in particular it garners even higher ratings for its work in religion and personality and homiletics.

As with any large research institution, Vanderbilt investigators work in a broad range of disciplines. However, among its more unusual activities, the university has institutes devoted to the study of coffee and of bridge (the game, invented by a great-grandson of the Commodore). In addition, in mid-2004 it was announced that Vanderbilt's chemical biology research may have serendipitously opened the door to the breeding of a blue rose, something that had long been coveted by horticulturalists and rose lovers.

[edit] Myths

Vanderbilt's long history has given birth to several myths and urban legends. Among some of the more well known:

  • The school does not take Labor Day as a holiday because, as part of the terms of his original endowment, Cornelius Vanderbilt forbade the school to recognize any holiday that celebrated organized labor or the working man.
  • Classes have been canceled only once, when a bull invaded the campus sometime late in the nineteenth century.
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt originally wanted to use his fortune to build an enormous statue of himself. His wife convinced him to donate the money to the school instead.
  • Robin Williams' character in Dead Poets Society is based on Professor of Philosophy John Lachs. In fact, while the film's screenwriter is an alumnus of Vanderbilt, the character is based on a high school teacher from Montgomery Bell Academy.

[edit] Athletics

Vanderbilt fields teams in 16 varsity sports (6 men's and 10 women's). Men's and women's tennis and men's and women's basketball are traditionally the school's strongest sports, with the more recently founded women's lacrosse and bowling programs as well as the long-standing men's baseball program experiencing moderate national success. After enjoying success in the first half of the 20th century, the football program has struggled in more recent times.

Further information: Vanderbilt Commodores football

The school is a charter member of the Southeastern Conference, in which it is the only private school, in Division I of the NCAA. Additionally, the school is a member of the American Lacrosse Conference (women's lacrosse), as the SEC does not sponsor that sport. Conversely, Vanderbilt is the only league school not to field teams in softball and volleyball, two women's sports that are sponsored by the SEC.

The baseball team qualified for the NCAA Super Regionals in 2004 and had the nation's top recruiting class in 2005 according to Baseball America. <ref name='BaseballAmerica'>Template:Cite web </ref>

[edit] Mascot

Vanderbilt's intercollegiate athletics teams are nicknamed the Commodores, in honor of the nickname given to Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his fortune in shipping.

The actual term commodore was used by the Navy during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. A commodore was the commanding officer of a task force of ships, and therefore higher in rank than a captain but lower in rank than an admiral. The closest parallel to this now-defunct rank is rear admiral lower-half.

Since the term was used most during the late nineteenth century—and because it was then that Cornelius received his nickname—Vanderbilt's mascot is always portrayed as a naval officer from the 1880s, complete with chops, cutlass, and nineteenth-century naval regalia.

[edit] School Colors

The school colors are black and gold. Opinions vary as to the reason for selecting black and gold as the colors for Vanderbilt's teams. Some say the original colors were orange and black, given to the university by Judge W.L. Granbery of Princeton.[citation needed] Many say that Commodore Vanderbilt's legacy was called upon to develop school colors for the university that bears his name: black for the magnate's control of coal and gold for his money. [citation needed]

When questioned about the subject in the 1930s, the few remaining members of the school's first football squad from 1890 did not recall why they suddenly began appearing in black and gold. Whatever the source of the colors, by 1892, the Commodores were known by the colors that the Vanderbilt faithful still wear today.[citation needed]

[edit] Traditions and rivalries

  • Rivalries. Vanderbilt's primary rival in almost every sport is their in-state nemesis, the University of Tennessee. In addition, a heated rivalry has been prevalent between Vandy and Ole Miss in football during the past few years. The schools play each other every year since the SEC has designated the two schools as each others cross-division "permanent rival". Recently, Wake Forest University has been seen as a potential rival as the two schools have agreed to a seven-game football series.
  • Southern football flavor. One aspect of Vanderbilt football (as well as football at most of the SEC schools) is the propensity of many students, especially those who are members of social fraternities and sororities, to dress in jacket and tie (for men) and sundresses (for women) for the games. Pre-game tailgates at the fraternity houses and fields surrounding the stadium remain popular, as well. Football games are often as much a social opportunity as they are a sporting event.
  • V-U Hand Sign. Formed by extending the thumb, index, and middle fingers of the right hand, the resulting shape forms a "V" and "U". This is a relatively recent development compared to other Vanderbilt traditions.
  • Gameday traditions. In a conference that embodies college spirit and tradition, Vanderbilt holds its own: the "Commodore Creed" in the football locker room; the "Corridor of Captains" that honors Vanderbilt's athletics history; the Star Walk: with fans, cheerleaders, and the Spirit of Gold Marching Band; the Star V on the field by the band; the Touchdown Foghorn from a U.S. Navy battleship, guarded by members of the Vanderbilt Naval ROTC Battalion; Mr. Commodore, the mascot; and the Victory Flag that is hoisted high over Dudley Field after home wins. In addition, arrival at football games is often a "fluid" event: many students (and others) enjoy tailgating or parties prior to kickoff, resulting in the 2nd quarter being the start time for many fans. Win or lose, many Vanderbilt students remain in the stadium after the final buzzer to sing the alma mater.
  • Fight song. The Vanderbilt fight song, Dynamite, was written by student Francis Craig in 1924. The song references the vigor with which Vanderbilt plays and the enthusiasm of the university's fans, who cheer regardless of the outcome of the game.

[edit] Facilities

Campus athletic facilities include:

[edit] Recent changes in athletics at Vanderbilt

Restructuring. Unique in NCAA Division I, Vanderbilt does not administer intercollegiate athletics separately from other student organizations, but as a part of the university's Division of Student Life, which oversees all student organizations and activities. When the change was instituted in September 2003, Chancellor Gordon Gee cited a need to reform college athletics, returning the emphasis to the student half of student-athletes.

Men's soccer dropped. In January 2006, Vanderbilt's administration announced that the varsity men's soccer program would be eliminated at the end of the academic year, introducing varsity women's swimming in its place. The announcement was met with hostility from students, fans, and the team itself, whose coach, Tim McClements, had been named Coach of the Year by the Missouri Valley Conference in 2005. Vice Chancellor for Student Life and University Affairs David Williams said that the decision was made because of budgetary reasons, the desires of Southeastern Conference officials, Title IX equality requirements, facility use (Memorial Gymnasium has a pool), and the overall fit with the student body.

[edit] Notable faculty and alumni

Among the notable people who have attended or graduated from Vanderbilt are Robert Penn Warren, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and writer and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1944–1945); Muhammad Yunus, notable economist, founder of the Grameen Bank and the concept of microcredit, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2006; United States Supreme Court Justice James Clark McReynolds; Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States (who attended but did not graduate from the Law School); Tipper Gore, activist and former Second Lady of the United States; David Brinkley, notable broadcast journalist on NBC and ABC; Richard Kyanka, creator of humor website Something Awful; Molly Sims, model and actress; Lamar Alexander, Governor of Tennessee and U.S. Senator; James Patterson, mystery author; Dinah Shore, popular singer; and Amy Grant, Contemporary Christian musical artist.

Three former members of the faculty, biochemist Stanley Cohen, physiologist Earl Sutherland and pioneer molecular biologist Max Delbruck, and two alumni, Muhammad Yunus and Stanford Moore, have been honored with the Nobel Prize.

[edit] References

[edit] Notes


[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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  • World Wizzy is a static snapshot taken of Wikipedia in early 2007. It cannot be edited and is online for historic & educational purposes only.