Chartered as Queen's College on November 10, 1766, Rutgers was the
eighth institution of higher education founded in the colonies prior to
the American Revolution. King George III of Great Britain granted the
charter in response to a petition presented by the education-minded
Dutch settlers of New Jersey and New York. While no copy of the
original document has survived, a second charter granted in 1770
provides for the "education of youth in the learned languages, liberal
and useful arts and sciences." The first students were enrolled in 1771
to work under a single tutor, and the first student to graduate
received his degree in 1774.
In the years immediately
following its founding, Queen's College continued to carry out the
charter's provisions, except for brief periods during the Revolutionary
War when the two tutors then in residence departed for civil and
military service. These were hectic years for the institution as the
British troops made periodic forays into the New Brunswick area,
forcing faculty and students to find temporary quarters at various
points in Somerset County. Continental troops were active in the
vicinity as well. On the knoll now occupied by Old Queen's, the
university's central administration building, Colonel Alexander
Hamilton commanded a battery of artillery that harassed the British
during Washington`s retreat from New York in 1776.
college's early history, religion played a major role. All forms of
recreation were forbidden on the Sabbath, and students were confined to
their rooms throughout the day except for required attendance at
morning and evening church services. They wore black academic robes on
such occasions, as they did to all official college functions. Students
were required to doff their hats upon meeting the president or a member
of the faculty.
In 1825, the name of the school was changed to
Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, a veteran of the
Revolution, "as a mark of respect for his character and in gratitude
for his numerous services" to the institution.
Rutgers is the
only institution in the country to include in its heritage the colonial
college of the eighteenth century, the land-grant tradition of the
nineteenth century, and the development of the modern state university.
With its present enrollment of more than 11,000 students, Rutgers
College is the largest residential college in the university.
Rutgers College, committed to maintaining its long-standing tradition
as a liberal arts institution, has as its mission the promotion of
excellence in undergraduate education. The fellows of Rutgers College
have developed a distinctive educational design based on breadth and
depth in traditional liberal arts and sciences disciplines.
General education is that part of the curriculum required of all
Rutgers College students-the common denominator of the liberal studies
experience. It is knowledge that continues to provide students with the
possibilities for common educated discourse, and that continues to
prepare them for citizenship and for leadership in a democratic and
Rutgers College students are encouraged
to explore many different subjects. Its graduates are expected to (1)
be able to communicate in the English language; (2) possess the
quantitative skills needed to comprehend modern society; (3) be
acquainted with the scientific method and have a knowledge of at least
one natural science; (4) be familiar with basic concepts of social
science and have a knowledge of at least one of its disciplines; (5)
have had exposure to the humanities through the study of the works of
creative individuals; (6) have a knowledge of at least one non-Western
culture; and (7) have studied a foreign language.