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New Brunswick/Piscataway Undergraduate Catalog 2005-2007 Rutgers College History and Aims of the College  

History and Aims of the College

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.

In the 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 pluralistic society.

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.

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