Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Travel: Universities

As we plan our travels, one of the things I often like to include is universities. Occasionally Judy rolls her eyes at this, but we've had some great experiences visiting them. In fact, she did a couple of posts on universities back in 2011 (see here and here). Sometimes I want to visit because they are known for great academics, or because they have great sports teams, or just because it is part of the landscape of the area we are visiting. Our visits are usually pretty short, just enough time to get a feel for the campus or to see the football stadium. Just for fun, as I address universities that we've visited, I will state where they are in the Academic Ranking for World Universities in 2016 (the ARWU).   

Ivy League

Some of the most prestigious schools in the world are part of the Ivy League in the northeastern U.S. The Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference, but the name goes beyond athletics and connotes academic excellence. Many of our leaders in politics and business come from these schools as well as studies and opinion leaders featured on the news. Visiting these schools gives us a context when these schools are mentioned. 

Columbia University in New York City, established as Kings College in 1754, is not far from Central Park, Times Square or Wall Street [ARWU = 9]. It is the ninth oldest college in the U.S. I can't imagine a more incredible place to put a university. One of our sons attends there now and we've been able to visit it several times. 
Columbia University is just east of the Hudson River on one side and just west of Central Park on the other side. 
Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, established in 1769, is out in the countryside and seems about as far away from things, relatively, as Columbia is close to things [ARWU = 201 to 300]. Beautiful old buildings and landscapes make it seem friendly and a peaceful place to be. It is very near where Joseph Smith was born and had his leg surgery
Dartmouth College
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was established in 1636, is the oldest college in the U.S., and may be the most famous and prestigious school in the world [ARWU = 1]. It was really quite exciting to walk the campus and think of the great minds and talent that have spent time there. 
Harvard University
Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, was established in 1701 and is the third oldest college in the U.S. [ARWU = 11]. It is the prettiest and most impressive campus we've visited in the U.S. and is only topped by Oxford University in England, in that regard, in our estimations. It reeks of history and money. 
Yale University
Buildings made out of this light colored stone dominate the campus of Yale. 
Yale feels very English.
Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, was originally founded in Elizabeth in 1746 as the College of New Jersey and is the fourth oldest college in the U.S. [ARWU = 6]. It moved to Princeton in 1756 and was renamed Princeton in 1896. Princeton also has a great aura about it: beautiful architecture, old buildings and grounds and a smaller town feel about it. 
Princeton University
George Washington is featured on a monument to the Battle of Princeton, fought here on January 3, 1777. 
I loved the openings and doorways on campus. 
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

The ACC is a collegiate athletic conference which currently has 15 member universities spread out over the eastern U.S.

The University of Virginia, or UVA, in Charlottesville, was established in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson and is the only U.S. university that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site [ARWU = 151 to 200]. We visited right after our visit to Jefferson's Monticello, also a UNESCO Site, and were taken by the genius of Jefferson.
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia with a Jefferson statue in front. 
University of Virginia
Florida State University, also known as FSU, started in 1851 in Tallahassee, Florida [ARWU = 201 to 300]. In 2013 we watched Florida State beat Auburn in the Rose Bowl for the national championship in football (its third overall). The next morning we had a flight from Ontario to Atlanta that was full of boosters for both Auburn and Florida State. A few days later we visited the Florida State campus and walked through the bookstore surveying all of the t-shirts and other memorabilia celebrating the national championship. 
This sculpture celebrates diversity at Florida State University.
Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana was founded in 1842 [ARWU = 201 to 300]. As a young boy I watched replays of their Saturday football games on Sunday morning and knew most of the players. In 1968, when I was age 11, my father took me to a football game at Notre Dame. They played Pittsburgh and beat them 49-0. I saw Joe Thiesmann start his first game at quarterback in place of the injured Terry Hanratty. 

Southeastern Conference (SEC)

The Southeastern Conference is a collegiate athletic conference situated in the southern U.S.

The University of Florida, or UF, is located in Gainesville, Florida and was founded in 1853 [ARWU = tie for 90]. We spent a night in Gainesville, but did not actually get to the campus. However, we did visit the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Yearling, located outside Gainesville near Orange Lake. She was a UF grad and gifted her home to the university.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home that was given to the University of Florida. 
The University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, was founded in 1844 in Oxford, Mississippi. We visited the campus, including a drive-by of the football stadium, made famous by Archie Manning, and visited Rowan Oak, the home of Nobel Laureate William Faulkner, which is owned by the university.

Texas A&M University, also known as TAMU and A&M, was founded in 1876 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in College Station, Texas. We drove through the campus, stopped at the football stadium, and visited the George Bush Presidential Library which is on campus. 
Kyle Field at Texas A&M
This sculpture outside the Bush Library commemorates the day the Berlin Wall came down. The horses represent the freedom of the human spirit. 
On the side of a campus building. 
Big Ten Conference (B1G)

The Big Ten is a collegiate athletic conference with universities primarily located in the upper Midwest. 

The University of Wisconsin - Madison, also known as UW and the University of Wisconsin, was founded in 1848 in Madison, Wisconsin [ARWU = 28]. I've spent three separate weeks at UW for continuing education at various points in my career. This last year, Judy came with me and we spent some time on campus and traveling nearby. The Chazen Museum of Art is on campus and has a nice art collection. 
Bascom Hall on Bascom Hill is the symbolic core of the University of Wisconsin campus and is at the opposite end of State Street from the Wisconsin Capital Building. 
The Wisconsin Capital Building in the distance as seen from the bottom of Bascom Hill. 
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities (I've never heard that name before, I've only ever heard it called the University of Minnesota)  was established as a college in 1869 and has campuses three miles apart in Minneapolis and in St. Paul and straddles the Mississippi River [ARWU = 33]. Judy's sister and brother-in-law live outside the Twin Cities and he got his PhD there. We visited the on-campus Frank Gehry designed Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum with them. 

This on-campus bridge crosses the Mississippi River near the Weisman Art Museum. 
The University of Nebraska - Lincoln, also known as Nebraska or NU, was established in 1869 in Lincoln [ARWU = 201 to 300]. When I was a boy Nebraska football was a really big deal. They won the national championship in 1970, and again in 1971, and I regularly watched them on television. So it was a thrill to me to drive up to Memorial Stadium and get a glimpse of the football field through one of the tunnels. We also visited the Nebraska State Capital Building while in Lincoln which is just a few miles away. 
Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska.
A view of the football field.
This flag reflects the recent mover from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. 
The University of Iowa, also known as Iowa, was established in Iowa City in 1847 [ARWU = 151 to 200]. Judy teaches English and has talked about the Iowa Writers' Workshop for years. It established the first creative writing degree program in the country in 1936 and has 17 Pulitzer Prize winners as graduates. We did the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk and did some walking around campus. 

Wallace Stegner, one of Judy's favorite authors, participated in the Writers' Workshop. This bronze plaque on the Literary Walk focuses on his great book, Crossing to Safety
This building was the first capitol building of Iowa, later donated to the University of Iowa. 
Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is a collegiate athletic conference with universities located in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and West Virginia. It was a football powerhouse when I was growing up, but lost one of its great football schools, the University of Nebraska, to the Big Ten a few years ago.

The University of Texas at Austin, also known as UT Austin or Texas, was established in Austin, Texas in 1881 [ARWU = 44]. It is known both for great academics and for a good football program. We visited the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum which is on campus and drove by the football field. The very tall and distinctive Tower, the center of campus, was the site of a shooting massacre in 1966, when Charles Joseph Whitman killed 14 and wounded another 32 while shooting from the Tower.
Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas at Austin. 
The Tower at the University of Texas at Austin. 
The University of Oklahoma, or OU, was founded in 1890 in Norman, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Like, Nebraska, OU was also a big-time football school when I was young, winning the 1974 and 1975 national championships. However, I never liked their coach, Barry Switzer. They were kind of the bad boys of college football. However, we visited the campus in 2014 and fell in love with it. It is right up there with some of the Ivy League schools for beautiful campuses. And their football stadium is over-the-top, with a Heisman garden across the street and five huge bronze statues, one for each of the Heisman Trophy winners that attended OU. 
The Bizzell Library and a statue of George Lynn Cross, the President of OU from 1943 to 1968. 
OU football stadium. 
Heisman Trophy winner statues. Billy Sims is to the right and the OU football stadium is also to the right. 
A 30 foot long bronze sculpture, Pastoral Dreamer, by David Phelps who got his MFA from OU in 1984. 
The University of Kansas, or KU, was established in 1865 in Lawrence, Kansas. KU is synonymous with basketball [ARWU = 201 to 300]. The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, was the first coach at KU. KU has won three national championships, has been the runner-up six times, and has been in the Final Four an additional five times. Wilt Chamberlain, one of the greatest to play the game, played his collegiate ball there. With all that, we did not see the basketball arena when we visited. We drove through the beautiful campus and did see the football stadium. 
Strong Hall, an administrative building on Jayhawk Blvd. 
The Jayhawk mascot.
The KU football stadium. Unlike basketball, football is a losing proposition at KU. 
PAC-12 Conference

The PAC-12 is a collegiate athletic conference with schools in the western U.S. 

The University of Oregon, also known as Oregon and OU, was founded in 1876 in Eugene [ARWU = 301 to 400]. In recent years, after years of football mediocrity, it has become known for its connection to Nike and the consistent tinkering with uniform combinations and a no-huddle, fast-paced offense. 
We visited Eugene for the sole purpose of seeing the OU football stadium. 
I found an open gate and was able to walk out onto the edge of the football field. Very impressive. 
Stanford University, also known as Leland Stanford Junior University, was founded in 1885 in Palo Alto, California [ARWU = 2]. It is known for its Ivy League level academics. My brother, David, attended when I was very young and I have always been proud of his achievement in getting in and graduating with an undergraduate degree from such a prestigious school. I recall that David was a student when Stanford boycotted a BYU basketball game because of the LDS Church stance on blacks and the priesthood. My father wrote to the President of Stanford about the issue and got a thoughtful written reply. Several years ago Judy and I flew to San Francisco and spent the day with my brother. He took us on a tour of the Stanford campus. 
Hoover Tower and the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, established by Herbert Hoover before he became President of the United States. 
Judy and David on the Stanford University campus. 
The University of California, Berkeley, also known as UC Berkeley, BerkeleyCalifornia and Cal, was founded in 1868 in Berkeley, California [ARWU = 3]. My brother got a masters degree from Cal and was there during the unrest of the Viet Nam era which lit up the campus in the late 60's and early 70's. It was fascinating to walk the campus with him and have him point out where protests occurred, etc. It was fun to be on a campus I have heard so much about all my life, although I was a little taken back by how plain the campus is compared to most of the other top university campuses we've visited.   
Judy and David on the Berkeley campus. 
University of California, Los Angeles, or UCLA, started as the southern branch of the University of California in 1919 [ARWU = 12]. Our son, Andrew, graduated from UCLA and we had an opportunity to visit the campus with him a number of times. Growing up I was awed by John Wooden and the Bruins basketball team. They won 10 national championships in 12 years from 1964 to 1975 and were undefeated four of those years. The campus is absolutely gorgeous. I've been to a number of UCLA football games at the Rose Bowl against Utah and BYU.

The University of Southern California, or USC or SC, was established in Los Angeles in 1880 [ARWU = 49]. I saw one USC football game at the Colosseum when they played BYU, but still need to walk through the campus.

The University of Utah, U of U, Utah or the U, was established in Salt Lake City in 1850 as the University of Deseret. It got its current name in 1892 [ARWU = 100]. The U has been a part of my life since I was young. My father taught there briefly and he had season tickets for football and basketball for many years. I got my undergraduate degree and a masters degree there and my wife got a masters degree there.

Other Universities in the U.S.

MIT, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is not an Ivy League school, but has the prestige of one [ARWU = 5]. It was established in 1861 and focuses on applied science and engineering.
A perfect sculpture for MIT.
NYU, or New York University, founded in 1832, is in the Greenwich Village area of New York City [ARWU = 29]. Earlier in my life I'd dreamed of attending and getting a masters degree in tax here. In Washington Square, situated in the middle of the campus, we watched multiple chess games going on at the same time and homeless people everywhere. In the streets surrounding it we ate Middle Eastern food for the first time, including, falafel, which my niece who'd lived in NYC suggested we try. This place is Diversity R' Us. 

Southern Methodist University or SMU was founded in Dallas, Texas in 1911. It used to be a football powerhouse and part of the Southwest Conference. BYU played them in what has been called the Miracle Bowl in 1980 when they had Craig James and Eric Dickerson, known as the pony express, as running backs. Later SMU got the NCAA death penalty for irregularities in their program and it destroyed their football program. SMU is now home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum which we visited.
The SMU campus.
A statue of mustangs, the SMU mascot.
Brigham Young University, BYU or the Y was established in Provo, Utah as Brigham Young Academy in 1876. Its name was changed to the current name in 1903 [ARWU = 401 to 500]. I went to school at BYU for a year and met Judy there. Judy got her undergraduate degree at BYU. I have attended many football games at the Y, including victories over Texas and over no. 1 ranked Miami when Ty Detmer was the quarterback. 

Willamette University in Salem, Oregon was founded in 1842. It is right next to the Oregon State Capital Building and is a school I considered attending for law school. I visited Oregon last year for the first time and enjoyed a walk around the campus and into the law school.
A building on the Willamette campus.
The Willamette University Law School.
Foreign Universities

The University of Oxford, or Oxford, is located in Oxford, England and was established around 1096. It is the oldest university in the English speaking world [ARWU = 7]. It is famous for its Rhodes Scholars and has a beautiful and old campus that oozes history. We took a train to Oxford from London and attended church in Oxford. The scenes of feasting at Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movies were filmed in one of the Oxford colleges.

The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 and is the oldest university in Denmark and the second oldest in Scandinavia [ARWU = tie for 30]. It is right next door to the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen's Cathedral, which has the original Christus statue by Thorvaldsen.
University of Copenhagen in Denmark. 
Heidelberg University in Germany was founded in 1386 at the direction of Pope Urban VI and is the oldest university in Germany [ARWU = 47]. Judy's mother attended school there after World War II and got a teaching degree before emigrating to the U.S. It was fun to visit and get an appreciation for where Judy's mother lived and studied. Heidelberg is a beautiful old town.
An area which includes Heidelberg University as seen from Heidelberg Castle. The bridge is over the Neckar River. 
The University of Helsinki is the oldest university in Finland, originally founded in Turku in 1640 as the Royal Academy of Turku, and moved to Helsinki in 1829 [ARWU = 56]. It shares part of the perimeter of Senate Square with Helsinki Cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. 
The University of Helsinki, seen from the steps of Helsinki Cathedral. 
Leiden University in Leiden, Netherlands, was founded in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange, and is the oldest university in the Netherlands [ARWU = 93]. 
A sculpture in a garden at the University of Leiden. 
Fun artwork on a building at the University of Leiden.
Lomonosov Moscow State University was founded in Moscow, Russia in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov. We really just saw it from a distance, but this building was very distinctive and stood out.
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Although university visits have never been a big part of our travel plans, they are an occasional add-on that provides variety and interest, particularly those that are in the top tier of academics and are regularly mentioned in the news. 


  1. I agree that Oklahoma University was one of the biggest surprises of our many university tours. Loved that campus. It's especially fun to see universities in foreign countries. I especially loved visiting the university in Heidelberg and trying to picture Mom there.

  2. It's fun to see these all listed together. Quite the variety.