Colonial College

Chartered in 1766 as all-male Queen’s College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the school, affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church, was renamed Rutgers College in 1825 in honor of trustee and Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Henry Rutgers.

In the mid-19th century, Congress established the nation’s land-grant colleges in response to the Industrial Revolution. In 1864, Rutgers prevailed over Princeton to become New Jersey’s land-grant institution, tasked with offering educational access to a wider range of students who would be the new workforce for America’s expanding businesses, factories, and farms.

Modern University

Access for women arrived in 1918, when the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass Residential College) was founded. In 1945 and 1956, state legislative acts designated Rutgers as The State University of New Jersey, a public institution. The University of Newark (now Rutgers University–Newark) joined Rutgers in 1946, followed by the College of South Jersey (now Rutgers University–Camden) in 1950, which gave Rutgers a statewide presence.

In 1989, Rutgers University–New Brunswick was invited to join the Association of American Universities, making Rutgers’ flagship one of the top 62 research universities in North America. In 2013, a state legislative act transferred to Rutgers much of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, creating Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and dramatically expanding Rutgers’ mission to include academic medicine and wide-ranging patient care. In the same year, Rutgers University–New Brunswick joined the Big Ten Academic Alliance, a consortium of 14 leading universities that includes all members of the Big Ten® Conference.

Today, with more than 70,000 students, Rutgers is one of the most significant and diverse comprehensive research universities in the nation.

Old Queens Bell Donated by Henry Rutgers

Centuries of Rutgers History

Explore a timeline of Rutgers through the Years. Relive our 250th anniversary celebration, which culminated on November 10, 2016.

Rutgers: A 250th Anniversary Portrait

Our School Book

With more than 250 years of tradition, Rutgers continues to meet the challenges of each new generation. Rutgers: A 250th Anniversary Portrait, a limited edition commemorative book, celebrates this auspicious milestone with an eclectic mix of historical narrative, archival artifacts, and personal stories and memories from alumni.