New York University
New York University (NYU) is a major research university in New York City. Its primary campus is in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1831 by Albert Gallatin and a group of prominent New Yorkers, NYU has become the largest private, not-for-profit university in the United States with a total enrollment of 39,408. The University comprises 14 schools, colleges, and divisions, which occupy six major centers across Manhattan.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Schools and colleges
- 4 Faculty and staff
- 5 Facilities and monuments
- 6 Student life
- 7 Athletics
- 8 NYU in film and literature
- 9 Trivia
- 10 Notable NYU alumni and faculty
- 11 Further reading
- 12 Notes
- 13 External links
New York University was founded in 1831 by a group of prominent New Yorkers — the city's landed class of merchants, bankers, and traders — who felt that New York needed a university designed for young men of the middle class. Gallatin described his motivation in a letter to a friend: "It appeared to me impossible to preserve our democratic institutions and the right of universal suffrage unless we could raise the standard of general education and the mind of the laboring classes nearer to a level with those born under more favorable circumstances."
To the school's founders, the classical curriculum offered at American colleges seemed out of touch with the needs of the working classes; a more modern and practical education was needed. Institutions in Paris, Vienna, and London were beginning to experiment with this new form of higher learning, where students began to focus not only on the classics and religion, but also modern languages, philosophy, history, political economy, and physical science, so that students might become merchants, mechanics, manufacturers, architects, and engineers. This new school would also be non-denominational, unlike Columbia College, which had the support of the Anglican Church and offered sons of the wealthy a classical education.
The institution itself was modeled after the University of London. The school would provide education to all young men at a reasonable cost, would abandon the traditional "classical" curriculum, and would be financed privately through the sale of stock. The establishment of a joint stock company would prevent any religious group or denomination from dominating the affairs and management of the institution.
On April 21, 1831, the new institution was incorporated as the University of the City of New York by the New York State Legislature, though it had been known as New York University since its inception. The school was officially renamed to New York University in 1896. Notable among NYU's founding fathers is Albert Gallatin, after whom one of the University's schools is named. Gallatin proposed an English-based curriculum that did not require learning Latin or Greek. In the beginning, the University focused primarily on teaching modern languages, engineering, agriculture, and other pragmatic subjects. In a move that was considered bold and innovative at the time, students could enroll for regular course work leading to a diploma, or they could take individual courses according to their own means, desire, and convenience, a philosophy that predated modern-day schools of continuing education. In 1832, NYU held its first classes in rented rooms in four-story Clinton Hall, located near City Hall. In 1835, the School of Law, NYU's first professional school, was founded.
Clinton Hall, which sat in the heart of New York's bustling and noisy commercial district, would only be NYU's home for a few years as administrators looked uptown for a more suitable and permanent academic environment. More specifically, they looked towards then-bucolic Greenwich Village. Land was purchased on the east side of Washington Square and, in 1833, construction began on the "Old University Building," a grand, Gothic structure that would house all of the school's functions. Two years later, the university community took possession of its permanent home, thus beginning NYU's enduring (and sometimes tumultuous) relationship with the Village.
While NYU has had its Washington Square campus since its inception, the University purchased a campus at University Heights in the Bronx, as a result of overcrowding on the old campus. NYU's move to the Bronx took place in 1894, spearheaded by the efforts of Chancellor Henry Mitchell MacCracken, who is credited with turning the school into a modern university. The University Heights campus was far more spacious than its predecessor, and housed the bulk of the University's operations, along with the undergraduate College of Arts and Science (University College) and School of Engineering. With most of NYU's operations moved to the new campus, the Washington Square campus declined, with only the Law School remaining until the founding of Washington Square College in 1914. It would become the downtown Arts and Sciences division of the university.
In 1900, NYU founded its undergraduate School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance, which eventually became the Leonard N. Stern School of business, to provide professional training for young people in the business world. It was also in 1900 that women matriculated at NYU for the first time. By 1936, they will make up fifteen percent of the student body.
During the 1960s and 1970s, feeling the pressures of imminent bankruptcy, then-President of NYU, James McNaughton Hester, negotiated the sale of the University Heights campus to the City University of New York, which took place in 1973. While University Heights alumni fought to keep the campus, some suggest that the sale was a "blessing in disguise" as the Uptown campus was losing money and the management of two campuses was financially impossible for NYU. Chancellor Sidney Borowitz said on the matter, "There was so much pressure from Uptown alumni to preserve the Heights that it was only under the threat of possible financial ruin that the campus could be sold. With two campuses, NYU could never have prospered as it has." After the sale of the University Heights campus, University College merged with Washington Square College. NYU's School of Engineering was shut down, and most of its students transferred to Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.
As at other college campuses nationwide, NYU became a hotbed for activism during much of the 1960s and 1970s. Groups like the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized students to demonstrate throughout New York and to support community voter registration and legal counseling. By 1965, student concerns began to change focus, concentrating on the escalating American involvement in Vietnam. Washington Square Park was the setting for protests on tuition hikes, civil rights, repressive government actions, the Vietnam War, and women's rights.
During the 1990s, NYU became increasingly more and more popular to students from outside of the New York City area. To meet the demand for housing and classroom space, the university began purchasing old office buildings, hotels, and even nightclubs. In the 1980's, NYU launched a billion-dollar campaign which was spent almost entirely to update facilities under the leadership of President John Brademas. In 2003, the university launched a 2.5-billion dollar campaign for funds to be spent especially on faculty and financial aid resources.
Washington Square has been a center of the cultural life in New York since the middle of the 19th century. Artists of the Hudson River School, the country's first prominent school of painters, settled around Washington Square at that time. Early tenants of the Old University Building were Samuel F.B. Morse and Daniel Huntington. Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and Walt Whitman contributed to the artistic climate or at least sought refuge in the surrounding bars.
In the 1870s, sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French lived and worked near the Square. By the 1920s, Washington Square Park area was nationally recognized as a center for artistic and moral rebellion. Notable residents of that time include Eugene O'Neill, John Sloan and Maurice Prendergast. In the 1930s, the abstract expressionists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning as well as the realists Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton had studios around Washington Square or the Village. From the 1960s on, Square and the Village became one of the centers of the beat and folk generation, when Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan settled there.
The university is widely considered to be one of the top major research universities in the United States. NYU counts 20 Nobel Prize laureates, 9 National Medal of Science recipients, 12 Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 Academy Award winners, several Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winners and many MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowship holders among its past and present graduates and faculty.
Recent rankings rate NYU programs among the best in the country. (Note that rankings are often highly disputed - see College and university rankings). NYU's Stern School of Business undergraduate program is consistently ranked among the top 5, Stern's MBA program among the top 15 programs in the country (# 13 U.S. News,# 9 Financial Times 2005, # 13 Business Week, #8 Economist, # 3 by research contribution), Stern's part-time M.B.A. program is ranked #1 by U.S. News. The School of Law has consistently been ranked among the top five U.S. law schools by U.S. News. NYU's Tisch School of the Arts is considered to be a premier school for studies in the performing arts and its film program is consistently ranked among the top in the U.S.
The Graduate School of Arts and Science philosophy department has been ranked # 1 in the U.S.. The Graduate School's Political Science department is ranked in the top 20 annually, and its International Relations program is ranked 10th nationwide. NYU's Steinhardt School of Education is ranked among the Top 15 Schools for education and teaching . The Wagner Graduate School of Public Service has the highest-ranked Health Policy and Management program in the country. The Courant Institute is also considered to be one of the best in the country, ranking #5 in citation impact, and #1 in applied mathematics.
NYU has also grown highly selective in its undergraduate admissions in recent years, in light of the growing popularity of an "urban" education and the perceived decrease in crime in New York City. NYU has seen a continuing trend of increasingly greater numbers of applicants, lower acceptance rates, and higher average SAT scores for freshmen. In 2000, applications to NYU increased by more than 300 percent from 1991, while the acceptance rate declined from 65 percent to 29.3 percent. As of 2004, the undergraduate acceptance rate was 35 percent . Such a trend of increasing selectivity is expected to continue at NYU as it improves its standards, its faculty, and its resources. In 2004 and 2005, NYU was ranked by the Princeton Review as the leading "dream school" (first choice when factors such as the school's selectivity are not considered) among high school seniors. In 2004 and 2005, NYU had the largest undergraduate applicant pool of all private universities in the U.S.
NYU also has one of the largest and most diverse international student populations of any university in the United States, with nearly 4,000 students representing over 100 different countries. The university is also a very "national" school, with over 60% of its incoming freshmen coming from outside of the Tri-State Area. In addition, 15% of students come from one of New York City's five boroughs, and 25% come from the surrounding 17 counties. Nevertheless, NYU's main feeder schools reflect a strong New York City influence; the top five are Stuyvesant High School, Benjamin Cardozo High School, Brooklyn Technical High School, Townsend Harris High School, and the Bronx High School of Science. The 2004 top five competitor schools among students who declined NYU's offer of admission were Boston University, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Cornell University, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Schools and colleges
New York University is comprised of 14 divisions, colleges and schools:
With the sale of the University heights campus in 1973, the following divisions were closed or merged with other institutions:
- Daniel Guggenheim School of Aeronautics 1927 - 1973
- School of Engineering 1894 - 1973 (merged with Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute)
- Washington Square College (merged with College of Arts and Science)
- University College (merged with College of Arts and Science)
Faculty and staff
Numerous noted scholars have taught at New York University since its inception in 1831, among them several Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship winners, many Guggenheim Fellows and several members of the National Academy of Science. See also List of New York University People. The university is frequently criticized for its hiring of adjunct teaching staff over full-time tenure track professors. The university has significantly fewer full-time staff than other universities of the same size. Adjuncts are preferred over full-time teaching staff because of the lower cost, and the fact that the university does not have to provide them benefits. The threat of a strike by the adjunct professors in the spring of 2004 resulted in a tentative agreement offering adjuncts some benefits and wage increases over a multi-year period.
NYU's aggressive recruitment of renowned professors and high-potential graduates has been a large factor in the University's growing prestige. It has often been involved in bidding wars to lure top faculty in an attempt to boost its academic reputation. NYU is remarkable in that it went from being a near-bankrupt commuter school to becoming one of the country's most prestigious research universities, in large part due to the fact that, instead of building its endowment, the University spent its money on building new facilities and hiring more faculty.
Facilities and monuments
Most NYU buildings are scattered across a roughly square area bounded by Houston Street to the south, Broadway to the east, 14th Street to the north, and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) to the west. The majority of NYU buildings surround Washington Square Park. In the past, there has often been tension between NYU and other neighborhood residents and businesses over real estate issues. In spite of this, NYU is the third largest landowner in the city (the largest being the City itself, the second being the Catholic Church).
Washington Square campus
Since the late 1970s, the center of NYU is its Washington Square campus in the heart of Greenwich Village. One of the city's most creative and energetic communities, the Village is a historic neighborhood that has attracted generations of writers, musicians, artists, and intellectuals. Notable facilities on Washington Square are the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, designed by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster, who also designed several other structures, such as Tisch Hall, Meyer Hall and the Hagop Kevorkian Center. Historic landmark buildings include the Silver Center (formerly known as "Main building"), Brown Building (formerly called the "Asch building", site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire), Judson Hall, which houses the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center , Vanderbilt Hall, the historic townhouse row on Washington Square North, the Kaufman Management Center and the Torch Club, the NYU dining and club facility. Just a block south of Washington Square, NYU Village spreads into Greenwich Village, including faculty and graduate student appartments in the Silver Towers, designed by I.M. Pei, where an enlargement of Picasso's sculpture Bust of Sylvette (1934) is displayed.
Around Washington Square, NYU also hosts several houses dedicated to international cultures, such as the Deutsches Haus, La Maison Française, the Glucksman Ireland House, the Casa Italiana, the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center and the Hagop Kevorkian Center
In the 1990s, NYU started to build up a second community around Union Square, where Carlyle Court, University Hall, Palladium Residence Hall, Coral Towers, Alumni and Third North Residence Halls can be found.
NYU theatres and clubs
NYU operates a number of theatres and performance facilites which are frequently used by the university's music conservatory and Tisch School of the Arts but also external productions. All productions are generally open to the public. The largest performance spaces at NYU are the Skirball Theatre (850 seats) and the Eisner-Lubin Auditorium (560 seats) at the new Kimmel Center. Recently, the Skirball Theatre saw imporant speeches on foreign policy by John Kerry and Al Gore as well as the recording of the season finale of The Apprentice 3. Of fame is also NYU's Provincetown Playhouse on MacDougal Street, where Eugene O'Neill among many others launched his career and the Frederick Loewe Theatre. Catalyst to many careers in music (Bruce Springsteen started here among many others) was the famous nightclub The Bottom Line on West 4th street in the basement of the Steinhardt School building. Under the protest of the music scene and many fans, the club was evicted by NYU after being unable to meet the increased rent payments for several months.
The Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, built between 1967 and 1972, is the largest library at New York University and one of the largest academic libraries in the United States. Designed by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster, the 12 story, 39 000 m² (425 000 square feet) structure sits on the southern edge of Washington Square Park and is the flagship of a nine-library, 4.5 million volume system that provides students and faculty members with access to the world's scholarship and serves as a center for the University community's intellectual life. Bobst Library houses more than 3.3 million volumes, 20 thousand journals, and over 3.5 million microforms; and provides access to thousands of electronic resources both on-site and to the NYU community around the world via the Internet. The Library is visited by more than 6 500 users per day, and circulates almost one million books annually.
In late 2003, Bobst Library was the site of several suicides. Two students jumped from the open air crosswalks inside the library, crashing to the marble floor below. Both later died from their injuries. After the second suicide, NYU installed glass windows on each level to prevent further jumping. These deaths were the first among a rash of jumping deaths at NYU in 2003 and 2004. In 2003, Bobst Library was also in the news for being the home of a homeless student who took permanent residence at the Library since he could not afford student housing.
Washington Square Arch
Despite being public property, the Washington Square Arch is the unofficial symbol of NYU, expanding the 5th avenue axis into Washington Square Park. The arch was designed by Stanford White in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration in New York City. Originally of wood and papier mache, it was rebuilt as a massive marble and concrete structure from 1890-1895. Today, thousands of NYU graduates march through the arch into Washington Square park to participate in the annual commencement exercises. The arch was renovated in a $2.7-million restoration project from 2002-2004.
Over the last few years, NYU has developed a number of new facilities on and around its Washington Square Campus:
The Kimmel Center for University Life gives students, faculty, alumni, and staff at NYU the space to come together as a community for major events, ceremonies formal and informal, and artistic performances of all kinds. Named for benefactors Helen and Martin Kimmel, the center also houses the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the Rosenthal Pavilion, the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, and the Loeb Student Center.
- Furman Hall 
Furman Hall was named after NYU Law alumnus Jay Furman (JD '71). It includes classroom space, student meeting areas, the Law School clinical program, faculty and administrative offices, and faculty residences. The new building is located on West Third Street between Sullivan and Thompson streets, south of Washington Square Park. It totals 170,000 gross square feet. The building’s architect is Kohn Pederson Fox Associates PC. NYU worked closely with the Greenwich Village community to integrate the new building into surrounding architecture. Reconstructed elements of two historic buildings were incorporated into the new facade, one of which was occupied by poet Edgar Allan Poe.
- Life Science Facility 
In 2005, NYU anounced the development of a new life science facility on Waverly Place. The facility will house laboratories and related academic space for the life sciences and will be the first NYU science building developed since the opening of Meyer Hall in 1971. The new facility will be created through the renovation of three existing buildings at 12 - 16 Waverly Place whilst preserving the original, existing facades.
Medical and other campuses
The main NYU Medical Campus is located at the East River water front at 1st Ave. between 30th and 34th street. The campus hosts the Medical School, Tisch Hospital and the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. Other NYU Centers across the city include the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute, the NYU Downtown Hospital and the Bellevue Hospital Center. NYU's Ehrenkranz School of Social Work operates branch campus programs in Westchester County at Manhattanville College and in Rockland County at St. Thomas Aquinas College. NYU maintains a research facility in Sterling Forest, near Tuxedo, New York, which houses several institutes, notably the Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine.
There is also a Midtown Campus located at 11 West 42nd Street
Unlike many other universities, NYU maintains its own international facilities in several countries. Most notable is the 57-acre campus of NYU Florence at Villa LaPietra in Italy, bequeathed by the late Sir Harold Acton to NYU in 1994.
- NYU in Florence at Villa LaPietra in Florence
- NYU in London
- NYU in Paris
- NYU in Prague
- NYU in Berlin
- NYU in Ghana
- NYU in Madrid
Dormitories at New York University are unique in that many are converted apartment complexes or old hotels. While some are directly in the WSC area, others are as far away as the financial district. Due to NYU's lottery system, where a student receives one point for every semester they live in campus housing, and because freshmen are traditionally placed in the halls closest to the main campus area, most of the students who live in dorms located off-campus are sophomores. The university operates its own transit system to transport these students, via bus or trolley, to campus. Some students, however, feel that this independently run transit system is inconvenient and opt to utilize the New York Subway system.
There are currently twenty-one buildings in the New York University undergraduate housing community. Undergraduate students are guaranteed housing for the duration of their tenure at NYU, and many students choose to stay "on campus." There is, however, a large contingent of students that live off campus . It is difficult for a student to re-enter housing once he or she has left the system as space is limited. One student, allegedly unable to afford the steep housing rates, began to live in Bobst Library. The student attracted a small amount of notoriety, earned the nickname Bobst Boy, and his story was covered in the Washington Square News; New York University's daily student newspaper. The student has since reached a deal with the university and has received housing.
Almost all of the residence halls have a laundry room that is open to resident students twenty-four hours a day. The price of using these facilities varies from dorm to dorm, and the administration has been criticized by the student body for inflated rates at Water Street, the only dormitory that is not entirely owned by New York University. All of the dorms are governed by the Inter-Residence Hall Council (IRHC), which is an umbrella student council organization. Each hall elects student representatives to the IRHC, and these representatives meet with one another to form committees and vote on an executive board. The goal of this group is to create programs for university students and to act as a liaison to university administration.
NYU's location in Greenwich Village — a vibrant and creative neighborhood that has attracted generations of artists, writers, intellectuals, and musicians — provides a unique perspective in which to study. The Village — and the rest of New York City — acts as an extension of NYU's campus. Being that NYU's "campus" is a patchwork of buildings and structures across much of the Village, it is indeed an "urban university" that has embraced the city as an essential element of the academic experience. NYU is largely a reflection of the population of New York City, having a mostly progressive and liberal-minded student body. According to the Princeton Review, NYU ranks second in the nation in its acceptance of gays and lesbians.
That said, NYU is often criticized for its lack of a "campus life" and it has been said that the University lacks a strong sense of community, particularly amongst undergraduates. This fact was put into perspective when a string of six highly publicized suicides took place at (or around) the University during the 2003-2004 academic year. NYU responded by offering free counseling to all enrolled students and installing glass walls to enclose the balconies at Bobst Library, where two of the suicides took place. They have begun installing locks on all windows in buildings with many stories, as well as restricting access to balconies in dorms.
While the university is trying to shed its image as a commuter school, NYU currently has few support systems in place for the large proportion of its student body (approximately 25 percent) that does commute. On the other hand, New York City itself has so many active communities that some students feel there is no need to participate in campus life. Nevertheless, NYU's varied clubs, organizations, and activities are available to those who seek them out. Membership in Greek organizations is low; only nine to eleven percent of the student body is a member of either a fraternity or a sorority. In 2004, NYU unveiled its new Kimmel Center for University Life, on the south side of Washington Square, which includes a 1,022-seat performing arts center (the Skirball Center for Performing Arts), space for student clubs and activity programming, and student lounges.
NYU's sports teams are called the Violets and its school mascot is the Bobcat. Almost all sporting teams participate in the NCAA's Division III and the University Athletic Association, except for men's volleyball, which competes in the Eastern Collegiate Volleyball Association. The fencing team is Division I, because NCAA fencing only has one division. The National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA) was founded by NYU freshmen Julia Jones and Dorothy Hafner. The school's official colors are purple and white. NYU does not have a football team.
NYU has won one NCAA Division III national championship. In 1997, the women's basketball team, led by head coach Janice Quinn, won a championship title over the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. NYU had a football team and competed in Division I athletics until the university's Bronx campus and its athletic facilities were sold in the 1970s.
Students at New York University also compete in a number of club sports, including badminton, baseball, softball, equestrian, martial arts, and triathlon. The Coles Sports and Recreation Center serves as the home base of several of NYU's intercollegiate athletic teams, including basketball, wrestling and volleyball. This building is considered the hub of recreational and athletic needs for the university's students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It also offers around 130 classes, serving approximately 10,000 members of the university community.
Due to limited space in Coles, however, many of the university's varsity teams have to play their home games away from Coles. The soccer teams play their home games at Van Cortlandt Park and the track and field teams have their home meets at the New Balance Track and Field Center. The golf team does not have a home course in Manhattan, but they often practice at Chelsea Piers Athletic Facility.
In 2002, the University opened the Palladium Athletic Facility as the second on-campus recreational facility. It's amenities include a rock climbing wall, a natatorium, basketball courts, weight training, cardio rooms, and a spinning room. The Palladium, erected on the site of the famous New York night club bearing the same name, is home to the university's swimming, diving, and water polo teams.
NYU in film and literature
NYU has been portrayed or been the scene in several films and novels:
- Kramer hires Darren, an intern from NYU, to help him run "Kramerica Industries" on season 9 of Seinfeld (episode 158 - "The Voice").
- Jerry is interviewed by a reporter from the NYU student newspaper (and mistakenly believed to be gay) on season 4 of Seinfeld (episode 57 - "The Outing").
- Finch in the American Pie films is an NYU student
- NYU Professor interviewed in "Supersize Me" documentary.
- Denis Fleming in the film Can't Hardly Wait is an NYU student
- Alvy Singer in Annie Hall is an NYU student
- A Friend of Dorothy is set at NYU
- The Freshman, 1990, is set at NYU with Matthew Broderick portaying an NYU Film student
- The Apprentice 3 season finale was shot at the NYU Kimmel Center
- Scenes from The Exorcist were filmed at NYU Medical Center
- The film Greenwich Village Writers: The Bohemian Legacy was filmed at NYU, starring several NYU Professors
- In the film In Good Company, Alex Foreman (Scarlett Johansson) is an NYU student , just moving into Hayden Residence Hall off Washington Square Park
- Dr. Guy Luthan played by Hugh Grant in Extreme Measures is an NYU Med Student
- Henry James´ novel Washington Square is set around the NYU area. The novel has been subject to several movie and TV adaptions (1997, 1975, 1956)
- Rose of Washington Square, 1939 and 13 Washington Square, 1928, directed by Melville W. Brown, are centered around the NYU Campus.
- Tibby in the novel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants attends NYU.
- Nicolas Cage attended NYU in college in the movie The Family Man and ends up as a prominent investment banker.
- In 1941, the graduating class included three later Nobel Prize laureates (Julius Axelrod, Gertrude B. Elion and Clifford Shull), Olympic Gold Medalist John Woodruff, sportscaster Howard Cosell and sociologist Morris Janowitz.
- Until 1973, NYU owned pasta company C.F. Mueller in a trust fund.
- When designing Bobst Library, Tisch and Meyer Halls, Philip Johnson and Richard Foster also set up a master plan for a complete redesign of the NYU Washington Square Campus. However, it was never implemented.
- At the age of 16, David Copperfield was teaching a course in magic at NYU.
- In 1840 John William Draper, professor of chemistry and natural history and president of the Medical faculty, produces one of the earliest daguerreotype portraits of the human face. Draper also produces one of the first photographs of the moon.
- The contractors of the Old University Building used prisoners from Sing Sing to cut the marble. This hiring was the catalyst for the famous Stonecutter's Riot.
- NYU's Tisch School of the Arts has produced more Academy Award winners than any other institution in the U.S.
- The graduating class of 1955 at NYU included: Nobel Prize laureate Eric R. Kandel, Grammy Award winner Fred Ebb, the CEO of MetLife John J. Creedon, Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, the founders of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Allan L. Schuman, CEO of Ecolab and three members of Congress, Ambro, Guarini, Meskill.
- There are two versions of the origin of the university colour, violet. Some believe that it may have been chosen because violets are said to have grown abundantly in Washington Square and around the buttresses of the Old University Building. Others argue that the colour may have been adopted because the violet was the flower associated with Athens, the center of learning in ancient Greece. Today, the NYU violet is registered with the Color Association of the United States as Mayfair Violet, 17575.
- Although the nickname for the University’s sports teams has always been The Violets, the need was felt for a mascot to appear at athletic competitions. In the 1980s, the Department of Athletics began using a Bobcat as the mascot. The choice was derived from the abbreviation then being used by the Bobst Library computerized catalogue — short: Bobcat. 
- The university logo, the upheld torch, is derived from the Statue of Liberty, signifying NYU's service to the city of New York. The torch is depicted on both the NYU seal and the more abstract NYU logo, designed in 1965 by renowned graphic artist Ivan Chermayeff. There is also a real silver torch designed by Tiffany and Company of New York (a gift from Helen Miller Gould in 1911) which is passed at Commencement from a senior faculty member to the youngest graduating student.
- The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, took place in the Brown Building which today is part of the NYU campus. More then hundred garment workers died or jumped to their deaths after a fire broke out whilst all exit doors were locked. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
- Washington Square Park was used as a mass grave during the cholera pestilence in New York. Today, the skeletons of more than 20,000 victims still remain buried underneath the square. Until 1819, the square (then known as potter's field) was used for executions. The great English elm in the northwest corner of the park, also known as hangman's elm, was supposedly used for executions as well.
- The class of 1977 included: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, INSEAD Dean Gabriel Hawawini, Pulitzer-, Oscar- and Tony Award winner John Patrick Shanley, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld and Cathy Minehan, Federal Reserve Chairman Boston
- Theo Huxtable (played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner) in The Cosby Show graduated from NYU in the series finale.
Notable NYU alumni and faculty
As of the end of 2004, New York University counted more than 350,000 alumni around the world. The New York University Office for Alumni Affairs oversees the various activies, such as class reunions, local NYU club gatherings, NYU alumni travel and career services. For a list of notable alumni, see List of New York University People
- Dim, Joan, The Miracle on Washington Square. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2000.
- Frusciano, Tom and Pettit, Marilyn New York University and the City, an Illustrated History. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997.
- Gitlow, Abrahm L., NYU's Stern School of Business: A Centennial Retrospective, New York, NY: NYU Press, 1995
- Harris, Luther S., Around Washington Square : An Illustrated History of Greenwich Village,Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003
- Jones, Theodore F.New York University, 1832 - 1932, London, H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1933
- Lewis, Naphtali, Greek papyri in the collection of New York University, Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1968
- Tonne, Herbert A. (ed.), Early Leaders in Business Education at New York University, National Business Education Association, Reston, Va., 1981
- Potash, David M., The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University: A History. New York: NYU Arts and Sciences Publications, 1991.
- ^ William H. Honan. "A Decade and a Billion Dollars Put New York U. in First Rank". New York Times. March 20, 1995. http://www.nyu.edu/financial.aid/nytimes1995-03-20.pdf
- ^ Kenneth R. Weiss. "NYU Earns Respect". Los Angeles Times. March 22, 2000. http://www.nyu.edu/financial.aid/latimes2000-03-22.pdf
- ^ Laura Turegano. "Fundraising Beyond U.S. Borders - NYU: A Success Story". onPhilantrophy, December 13, 2001. http://www.onphilanthropy.com/prof_inter/pi2001-12-13a.html
- ^ http://www.nyu.edu/alumni/newsletter/0105/campaign.html
- ^ Albert Amateau. "N.Y.U. opens new building for law school". The Villager. Volume 73, Number 37, January 14 - 2, 2004 http://www.thevillager.com/villager_37/nyuopensnew.html
- ^ Lincoln Anderson. "N.Y.U. to use Waverly buildings for its new life sciences center". The Villager. Volume 74, Number 28, November 17 - 22, 2004 http://www.thevillager.com/villager_81/nyutousewaverly.html
- ^ http://www.homelessatnyu.com/
- ^ http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_newsroom/daily_plants/daily_plant_main.php?id=10606
- ^ http://www.nyu.edu/nyutoday/archives/18/11/PageOneStories/applications.html
- ^ http://www.nyu.edu/ir/factbook/2004-2005/totalugrad.php
- ^ John Kerry's speech at NYU http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2004/09/iraq-040920-kerry01.htm
- ^ Al Gore's speech at NYU http://www.moveon.org/gore-speech.html
- ^ http://www.nyu.edu/ir/demographics/demographics0405/total_enrollment.php
- ^ http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=content&id=16715&repository=0001_article
- ^ http://www.nyu.edu/nyutoday/archives/16/01/Stories/LaPietra.html
- ^ http://www.thevillager.com/villager_46/nyucopeswith.html
- ^ http://www.nyu.edu/athletics/clubs/mascots/history.html
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