Rutgers' history is the nation's history, a story that begins in the political maelstrom of colonial America; hurtles through the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, and two world wars; wrestles with social upheaval in the 20th century's latter half; and emerges in the fast-paced universe of today's global digital age. Chartered as Queen's College in 1766, the school-its colonial founders, teachers, and students-fought Revolutionary War battles while remaining loyal to a fledgling institution that struggled to keep its doors open during "times that try men's souls."
Out of Rutgers' fraught genesis sprouted the seeds that, in the course of the next 250 years, would yield the largest of all nine original colonial colleges-and the only one to become a flagship public research university, a land-grant university, and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. Over generations, Rutgers people have succeeded in advancing the institution, even in periods of crisis caused by war, economic hardship, rapid growth, and flagging governmental support.
This is the story of how a spirited college community, despite discomfiture and setbacks, always found the way to the next rung of the ladder, while serving New Jersey, educating many first-generation students, and becoming an institution as diverse as the state it serves. It is also the story of recent achievements at home and worldwide, and a consideration of how Rutgers may continue to thrive as the 21st century matures. Delve into this fascinating portrait of a great American university and discover why Rutgers has been revolutionary for 250 years.