Caro Gurrola

Written by Caro Gurrola

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


When it comes to prestigious universities, Columbia University is undoubtedly one of the most renowned and enigmatic institutions in the world. Located in the diverse and vibrant city of New York, Columbia University has a rich history and a reputation for academic excellence that spans over 250 years. With its beautiful campus and top-notch faculty, Columbia University attracts students from all corners of the globe who are eager to immerse themselves in a world-class education.

In this article, we will delve into 17 intriguing facts about Columbia University that highlight its unique character and contributions to the field of higher education. From its impressive list of notable alumni to its iconic landmarks, there is much to discover and celebrate about this remarkable institution. So, let’s unlock the secrets and unravel the enigma of Columbia University together!

Key Takeaways:

  • Columbia University, the oldest in New York, boasts a stunning campus, world-class faculty, and notable alumni like Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s a top-ranked Ivy League institution with a diverse student body.
  • With a historic library system, commitment to public service, and unforgettable campus traditions, Columbia University offers students a wealth of resources and a vibrant New York City location for an inspiring academic experience.
Table of Contents

The Oldest University in New York

Columbia University, founded in 1754, holds the distinction of being the oldest university in New York, making it a historic institution with a rich academic legacy.

Ivy League Institution

Among the eight prestigious Ivy League universities, Columbia University stands tall as one of the most esteemed centers for higher education and research.

World-Class Faculty

Columbia University boasts a remarkable faculty, which includes Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, and other respected scholars, ensuring students receive top-notch education.

Stunning Campus

Nestled in the vibrant Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, Columbia University offers a picturesque campus adorned with beautiful architecture and breathtaking views.

Academic Excellence

Renowned for its rigorous academic programs, Columbia University offers a wide range of disciplines and majors, allowing students to explore their interests and pursue their intellectual passions.

Significant Research Contributions

Columbia University stands as a global leader in research, contributing to groundbreaking discoveries in various fields, including medicine, engineering, social sciences, and more.

Global Reach

With international programs and research collaborations across the globe, Columbia University fosters a diverse and inclusive community, attracting students and scholars from every corner of the world.

Wealth of Resources

From state-of-the-art libraries and laboratories to world-class museums and cultural institutions, Columbia University provides its students with access to an unparalleled range of resources.

Notable Alumni

Columbia University has produced a remarkable roster of alumni, including renowned figures such as Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Langston Hughes.

Strong Global Rankings

Columbia University consistently ranks among the top universities worldwide, testament to its academic excellence, innovative research, and distinguished faculty.

Diverse Student Body

With students from over 150 countries and all 50 states, Columbia University prides itself on fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment.

The Pulitzer Prize Connection

The Pulitzer Prizes, one of the most prestigious honors in journalism and literature, are awarded annually at Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus.

Historic Library System

Columbia University’s library system is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the United States, housing millions of books, manuscripts, and rare documents.

Wealth of Student Organizations

From academic clubs to cultural associations and everything in between, Columbia University offers numerous student organizations catering to a wide range of interests and passions.

Inspiring New York City Location

Located in the heart of New York City, Columbia University provides students with endless opportunities to explore the vibrant metropolis and engage with its diverse cultural offerings.

Commitment to Public Service

Emphasizing the importance of public service, Columbia University encourages students to actively engage in volunteer work and contribute to the betterment of society.

Unforgettable Campus Traditions

From the annual tree lighting ceremony during the holiday season to the vibrant Homecoming Week festivities, Columbia University has a rich tradition of events that bring students together.


In conclusion, Columbia University is not just a prestigious Ivy League institution, but also a fascinating place filled with rich history, notable alumni, and remarkable achievements. From its founding in 1754 to its present-day influence as a global research powerhouse, Columbia University continues to shape the future of education and innovation.As we have explored 17 enigmatic facts about Columbia University, we have uncovered captivating stories and intriguing details that highlight its exceptional standing in the academic world. Whether it’s the secret underground tunnel system, the iconic Low Memorial Library, or the diverse range of Nobel laureates that have called Columbia home, there is no shortage of wonders to discover.Columbia University embodies a commitment to excellence, diversity, and social progress, making it a truly exceptional institution. Its contributions to academic advancement, groundbreaking research, and cultural diversity cannot be overstated. As we bid farewell to this exploration, one thing is certain – Columbia University’s legacy will continue to shape the world for generations to come.


1. When was Columbia University established?

Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College and is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the United States.

2. How many Nobel laureates has Columbia University produced?

Columbia University has produced an astounding 101 Nobel laureates, including notable figures such as Barack Obama, Toni Morrison, and Martin Chalfie.

3. Does Columbia University have any famous alumni?

Yes, Columbia University boasts an impressive list of notable alumni, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, among many others.

4. Are there any secret tunnels at Columbia University?

Yes, there is a secret underground tunnel system that connects many of the buildings on Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus. It was initially built for utility purposes but now serves as a fascinating piece of the university’s history.

5. How large is the campus of Columbia University?

Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus spans 299 acres, providing a picturesque and expansive environment for students, faculty, and staff.

6. What is the significance of the Low Memorial Library?

The Low Memorial Library is Columbia University’s iconic centerpiece and serves as a symbol of the university’s commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence.

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