Highlights of NU’s history

1850: On May 31, John Evans, Grant Goodrich, Henry W. Clark, Andrew Brown, Orrington Lunt, Jabez Botsford, Richard Haney, Richard H. Blanchard and Zodoc Hall meet above a hardware store at 69 W. Lake St. in Chicago and resolve to establish a university under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

1851: On Jan. 28, the Illinois Legislature approves NU’s Act of Incorporation, granting 36 trustees the power to administer the university’s business affairs, organize a faculty and grant degrees.

1853: On June 23, Clark Hinman named NU’s first university president.

1855: On Nov. 5, NU officially opens. Amendment to charter forbids sale of liquor within four miles of NU.

1859: Four students receive bachelor’s at first commencement.

1869: Trustees vote to admit young women to classes “under the same terms and conditions as young men.” Evanston resident Rebecca Hoag becomes first female to enroll at NU.

1873: Frances Willard becomes first dean of women when the Evanston College for Ladies merges with NU.

1874: Sarah Rebecca Roland is first woman to receive a degree from NU.

1879: Purple and gold adopted as the school’s colors.

1892: Purple adopted as official (and only) school color.

1896: Representatives from NU and six other Chicago universities create the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives to supervise intercollegiate sports among them. It becomes known as the Western Conference and, later, the Big Ten.

1900: Student dismissed for marrying while still an undergraduate.

1902: The Rock, originally a drinking fountain, given as a gift from the class of 1902.

1903: NU wins first of seven Big Ten football championships.

1912: “Go U Northwestern,” written by NUMB member Theodore Van Etten, premieres in season’s final football game.

1920: Purchase of site for Chicago campus authorized.

1923: The Montgomery Ward Memorial Building, the university’s medical and dental center in Chicago, is the first academic building in the United States to be a skyscraper.

1929: First Waa-Mu show.

1932: Merger of NU and University of Chicago proposed — and dismissed.

1939: The first-ever NCAA men’s basketball championship held in Patten Gymnasium.

1948: NU defeats California 20-14 in the Rose Bowl.

1963: Jacquelyn Mayer becomes NU’s first Miss America.

1970: From May 6 to 13, campus is shut down in protest of the Kent State shootings — the longest it has ever been closed.

1971: NU’s affirmative action program established.

1975: First Dance Marathon.

1995: Henry Bienen becomes university president. NU ranks third in the nation in football, wins Big Ten championship and loses to the University of Southern California 41-32 in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1996.

1996: Princess Diana visits NU.

2000: On May 31, NU commemorates the founder’s first meeting by dedicating an historical marker at the corner of Clark and Lake streets in Chicago’s loop.

NU Sesquicentennial Web site

Read more coverage from the Sesquicentennial Celebration