Top 15 Oldest and Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US
Top 15 Oldest and Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US
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There are many rankings of the most beautiful university campuses in the United States., after a period of survey and research, has selected a list of the 15 most beautiful and oldest university campuses in the United States.

These university campuses with ancient beauty have captivated generations of American and international students from around the world. Every building, fountain, library, and even old trees are steeped in historical value.

1. The College of William and Mary

Photo: 13newsnow
Photo: 13newsnow

Established: 1693

Named for the British co-monarchs who were reigning at the time and who gave the university its royal charter (the first for any university in the US), the College of William and Mary is the oldest university in the American South and was the first school of higher education in the US to install an honor code of conduct for students.

Ranked 601-650 in the world, the college is also placed within the global top 450 for arts and humanities. It has educated three US presidents, including Thomas Jefferson.

2. Rollins College

Top 15 Oldest and Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US
Photo: orlandoweekly

Established: 1885

Rollins University (Winter Park, Florida) has been in operation since 1885. The university is 28 hectares wide with full facilities for students' learning, research, activities, fun and entertainment with lecture halls. , science center, library, dormitory, sports center, theater. In addition, the green space and the location next to the lake make the school look peaceful and poetic.

3. Yale University

Top 15 Oldest and Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US

Established: 1701

Next on our list of the oldest universities in the US, Yale University is currently ranked 17th in the world and was originally founded as a ‘Collegiate School’. It was renamed Yale in 1718 in recognition of a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. Also that year, Yale moved to its current location in New Haven, Connecticut, having previously been located in Clinton, Saybrook, and Wethersfield.

Yale was originally established to train ministers in theology and sacred languages, but by 1777 the school’s curriculum began to include humanities and sciences, and in 1861, Yale was the first US university to award a Ph.D. It currently ranks fourth in the world for law studies, and sixth for arts and humanities.

4. Princeton University

Photo: ivyachievement
Photo: ivyachievement

Established: 1746

Not only is Nassau Hall Princeton University’s oldest building, but it’s also an important historic landmark in America. That’s because it was the venue for American Congress’s meetings for several months. Prior to this, the building was completed in 1756, for the College of New Jersey. At this time, it was the largest stone building in all of America. And during the Revolutionary War, the land around Nassau Hall was the scene of a bloody battle, which caused significant damage to the structure.

In fact, the Battle of Princeton was a major turning point of the War, with George Washington triumphing over the British occupying Nassau Hall. Today, Nassau Hall serves as the administrative office of Princeton’s president and as a meeting place.

5. Moravian College

Photo: youvisit
Photo: youvisit

Established: 1742

Moravian College traces its roots back to Bethlehem Female Seminary, which was founded in 1742 by 16-year-old Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf, the daughter of Count Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, who was the benefactor of the fledgling Moravian communities in Nazareth and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The seminary was the first girls’ boarding school in the U.S.

Around the same time that the Bethlehem girls’ school was established, a boys’ school was opened in the same town and another opened a year later in nearby Nazareth. These boys’ schools merged in 1759 to form Nazareth Hall and in 1807, a men’s college called the Moravian College and Theological Seminary was established.

In 1863, both the men’s school and the Bethlehem Female Seminary were chartered to grant baccalaureate degrees.

In 1913, Bethlehem Female Seminary changed its name to the Moravian Seminary and College for Women and in 1954, the schools finally merged to form Moravian College — the Moravian Theological Seminary maintained a closely related but academically distinct identity as a graduate school of theology.

6. Bryn Mawr College

Top 15 Oldest and Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US
Photo: brynmawr

Established: 1740

Bryn Mawr University in Pennsylvania is considered one of the most beautiful schools in America thanks to its Gothic architecture. The school was designed based on the Cambridge University prototype. In addition, all buildings in the dormitory are named after Welsh landmarks.

7. The University of Delaware

Photo: whyy
Photo: whyy

Established: 1743

The University of Delaware began its existence as a theological school in New London, Pennsylvania. The school moved to Newark, Delaware, in the 1760s and was renamed Delaware College in 1843. The University of Delaware now operates several campuses across the state and became the first university in America to offer a study abroad program in 1923.

In 1843 the school had its name changed once again, this time to Delaware College and it officially became the University of Delaware in 1921. The university became a coeducational institution in 1945 after merging with the nearby Women’s College of Delaware.

Although the school is a privately governed university, it receives public funding for being a land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant, and urban-grant state-supported research institution.

8. Lewis & Clark University

Established: 1867

Lewis & Clark University in Portland, Oregon, is located on Palatine Hill. Established in 1867, up to now, the school still retains its close-to-nature beauty with old trees and wide lawns. In addition, Lewis & Clark also has historic buildings such as the Frank Manor area or the Roger lecture hall.

9. Columbia University

Photo: usnews
Photo: usnews

Established: 1754

Columbia University dates back to 1754 when it was founded as King’s College by a royal charter from King George II of England. While Columbia University is the last entry on this list, the school claims that it is the fifth oldest university in the United States; Columbia is the oldest institute of higher learning in the state of New York.

From the beginning, Columbia University has been a distinguished school, drawing high caliber students and nurturing their pursuit of knowledge. For example, in 1767 Columbia established the first American medical school that granted an M.D. degree.

Although the school was growing and drawing in some of the colonies’ greatest minds, Columbia suspended instruction when the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1776. British loyalists were kicked out of the school and the American rebels seized the school and renamed it Columbia College.

10. Brown University

Photo: usnews
Photo: usnews

Established: 1764

Brown has always prided itself on a spirit of openness and inclusion, as evidenced by the school's decision to become the first Ivy League school to accept students of all religious persuasions. One of the first universities in New England, the school was initially located in Warren, Rhode Island, but soon moved to Providence in 1770. Media mogul Ted Turner, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and political scion John F. Kennedy Jr. are just a few notable Brown alumni.

11. College of Charleston

Photo: scpictureproject
Photo: scpictureproject

Established: 1770

The College of Charleston holds the distinction of being the oldest educational institution south of Virginia. While the American Revolution delayed its development, the school officially received its charter in 1785. In 1837, the school became the first municipal college in the nation as the city of Charleston, South Carolina, took on the responsibility for operating the institution. It's now under state control with enrollment increasing more than 1,000% since 1970.

12. Franklin & Marshall College

Photo: appworkshopinc
Photo: appworkshopinc

Established: 1787

Originally named Franklin College in celebration of the iconic American thinker Benjamin Franklin, this Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the school merged with Marshall College (named for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall) in the mid-19th century to become Franklin & Marshall College. Franklin College, the school became the first coeducational college in America all the way back in the 1700s, but soon after became a male-only institution and didn't go back to admitting women until 182 years later.

13. Georgetown University

Photo: vietnamembassy-bulgaria
Photo: vietnamembassy-bulgaria

Established: 1789

Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University is the oldest Jesuit and Catholic college in the country. Classes began in 1792 after John Carroll secured 60 acres for the school in 1789, and just over 40 students attended in newly established Georgetown College. Former President Bill Clinton took undergraduate classes and was named president of his freshmen and sophomore classes but did not win the election for the general student body. Since its founding, Georgetown has grown to comprise nine undergraduate and graduate schools, offering degree programs in 48 disciplines to more than 17,000 students from more than 130 countries. Georgetown is also home to the country’s oldest continuously running student theater troupe, largest student-run financial institution, a largest student-run business, and one of the oldest debating societies in the nation.

14. Sewanee University

Top 15 Oldest and Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US
Photo: duhocnamphong

Established: 1857

Sewanee University was founded in 1857 in Tennessee. The school is located in the mountains of the Cumberland Plateau. With an area of up to 53 km2, the large Gothic-style buildings seem to be nestled among the green forests.

15. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Photo: wikipedia
Photo: wikipedia

Established: 1789

Although the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is well-known for its successes in college basketball over the past several decades, the school made history for a different reason in 1789. UNC-Chapel Hill was the first public university in the country and the only public American postsecondary institution to award degrees in the 18th century. In fact, UNC got its famous “Tar Heel” nickname from workers who toiled in North Carolina’s pine forests and walked through the tar produced from burning pine boughs.

Now, it is the flagship campus of the 17 campuses that make up the University of North Carolina System, offering degrees in more than 70 courses of study through 15 colleges. UNC’s alumni and faculty include founders and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, three astronauts, nine World Cup winners, one U.S. President, one U.S. Vice President, 38 governors, and 98 members of Congress. Other notable alumni include 49 Rhodes Scholars, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and nine Nobel Prize laureates.


Let KnowInsiders walk through the universities that are named the most beautiful in the United States above. In this list, there are top schools in terms of quality and reputation such as Yale or Princeton.

Strolling under archways and long corridors, relaxing on the lawns, and discovering ancient books in the library will inspire students and encourage them to achieve well in their studies.

If you find a beautiful school, please leave a comment below!

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