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However, it was not until the founding of the College of New Jersey (the present Princeton University) across the Hudson River in New Jersey that the City of New York seriously consider founding a college.
In 1746, an act was passed by the general assembly of New York to raise funds for the foundation of a new college.
A 1787 charter placed the institution under a private board of trustees before it was renamed Columbia University in 1896 when the campus was moved from Madison Avenue to its current location in Morningside Heights occupying 32 acres (13 ha) of land.
The university is organized into twenty schools, including undergraduate schools such as Columbia College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies, as well as graduate schools such as Columbia Law School, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia Journalism School and Columbia Business School.
The college was officially founded on October 31, 1754, as King's College by royal charter of King George II, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. Johnson was succeeded in the presidency by Myles Cooper, a graduate of The Queen's College, Oxford, and an ardent Tory.
In the charged political climate of the American Revolution, his chief opponent in discussions at the college was an undergraduate of the class of 1777, Alexander Hamilton.
The college's enrollment, structure, and academics stagnated for the majority of the 19th century, with many of the college presidents doing little to change the way that the college functioned.
Instruction was held in a new schoolhouse adjoining Trinity Church, located on what is now lower Broadway in Manhattan.Prior to becoming the president of Columbia University, Butler founded Teachers College, as a school to prepare home economists and manual art teachers for the children of the poor, with philanthropist Grace Hoadley Dodge. Within the same year, the Division of Special Programs—later the School of Continuing Education, and now the School of Professional Studies—was established to reprise the former role of University Extension.While the School of Professional Studies only offered non-degree programs for lifelong learners and high school students in its earliest stages, it now offers degree programs in a diverse range of professional and inter-disciplinary fields.In the aftermath of World War II, the discipline of international relations became a major scholarly focus of the University, and in response, the School of International and Public Affairs was founded in 1946, drawing upon the resources of the faculties of political science, economics, and history.During the 1960s Columbia experienced large-scale student activism, which reached a climax in the spring of 1968 when hundreds of students occupied buildings on campus.