History of Ivy League Schools: Sports and Education

The Ivy League of American colleges and universities was founded in 1954 as an intercollegiate sporting conference. However, the eight schools that comprise this group are now most famous for their prestige, exclusivity and academic excellence, in addition to their success in sports. Harvard is the oldest and most prestigious, and shares a fierce rivalry with Yale. These, along with Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell, are all well-known for their sports teams, as well as their educational standards and their high profile alums. In this video, WatchMojo.com learns more about the Ivy League.
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These are the most prestigious schools in the world and from them emerged some of the most powerful people in the world. Learn more about the Ivy League.

Founded in 1954, the Ivy League is an intercollegiate sporting conference that includes eight universities and colleges in the northeastern United States. Despite their athletic excellence, none of the Ivies is allowed to administer athletic scholarships.

The term Ivy League more commonly refers to the academic success, competitive selection processes and prestigious reputations of these schools, as they are consistently ranked among the best schools in the world.

Harvard University


Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard is the oldest of all the colleges and universities in the United States, and is often considered the most prestigious. In academics, Harvard is best known for its Law, Business and Medical schools. The school boasts over forty varsity sports teams, and these are named the Harvard Crimson. Historically, Harvard has been successful at men’s football. However, the Crimson is also recognized for its rowing and men’s ice hockey. Harvard is intensely competitive with fellow Ivy League school, Yale.

Yale University


Found in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale boasts one of the largest libraries in the United States. As another of the top educational facilities in the country, Yale is known for its medical and law schools. In the sports world, Yale’s athletic teams are called the Bulldogs, and their mascot is a bulldog named Handsome Dan. The school’s men’s ice hockey program is the oldest surviving intercollegiate program of its kind.

The University of Pennsylvania


Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania was originally founded by Benjamin Franklin. It was one of the first institutions in North America to offer a number of different concentrations and majors at one school, and today it’s well-known for its Wharton Business School. Penn’s sports teams are called the Quakers, and have historically been honored for achievements in basketball and football.

Princeton University


This New Jersey university does not host a medical, law, or business school; however all of its programs are well-respected. Most undergrads at Princeton take part in sports at some level within the school. These athletes are known as the Tigers, and wear the school colors of orange and black. Like most of the Ivy League schools, football is one of the most important sports at Princeton, followed closely by lacrosse.


Columbia University


Columbia is found on the island of Manhattan and is the governing body that administers the Pulitzer Prize in journalism each year. In fact, the school is one of the top-rated journalism schools in the United States. Columbia’s sports teams are called the Lions, and they have produced a number of notable professional athletes, including baseball great Lou Gehrig. This establishment was one of the first schools to take up football and basketball, as well.

Brown University


Providence, Rhode Island’s Brown U is known as the most liberal and least formal of the Ivies. The Brown Bears sports teams are cheered on by their mascot, Bruno. One of the most prominent athletes to come out of this school was John Heisman, who is the namesake for the trophy awarded to college football’s most outstanding player.

Dartmouth College


Dartmouth is situated in Hanover, New Hampshire and is the smallest of the Ivy League schools. Part of the school’s unique education plan requires students to stay on campus during the summer of their sophomore year. It is known for its liberal arts school and for its Big Green athletic teams. Dartmouth’s baseball, sailing and cycling teams are all quite popular.

Cornell University


Ithaca, New York’s Cornell University is admired for its law and veterinary schools, as well as more technology-related majors. Cornell’s sports teams are nicknamed Big Red, and are very successful within the Ivy League. One of the school’s best sports is men’s lacrosse. Cornell is also known for its hockey, and boasts such NHL greats as Ken Dryden and Joe Nieuwendyk as alumni.
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