Located just five minutes from downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Since its founding in 1873, the university has served as a unique resource for the residents of Nashville. The private research university was established as a regional institution by the Methodist Episcopal Church with the intention of training ministers for service. An idea to build a central university in Nashville was put forward by Nashville bishop Holland McTyeire. For the first 40 years, the campus existed under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Now it is a self-governing institution under a board of trustees.
As the institution grew, more schools and departments were added. It gained national recognition after attaining university status in 1949. Situated on a beautiful 330-acre campus, the university embodies such academic units as the College of Arts and Science, Blair School of Music, Divinity School, School of Engineering, Graduate School, Law School, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Owen Graduate School of Management, and the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Providing an interdisciplinary environment for research and teaching, the university promotes a wide range of interdisciplinary centers and institutes. A scholars program, graduate programs in science and engineering, honors scholarships, and study-abroad programs are offered. The university library system includes the Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library, Central Library, Divinity Library, Alyne Queener Massey Law Library, Walker Management Library, Anne Potter Wilson Music Library, Peabody Library, and the Stevenson Library.
Among the library holdings:
Distinguished in medical education, research, and patient care, Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a major presence at the institution. In addition to the medical center, the campus boasts a fine arts gallery that illustrates the history of world art in its most creative and comprehensive aspects; the Kennedy Center Art Gallery, which exhibits art works by and about people with disabilities; and the Sarratt Gallery. Works of East Asian art, European Old Master paintings; African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian art, and artifacts from the Marjorie and Leon Marlowe Collection, are notable among the gallery exhibits. Known as the "Commodores," the athletic teams of Vanderbilt are members of the competitive Southeastern Conference in Division I of the NCAA. Athletic facilities include Memorial Gym, Vanderbilt Stadium, Hendrix Room, Soccer/Lacrosse Complex, Vanderbilt Track, Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center, Hawkins Field, and the Legends Club. Well known for its athletic programs, the campus fields 15 varsity sports for men and women.