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School Overview

    • Founded:
    • 1901
    • Size:
    • Small (<5000 students)
    • Type:
    • Private non-profit
    • Category:
    • Universities, colleges
      Research institutes
    • Specialization:
    • Health Sciences School 1
    • Climate:
    • Temperate
    • Location:
    • 1230 York Avenue, New York City, New York, United States, 10065
    • Phone:
    • +12123278000
    • Email Address:
    • N/A
    • Setting:
    • Urban

The History of Rockefeller University

The Rockefeller University was founded in June 1901 as The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research—often called simply The Rockefeller Institute—by John D. Rockefeller, who had founded the University of Chicago in 1889, upon advice by his adviser Frederick T. Gates and action taken in March 1901 by his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Greatly elevating the prestige of American science and medicine, it was America's first biomedical institute, like France's Pasteur Institute (1888) and Germany's Robert Koch Institute (1891). The Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic organization, founded in 1913, is a separate entity, but had close connections mediated by prominent figures holding dual positions.

Academic Highlights

For its first six decades, the Institute focused on basic research to develop basic science, on applied research as biomedical engineering, and, since 1910—when The Rockefeller Hospital opened on its campus as America's first facility for clinical research—on clinical science. The Rockefeller Hospital's first director Rufus Cole retired in 1937 and was succeeded by Thomas Milton Rivers. As director of The Rockefeller Institute's virology laboratory, he established virology as an independent field apart from bacteriology.

Life in Rockefeller University

School Ranking


Notable Alumni

  • David Albert, physicist and philosopher
  • David Baltimore, recipient of Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine in 1975 for the discovery of reverse transcriptase. Has served as president of both the Rockefeller University and the California Institute of Technology.
  • Michael Bratman, Durfee Professor of philosophy at Stanford University.
  • Gerald Edelman, recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, social commentator and author of the 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America.
  • Alice F. Healy, psychologist, College Professor of Distinction at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Bertil Hille, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington, Lasker Award winner who specializes in cell signaling by ion channels, neurotransmitters and hormones.

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