Its spires overlooking the city proudly, Vanderbilt University (or, Vandy and fans and alumni like to call it) has offered classes to students in Nashville since 1875. Although it started out with only 75 acres, today it boasts 330 acres of greenery. In the fall, the campus’s stunning orange leaves and sprawling green lawns are divine.
Like many men in the 1800s, the creators of Vanderbilt designed the college for males, but the school has always had female students. With its unique history, it comes as little surprise that Vanderbilt has many famous alumni, Al Gore among them.
As a private research institute, Vanderbilt employs the second largest number of workers in Tennessee, and it is ranked as a top 20 university by US News & World Report.
Things to Do at VU
Visitors to Vandy can check out the library to view the Special Collections and University Archives, which includes both the American Stories collection and the Book of Hours. The American Stories collection details various fights for freedom throughout history, while the Book of Hours is an illustrated fourteenth century manuscript depicting the religious habits of laypeople. The school's online databases also offer fascinating historical insight: the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies keeps records of every document pertaining to slavery—an invaluable resource for scholars and laymen alike.
Vanderbilt University also has campus tours designed mostly for prospective students. The casual visitor can admire the many beautiful sculptures on campus grounds or catch a Commodores football game at the local stadium, which seats roughly 40,000 people.
For more artistic visitors, Neely Auditorium, located by Alumni Lawn, showcases plays and other performances at night. The theater's season is comprised mostly of classics like Shakespeare and Euripides, but newer works find their way in occasionally. If nothing else, taking a walk on the campus grounds provides much enjoyment; the grounds are resplendent in greenery and picturesque iron fences.
Getting to Vandy
Vanderbilt University is 18 minutes away from Nashville International Airport, and 5-minute car ride will get you to the heart of Nashville. From the airport, you can drive a car to campus or simply take a bus and enjoy the scenery. Should you choose to take a car, you'll find good parking all along 21st Avenue. For one-time visits, the university requires no parking permit.