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Thread: Ivy League membership

  1. #1 Ivy League membership 
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    Seven of the Ivy League schools were founded before the American revolution - one each for the seven northern colonies. Cornell was founded after the civil war. What criterion was used to determine membership?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Seven of the Ivy League schools were founded before the American revolution - one each for the seven northern colonies. Cornell was founded after the civil war. What criterion was used to determine membership?
    I believe that the term is a relatively recent one, invented to describe a sports conference. As to what criteria were the basis for membership, I think geographic proximity and a general reputation for academic excellence were pretty much it.


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    Sports plays a role, but the term is used for other things such as lawyer prestige.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Sports plays a role, but the term is used for other things such as lawyer prestige.
    Indeed it is, but the reputation for scholarly excellence predates the term "Ivy League". The latter is of relatively recent coinage, and has its origins in sports. Wikipedia seems to agree.
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    https://theprince.princeton.edu/prin...-byDA-txt-txIN

    The above (1936) appears to be a description. It seems to be based on Cornell's football opponents. Note that Syracuse and Colgate were omitted from the designation while Brown was not considered a "member".

    Personal note: I was a student at Cornell in the late 40's when the term was still informal and had 7 members.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    https://theprince.princeton.edu/prin...-byDA-txt-txIN

    The above (1936) appears to be a description. It seems to be based on Cornell's football opponents. Note that Syracuse and Colgate were omitted from the designation while Brown was not considered a "member".

    Personal note: I was a student at Cornell in the late 40's when the term was still informal and had 7 members.
    Nice find, mathman. That article provides a contemporary account of the League's formation. I still wonder about the answer to your original question, though: Which folks made the decision? And who picked those folks? Is it "turtles all the way down?"

    And I never would have guessed that you could have been a college student in the '40s -- you write much younger. (And I mean that as a compliment!)
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    I believe the term was originated by sportswriters of that era. These teams were considered major powers of that era.

    As for myself, I surf through many forums, particularly math and science. It keeps me in fairly good shape mentally, but going on 91, physically is a different story.
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