The Mid-Atlantic state of Maryland was one of the original thirteen colonies and the seventh to ratify the U.S. Constitution. In fact, its tradition of higher education dates back to the earliest days of American settlement. Indeed, 1696 saw the founding of King William’s Preparatory School in the capital city of Annapolis. It is this institution that would eventually go on to become St. John’s College, one of the most reputable private liberal arts schools in the nation. St. John’s is distinguished by a rule that prevents any of its class sizes from exceeding 20 students.
As it happens though, St. John’s did not receive its official collegiate charter until 1784. While this gives the school a long and storied tradition, it is actually not technically the first university established in the state. That title belongs to Washington College, which was established in 1782 and remains in operation today.
Certainly, the state’s most reputable institution of higher learning is the Johns Hopkins University. Established in 1876, Johns Hopkins is widely regarded as among the most important research centers in the world. Indeed it was the first of its kind in the United States. A private college of nearly 21,000 enrollees, Johns Hopkins’ community of researchers have contributed to a number of groundbreaking achievements, including the invention of the modern pacemaker and active participation in the Civil Rights Movement. In addition to granting degrees to no fewer than 36 future Nobel Prize winners (including President Woodrow Wilson), Johns Hopkins’ men’s lacrosse team lays claim to a remarkable 44 national titles.
Johns Hopkins is one of 22 private non-profit colleges in the state. But Maryland also specializes in enormous public campuses, particularly its community college system. To wit, Prince George’s Community College educates 40,000; Anne Arundel Community College boasts more than 53,000 enrollees; Montgomery College teaches 60,000; and the Community College of Baltimore County holds a roster of 70,000. Not to be outdone among four-year schools, the University of Maryland University College is home to about 69,000 across its various campuses.
It is perhaps not unrelated that a state with such a broad cross-section of students in its post-secondary system, as well as a 62.3% rate of six year graduation across its public colleges, also enjoys the highest median household income in the U.S.
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