The Ivy League has become synonymous with academics and prestige, but the history of the term is rooted in the eight member schools' athletic past. No one is exactly sure where the name Ivy League originated. Some theorise that the Ivy is actually a misnomer and the league was originally calls the IV League because it consisted of four schools: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth.
The term "Ivy League" came about in 1954, when the NCAA athletic conference for Division I was formed. At the time, the elitism of these schools was really due to their prestige in the realm of sports like basketball. Although the term "Ivy League" was not created until the 1950s, many of these schools were in existence as far back as 1936, when John Harvard became the first benefactor of Harvard University. The school is located in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
Yale was formed in 1702 by a benefactor by the name of Elihu Yale and is located in the state of Connecticut in the town of New Haven. In 1746, the New Jersey school of Princeton was founded and was originally, simply named the College of New Jersey. The fourth-oldest university in America is the University of Pennsylvania and was founded in 1740 by famous founding father, Benjamin Franklin. Brown University, founded in 1746, is located in Providence, Rhode Island. The smallest Ivy League school, Dartmouth, was established in 1769 in Hanover, New Hampshire and received a large endowment of several billion dollars.
Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King's College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, and the fifth oldest in the United States. Lastly, Cornell University got its start in 1865 thanks to two benefactors named Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. This school is located in Ithaca, New York.