George Peabody College

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George Peabody College was founded in 1875 when the University of Nashville, located in Nashville, Tennessee, split into two separate educational institutions. The preparatory school, Montgomery Bell Academy separated from the college, which was originally called Peabody Normal School, but soon became known as the George Peabody College for Teachers."[1]

This change apparently took place around 1909, when all the buildings and other assets of Peabody Normal School were donated to the George Peabody College for Teachers, signifying the end of the entity known as the University of Nashville.

After 1911, Peabody College has been located directly across the street from the campus of Vanderbilt University. It later became affiliated with Vanderbilt University, and is now known as the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.

It was located on the site of the campus of the former Roger Williams University, a school for African American students which burned around 1906.Roger Williams University Prior to this it was a division of the former University of Nashville. The site was then occupied by Peabody, which was then for whites, although its "demonstration school" (now University School of Nashville) became the one of the first high schools in Nashville to be desegregated in the early 1960s.

Peabody became a renowned school of education, especially in the South.[2]. It seemed financially strong, due in part to an endowment that had been funded in part by its namesake, George Peabody. It had shared some facilities with Vanderbilt for many years, notably the Joint Universities Library, located across the street from Peabody's main academic buildings, and indeed closer to them than to much of the main Vanderbilt academic quadrangle. Also, Peabody students were eligible for participation in Vanderbilt ROTC and the Vanderbilt Marching Band. In the early 1970s Peabody students became eligible to participate on Vanderbilt athletic teams. This was said to be a concession to the fact that Peabody had no intercollegiate athletics of its own, but cynics noted that Peabody did have a major in physical education, a major frequently taken by scholarship athletes but one which had not been available at Vanderbilt, and was seen by many as an attempt to get players onto Vanderbilt sports teams, notably football, who were not eligible for admission to Vanderbilt.

By the late 1970s a series of serious financial missteps had left Peabody's finances in such poor shape that the school's choices seemed to be reduced to two, either negotiating a merger with Vanderbilt or closing entirely. The former path was chosen, and Peabody became a part of Vanderbilt in 1979. Students with Peabody scholarships were allowed to complete them, which came as a great relief to many of them and their parents, as Vanderbilt's fees were considerably higher than Peabody's had been.

For many years following the merger, Peabody maintained a considerable separate identity within Vanderbilt, but this is now somewhat diminished and in a geographic sense may decline further due to plans to make the Peabody campus the site of a "freshman commons area" for all incoming Vanderbilt students beginning in the fall of 2008. [3]

In an organizational sense, however, Peabody College constitutes a vital part of today's Vanderbilt. As one of the university's ten schools, it not only trains graduate students but conducts substantial research in human learning and cognition, some of it in conjunction with Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It is now the host of two government funded national research centers: the National Center on School Choice and the National Center on Performance Incentives. Peabody was ranked third among American graduate schools of education, tied with Harvard Graduate School of Education, in the 2008 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

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