Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, declared his intention to establish “in this immense and fast-growing city … a system of rational and practical education fitting and graciously opened to all.
The university logo, the upheld torch, is derived from the Statue of Liberty, signifying NYU’s service to New York City. The torch is depicted on both the NYU seal and the more abstract NYU logo, designed in 1965 by renowned graphic designer Tom Geismar of the branding and design firm Chermayeff & Geismar. There are at least two versions of the possible origin of the university color, violet. Some believe that it may have been chosen because violets are said to have grown abundantly in Washington Square and around the buttresses of the Old University Building. Others argue that the color may have been adopted because the violet was the flower associated with Athens, the center of learning in ancient Greece.
Washington Square and Greenwich Village have been hubs of cultural life in New York City since the early 19th century. Much of this culture has intersected with NYU at various points in its history. Artists of the Hudson River School, the United States’ first prominent school of painters, settled around Washington Square. Samuel F.B. Morse, a noted artist who also pioneered the telegraph and created the Morse Code, served as the first chair of Painting and Sculpture. He and Daniel Huntington were early tenants of the Old University Building in the mid-19th century. (The university rented out studio space and residential apartments within the “academic” building.) As a result, they had notable interaction with the cultural and academic life of the university.
NYU has successfully completed a seven-year, $2.5 billion campaign, surpassing expectations by raising more than $3 billion over the seven-year period.
Started in 2001, this campaign was the university’s largest in its history, in which they planned to “raise $1 million per day for scholarships and financial aid, faculty building, new academic initiatives, and enhancing NYU’s physical facilities.