What is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States?
The College of William & Mary in Virginia (also known as William & Mary, or W&M) is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States. Privately founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States after Harvard University and the oldest in the American South. William & Mary is one of the original eight "Public Ivies," a term coined by Richard Moll in 1985 for publicly funded universities providing a quality of education considered comparable to that available in the Ivy League.
William & Mary educated U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler as well as other key figures important to the development of the nation, including U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, Speaker of the House Henry Clay, sixteen members of the Continental Congress, and four signers of the Declaration of Independence. W&M founded the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society in 1776 and was the first school of higher education in the United States to install an honor code of conduct for students. The establishment of graduate programs in law and medicine in 1779 makes it one of the first universities in the United States.