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Fairleigh Dickinson University is an Americanmarker private university founded in 1942. It is the largest private university in New Jerseymarker and is the only college or university to physically offer instruction in all 21 counties in New Jersey. While primarily based on two separate New Jersey campuses, Fairleigh Dickinson owns and operates two international campuses and has numerous partnerships with leading colleges and universities around the world. These partnerships, its NGO status with the United Nations and its Global Virtual Faculty Program form the basis for Fairleigh Dickinson's focus on global education.


The institution has two main campuses located in New Jersey: the College at Florham in Madisonmarker and Florham Parkmarker which is centered on the former estate of Florence Vanderbilt and Hamilton Twombly, and the Metropolitan Campus located close to New York Citymarker and spanning the Hackensack River in Teaneckmarker and Hackensackmarker. It also owns two international campuses, one in Vancouver, British Columbia, and another in Wroxtonmarker, Englandmarker, known as Wroxton College. Fairleigh Dickinson acquired the Wroxton Abbeymarker, now home to Wroxton College, from Trinity Collegemarker, Oxford Universitymarker in 1965. Fairleigh Dickinson was the first American university to own and operate its own campus in England. In 2007, the university began offering degree programs at a site in Vancouver, British Columbia.

While both New Jersey campuses have a variety of courses and programs, the College at Florham emphasizes traditional liberal arts offerings, while the Metropolitan Campus is gradually placing more and more emphasis on professionally oriented study. The Metropolitan Campus, while it has residence halls, is largely a commuter campus. Fairleigh Dickinson is home to the QUEST program, where students can study any major and combine their bachelor's degree with a master's in education. FDU also offers AACSB-accredited graduate business courses through its Silberman College of Business. In 2007, Fairleigh Dickinson's Silberman College of Business was Ranked as one of the top 282 Business Schools in the country by Princeton Review. The University has had long-standing connections with the United Nations, offering qualified students opportunities for internships with the UN and its associated agencies.

Fairleigh Dickinson consists of four academic colleges: Becton College of Arts and Sciences (based at the College at Florham), University College of Arts, Sciences and Professional Studies (based on the Metropolitan Campus), Silberman College of Business, and Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies. The latter two colleges provide academic offerings at both New Jersey campuses. The Silberman College entrepreneurial studies program has been rated as one of the best in the U.S.

Fairleigh Dickinson Knights logo
In intercollegiate athletics, the Metropolitan Campus competes in NCAA Division I, while the College at Florham competes in Division III, making it one of only a few schools in the United States to field both Division I and Division III teams. The teams at the Metropolitan Campus are known as the Knights, while the Florham Campus teams are known as the Devils.

In total, there are about 8,000 undergraduate (2,600-College at Florham, 5,400-Metropolitan Campus) and 3,500 graduate (1,000-College at Florham, 2,500-Metropolitan Campus) students of which many are international students from over 80 countries; the majority of international students attend the Metropolitan Campus.


Athletically, Fairleigh Dickinson competes in the NCAA's Northeast Conference. Their mascot is the Nitro sometimes spelled Knightro the Knight. A recent achievement for the Knights Men's Basketball team was in the 2005 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament where they made the NCAA Tournament as a sixteen seed and gave the top seeded Illinois Fighting Illini a huge scare. Being only down 1 at the half, the Knights played well and held their own for a while. However, in the second half the Illini pulled away from FDU and won the game by 12.


Fairleigh Dickinson University was founded by Dr. Peter Sammartino and his wife, Sylvia, in 1942 in Rutherford, New Jerseymarker as a two-year college. It was named for its benefactor, Colonel Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Sr. (1858–1942), a co-founder of Becton Dickinson. By 1948, Fairleigh Dickinson College expanded its curriculum to offer a four-year program. In that same year, the school received accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1956, the same year the University acquired the former Twombly-Vanderbilt estate in Madison, the institution was recognized as Fairleigh Dickinson University by the New Jersey State Board of Education.

Landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park, was also commissioned to design the landscape for the Twombly-Vanderbilt estate (now the College at Florham campus).The main house of the Twombly-Vanderbilt estate, now Hennessy Hall, was designed by architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White in the Georgian style.

In addition to the present campuses, Fairleigh Dickinson University operated campuses in Rutherford (where the University was founded) and in Saint Croix, U.S.marker Virgin Islandsmarker. Operations on the Rutherford Campus were merged with the Metropolitan Campus in 1993 and the Rutherford Campus was later sold to Felician College. The St. Croix Marine Biology Lab was damaged beyond repair during Hurricane Hugo and was closed shortly afterwards.

In 2001, Ron Howard's award winning movie A Beautiful Mind was partly filmed at Fairleigh Dickinson's College at Florham.

During the 2008-2009 academic year the College at Florham celebrated a year-long celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of that campus.


Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind is a research center that conducts polling, survey, and other research on politics, society, popular culture, consumer and economic trends.

PublicMind has conducted well-publicized surveys on:
  • Presidential and New Jersey gubernatorial, Senate, and state legislative races,
  • Homeland security, terrorism, SARS, and disaster preparedness,
  • New Jersey’s state budget,
  • National energy policy,
  • Environmental attitudes,
  • Development and suburban sprawl


  • created the New Jersey Index of Consumer Performance and Index of Consumer Intentions.
  • also hosts workshops for public officials on survey design, methodology, and analysis.

Notable alumni

" " Zygi Wilf - owner of the Minnesota Vikings


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