The earlier institution was founded by prominent members of the Chicago and greater Illinois community including Justice Stephen A.Douglas and Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth.
The business school was founded thereafter in 1898, Unlike many other American universities at the time, the University of Chicago thus came to revolve around a number of graduate research institutions, following Germanic precedent.
Incorporated in 1890, the University has dated its founding as July 1, 1891, when William Rainey Harper became its first president.
The first classes were held on October 1, 1892, with an enrollment of 594 students and a faculty of 120, including eight former college presidents.
The College of the University of Chicago remained quite small compared to its East Coast peers until around the middle of the 20th century.
As a result, the graduate population of the university dwarfs the undergraduate population 2:1 to this day, while the university's undergraduate student body remains the third smallest amongst the top 10 national universities.