Fordham University was founded in 1841 by the Reverend John Hughes, then-Bishop of New York, and was the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the northeastern United States. Fordham was granted a charter by the New York state legislature in 1846, and in 1907 was renamed Fordham University. As of 2003, Fordham provided an education to over 8,000 undergraduate students, and over 7,000 graduate students. Fordham awards Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees.
Over Fordham's presitigious history, many influential Americans have graduated from one of its degree programs. Famous Fordham alumni include actor Denzel Washington, General John Keane, Army Chief of Staff, actress Patricia Clarkson, G. Gordon Liddy, and politician Thomas Suozzi.
The Fordham varsity sports teams all use the nickname "Rams". Their colors are maroon and white. The Fordham Rams are members of NCAA Division I and compete in the Atlantic-10 Conference in all sports except football. In football, the Rams play in the Patriot League of NCAA Division I-AA, and were champions of that league in 2003.