In the autumn of 1886 E. F. Holden, of Syracuse, determined to erect a working observatory as a memorial to his son, Charles Demarest Holden, who graduated in the class of 1877, and died in Syracuse in February, 1883. This observatory is built of rock-faced gray limestone and is about 40 by 40 feet in extreme dimensions. It is equipped with an eight-inch Alvan Clark telescope, four-inch reversible transit, micrometer, chronograph, chronometer, astronomical clock and other needed apparatus.
In August, 1887, Mrs. John Reid, of New York city, purchased the great library of Leopold Von Ranke, of Berlin, Germany, and offered it to Syracuse University on condition that a suitable building be erected to contain it. Accordingly in the following September a library 80 by 90 feet, with a capacity of 130,000 volumes, was begun, which was finished in June, 1889.
One of the most magnificent gifts ever received by the university is the Memorial College for Women, erected by the late John Crouse, of Syracuse, and finished by his son, D. Edgar Crouse. This structure is of Long-Meadow red sandstone, 162 by 190 feet extreme measurements, and is one of the most imposing of buildings. It contains a magnificent music hall, a large organ, and has been amply and elegantly furnished by its donors.
The university has at present four colleges. The College of Liberal Arts, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Medicine, and the College of Law, the latter having begun work in September, 1895. A new medical college is in course of erection (1895) at a cost of about $100,000.
Among the notable gifts to the university have been the following: Philo Remington, $100,000; John D. Slayback, $20,000; “A Friend,” for library, $100,000; Milton S. Price, $10,000; Mrs. Lydia Morehouse, $30,000; Eliphalet Remington, $80,000; Bishop Jesse T. Peck, $50,000; J. Dorman Steele, $50,000; George F. Comstock, $50,000; Rev. H. R. Robinson, $15,000; Rev. William Griffin, D. D., $40,000; Hon. David Decker, $10,000; Mrs. W. P. Abbott, $10,000; Mrs. Harriet T. Leavenworth, Wolf Collection of Engravings; E. F. Holden, the Conservatory; John Crouse and D. Edgar Crouse, John Crouse Memorial College; Mrs. J. M. Reid, Von Ranke Library; Mrs. J. Dorman Steele, support of Professorship of Theistic Science, ($2,500 per year) and the equipment of the Department of Physics, $10,000; and many other gifts of various amounts.
The university opens all of its courses of study on equal terms to students of both sexes.
The chancellors of the university have been as follows: Rev. Daniel Steele, D. D. (president of the College of Liberal Arts), 1871-72; Alexander Winchell, LL. D., 1872-74; E. O. Haven, D. D., LL. D., 1874-80; Charles N. Sims, D. D., LL. D., 1881-93; Rev. James S. Day, D. D. LL. D., present chancellor. In point of registration the university now ranks fifth among the universities and colleges of the country, and its faculty is proportionately large.