Northwestern University is a private research university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago in Illinois, United States. Home to twelve schools and colleges, Northwestern offers 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees.Northwestern was founded in 1851 by John Evans, and eight other lawyers, businessmen and Methodist leaders. Its founding purpose was to serve the Northwest Territory, an area that today includes the states of Ohio,Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. Instruction began in 1855; women were admitted in 1869. Today, the main campus is a 240-acre parcel in Evanston, along the shores of Lake Michigan just 12 miles north of downtown Chicago. Consistently ranked asa major national and global university, Northwestern is classified as a leading research institution, attracting over 550 million dollars in sponsored research each year. In addition, Northwestern has one of the largest university endowments in the United States, currently valued at 9.8 billion.