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Empire State University (ESU) officially Empire State University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League, research university in Manhattan, New York City.[citation needed] Founded in 1773 by William Pottersmith,[1] the school motto is Excelsior.[2]

Norman Osborn[]

Norman Osborn was a graduate of Empire State University gaining a science major, fifth year degree.[3] He studied chemistry and electrical engineering along with a number of courses in business administration. He befriended his teacher Professor Mendel Stromm. Working together they formed Osborn Chemical which later became known as Oscorp.[citation needed]

Emma Frost[]

In her early life before she joined the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost attended Empire State University and was there when an anti-mutant strike broke out.[4]

Empire State University from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual Vol 1 3

Peter Parker's College Years[]

Peter Parker, Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, and Flash Thompson were all accepted as students at ESU.[5] He and Harry became roommates. However while Peter was studying his Aunt May was in hospital and time as Spider-Man constantly distracted him, he did not give a good impression to the other students believing him to be a snob. But once the truth about Aunt May was revealed, he became fast friend with his classmates including those who went to Midtown High School. Peter and his friends would often hangout at the Coffee Bean.[6]

His time at ESU was more stressful then most he was forced to stop a student protest that nearly turned into a riot. This was arranged by the Kingpin so he could steal the Lifeline Tablet.[7] Harry became a drug addict forcing him to take down the dealers.[8] Professor Clifton Shallot became the new "Vulture". Spider-Man forced an antidote down Shallot's throat, stopping him, and Shallot was then jailed for murder.[9]

Edward Lansky, ESU's vice chancellor was secretly the Lightmaster. He hired the Tarantula to kidnap the chancellor. However they were stopped by discovered by Spider-Man and both were arrested.[10]

Dr. Miles Warren was a biochemistry professor at Empire State University,[5] as was Curt Connors (who seems to work sometimes at Empire State University and sometimes at Eastern State University).[11]

Peter Parker (Earth-616) from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 1 32

After his graduation Peter went on to continue with his postgraduate studies.[12] but continued his studies as a grad student and TA.[11] He quit his graduate studies in,[13] but returned to them but his time as Spider-Man took over and he never completed them.[14]

Mary Jane Watson eventually studied at ESU, taking psychology classes but dropped out to become a model.[citation needed]


Other students included Chip Martin who became the Schizoid Man,[15] and Hector Ayala the White Tiger.[citation needed]

Brian Braddock was part of the study abroad program. By a strange twist of fate, he ended up rooming with Peter Parker at ESU. Parker also had a secret identity, namely Spider-Man, and after battling the assassin Arcade together, the two began meeting for nightly patrols and training; Peter quickly deduced that his English roommate was also the new English hero in town, but Brian remained unaware that Spider-Man was his roommate.[16] Brian began to drink heavily, and it affected his performance both as a student and as a hero, but soon stopped after inadvertently inflicting serious injuries on an opponent because he had fought them in an inebriated state.[17]

Candace Nelson, the sister of then New York City's District Attorney Franklin Nelson also attended ESU. Her discovery of Ted Sallis' research created a great deal of controversy. Matthew Murdock visited the ESU campus and met with Professor Charles Laing to gather information on the case.[18]

Johnny Storm the Human Torch attended ESU. During a battle between the Human Torch and Skrulls Lyja and Paibok, ESU was heavily damaged by the Human Torch's Nova Flare attack. Afterwards he was expelled.[19]

Mutant policy[]

Empire State University from Chamber Vol 1 3

Facing the increase of the mutant population and the problem of the "mutant question", ESU choose an actively opened integration for mutants, and nineteen evident Mutants (Homo superior) were accepted into the university, most of them rejoining the Students for Tolerance co-species organization.

The X-Man Chamber enrolled briefly at ESU in order to investigate about a bombing that killed six Students for Tolerance. The crime was solved, and proved to had been accidentally provocated by Alex, co-founder with his girlfriend Gigi Martin of Students for Tolerance, but also a mutant with seemingly same abilities as Jono. Gigi had herself tried to hide this fact, to prevent for ESU to close down the pro-mutants programs.

Chamber's findings resulted indeed in ESU closing their main mutant program, with the exception of Amber, a reptilian mutant student who assisted Chamber in his investigation, but create a new human/mutant student exchange program with the Xavier Institute. The first participant of this program was Walter, Chamber's paraplegic, human dorm-mate and former mutant-skeptic. Also, it is mentioned that Chamber lives in Brittany Hall, a real life residence hall at New York University.[20]

Peter Parker ("Otto Octavius")[]

When Otto Octavius took over Peter Parker's body he decided to improve his life and re-enrolled at ESU to get his "Peter's" doctorate.[21] It is there he met and fell for Anna Maria Marconi, who offered to tutor him much to his annoyance.[22]

Starbrand & Nightmask[]

Empire State University from Starbrand & Nightmask Vol 1 4 001
Starbrand & Nightmask Vol 1 2 Henderson Variant Textless

Nightmask and Starbrand both attended Empire State University.[23]

Squirrel Girl[]

Doreen Green also known as Squirrel Girl, enrolled at ESU. During her first day she encountered her new best friend and confidante, Nancy Whitehead, and her cat Mew.[24] Doreen soon developed a crush one of her her first few acquaintances at the ESU, Tomas Lara-Perez,[25] who would later be revealed as the super hero Chipmunk Hunk, with similar powers to Squirrel Girl's, and become one of Doreen's friends.[26]


Gwen Stacy of Earth-65, also known as Ghost-Spider, enrolled at ESU in Earth-616 to receive a college education without dealing the the "security issues" of her own dimension, where her identity was public. Peter Parker helped her receive a special scholarship set up by Tony Stark, which aided interdimensional immigrants, clones, aliens, or anyone else lacking proper identification.[citation needed]


Alternate Realities[]

Sony's Spider-Man Universe (Earth-688B)[]

On Earth-688B, Martine Bancroft got her science doctorate from ESU in 2010.[27]

2099 A.D. (Earth-928)[]

Empire State University from Superior Spider-Man Vol 1 32 001

On Earth-928, Empire State University has been closed and left to rot. While time-displaced to 2099 A.D., the Superior Spider-Man took up residence in his old school.[28]

Spider-Man: Unlimited Animated Series (Earth-751263)[]

The Empire State University is mentioned by Peter Parker when he learns from the Venom Symbiote that it was separated from Eddie Brock by Dr. Borowski, a Beastial ESU teacher who taught Naoko Yamada-Jones in her M.D. studies.[29]

Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999)[]

On Earth-199999; Benny Pollack wore an Empire State University T-shirt while robbing a bank with a Chitauri Gun.[30]

Spider-Man Movie Universe (Earth-96283)[]

On Earth-96283; Peter Parker attended Columbia University instead of ESU.[31] Later, Robbie Robertson declared that the "Empire State Photography Department" confirms that Eddie Brock's picture of Spider-Man robbing a bank in the black suit were a fake.[32]

The Spectacular Spider-Man TV Series Universe (Earth-26496)[]

On Earth-26496; Dr. Curt Connors and his wife Martha Connors lead the biology lab at ESU. During a field trip a young student Peter Parker was bitten by one of their Radioactive spiders. He had secretly recovered and he along with Gwen Stacy were offered internships at the labs.[33] An electrician named Max Dillon was electrocuted and became Electro.[34] Curt used the serum to regrow his arm but became the "Lizard" instead.[33] When the alien symbiote is found on Colonel. John Jameson Shuttle it is taken to the ESU Labs to be studied by Curt Connors. The pair is ecstatic about the discovery and gives new hope to their lives and career. But after the robbery in which it gets attached to Spider-Man, they are distraught over the loss. Later the science department gains Dr. Miles Warren as a new member as Norman Osborn funds the research. Dr. Warren has been conducting mutagenic experiments on human test subjects; he threatens to inform the school board only for Dr. Warren to blackmail him with his own lizard experiments. Later after all their trouble's and losses Curt and Martha decide to leave with Billy for the Florida everglades to escape Warren's blackmail.

Amazing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Earth-TRN579)[]

Empire State University from Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions 001

On Earth-TRN579, Mysterio broke into Empire State University and attempted to steal the Tablet of Order and Chaos. He was caught by Spider-Man, who broke the Tablet during the scuffle. Here, Madame Web told him the fragments had scattered across their reality, Earth-TRN580, and Earth-TRN581. She recruited the Spider-Men of said realities to find the fragments.

When NYPD officers came to investigate the break in, Mysterio returned and attempted to kill the two officers. He stopped as his cosmic awareness powers kicked in and he learned of the Spider-Men, teleporting away.[35]

El Sorprendente Hombre Araña (Mexico) (Earth-TRN911)[]

On Earth-TRN911, university students include Harry Osborn, Peter Parker (secretly superhero el Hombre Araña), Gwen Stacy, Eugene "Flash" Thompson, Mary Jane Watson, and an exchange student from Lichtenbad, Klaus Kruger, who later returned to his country.[36]

Mr. Dervey of the Corporación Electrónica made a demonstration of their new Robot Computador for the last year of the science class. During that lesson, the teacher noticed that Osborn and Parker had rivalry, and prompted them to solve their differences in a boxing match.[note 1][37]

Parker obtained maximum grades on a test, a fact that impressed Watson and angered Osborn, who was afraid of Parker stealing either his so-called girlfriend Watson, or his popularity in the group;[38] in fact, Osborn had a reputation of being frequently angry at Parker,[39] who left the friend group as soon as the class was over (to fight crime in his secret identity).[38] Parker nonetheless impressed the teachers - Physics professor Koval was so impressed at his most advanced and intelligence student, that he recruited Parker to work with him after class in a personal project (However, Koval was murdered by his other lab assistant soon afterward).[40]


  1. This is something unusual for university students of science, and far more likely in high school. This is because the story adapts Amazing Spider-Man #8, which takes place in Peter's high school years, replacing a couple characters (using Harry instead of Flash Thompson, for instance), notwithstanding the fact that this story had been translated and published for the Mexican readers in the same series as Amazing Spider-Man (MX) #8


  • This fictional university was created by Stan Lee, because he was afraid if he enrolled Peter in a university existing in real life, the title would lose readers’ interests.

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