The word first was adopted to describe a particular urban space at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) during the early decades of the eighteenth century. Some other American colleges later adopted the word to describe individual fields at their own institutions, but "campus" did not yet describe the whole university property. A school might have one space called a campus, one called a field, and another called a yard.
The meaning expanded to include the whole institutional property during the twentieth century, with the old meaning persisting into the 1950s in some places. Sometimes the lands on which company office buildings sit, along with the buildings, are called campuses. The Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington, as well as hospitals use the term to describe the territory of their facilities. The word "campus" has also been applied to European universities, although most such institutions are characterized by ownership of individual buildings in urban settings rather than park-like lawns in which buildings are placed.