John Dewey was the son of a grocer. Following his undergraduate years at the University of Vermont, he taught high school for three years. He then attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1884. Here, he became interested in the ideas of Hegel and the British Neo-Hegelians. Later, at the University of Michigan as professor of philosophy and psychology, he continued to study Hegelian theory as well as the thought of G. Stanley Hall and William James. Dewey gradually became attracted to the philosophy of education in light of contemporary child psychology and social issues. Following his appointment as chair and professor at the University of Chicago, he established the Laboratory Schools in 1896, which were to become a recognized center of progressive educational thought and practice. Dewey wrote on a number of topics related to politics, current affairs, educational reform, and more, particularly during his 47-year association with Columbia University beginning in 1904. He supported various organizations and causes, and contributed to several liberal-minded publications, including "The New Republic". John Dewey assisted in bringing philosophy to a wider American public by making it relevant to the practical, social, and cultural issues of human life.