Harvard University Massachusetts Hall

Harvard University Massachusetts Hall. Photo by Muns. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Harvard University
File:Harvard Wreath Logo 1.svg
Harvard University seal
Motto Veritas[1]
Motto in English Truth
Established September 8, 1636 (OS)
September 18, 1636 (NS)[2]
Type Private
Endowment US$27.4 billion[3]
President Drew Gilpin Faust
Academic staff 2,107[4]
Admin. staff 2,497 non-medical
10,674 medical
Students 21,225
Undergraduates 7,181 total
6,655 College
526 Extension
Postgraduates 14,044
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Campus Urban
Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoffNa (Main campus)
Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoffNa (Medical campus)
Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoffNa (Allston campus)[5]
Newspaper The Harvard Crimson
Colors Crimson Template:Color box
Athletics 41 Varsity Teams
Ivy League
NCAA Division I
Harvard Crimson
Mascot Crimson
Harvard University logo

Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States[6] and the first corporation (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College) chartered in the country. Harvard's history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.[7][8]

Harvard was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard. Although it was never formally affiliated with a church, the college primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy. Harvard's curriculum and students became increasingly secular throughout the 18th century and by the 19th century had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites.[9][10] Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's forty year tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a centralized research university, and Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.[11] James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College. Drew Gilpin Faust was elected the 28th president in 2007 and is the first woman to lead the university. Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world, standing at $27.4 billion as of September 2010.[3]

The university comprises eleven separate academic units — ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study — with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area.[12] Harvard's Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSonNa main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff northwest of downtown Boston. The business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in Allston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are located in the Longwood Medical Area.[5]

As of 2010, Harvard employs about 2,100 faculty to teach and advise approximately 6,700 undergraduates (Harvard College) and 14,500 graduate and professional students.[13] Eight U.S. Presidents have graduated from Harvard and 75 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the university as students, faculty, or staff. Harvard is also the alma mater of sixty-two living billionaires, the most in the country.[14] The Harvard University Library is the largest academic library in the United States, and the second largest library in the country.[15]

The Harvard Crimson competes in 41 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division I Ivy League. Harvard has an intense athletic rivalry with Yale University traditionally culminating in The Game, although the Harvard–Yale Regatta predates the football game.


Main article: History of Harvard University


Harvard was founded in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Initially called "New College" or "the college at New Towne", the institution was renamed Harvard College on March 13, 1639. It was named after John Harvard, a young English clergyman from Southwark, London, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge (after which Cambridge, Massachusetts is named), who bequeathed the College his library of four hundred books and £779 pounds sterling, which was half of his estate.[16] The charter creating the corporation of Harvard College came in 1650. In the early years, the College trained many Puritan ministers.[17] The college offered a classic academic course based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended Cambridge University—but one consistent with the prevailing Puritan philosophy. The college was never affiliated with any particular denomination, but many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches throughout New England.[18] An early brochure, published in 1643, described the founding of the college as a response to the desire "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches".[19]

File:A Westerly View of the Colledges in Cambridge New England by Paul Revere.jpeg

The leading Boston divine Increase Mather served as president from 1685 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, which marked a turning of the College toward intellectual independence from Puritanism.

19th centuryEdit

Religion and philosophyEdit

The takeover of Harvard by the Unitarians in 1805 resulted in the secularization of the American college. By 1850 Harvard was the "Unitarian Vatican." The "liberals" (Unitarians) allied themselves with high Federalists and began to create a set of private societies and institutions meant to shore up their cultural and political authority, a movement that prefigured the emergence of the Boston Brahmin class. On the other hand, the theological conservatives used print media to argue for the maintenance of open debate and democratic governance through a diverse public sphere, seeing the liberals' movement as an attempt to create a cultural oligarchy in opposition to Congregationalist tradition and republican political principles.[20]

In 1846, the natural history lectures of Louis Agassiz were acclaimed both in New York and on the campus at Harvard College. Agassiz's approach was distinctly idealist and posited Americans' 'participation in the Divine Nature' and the possibility of understanding 'intellectual existences.' Agassiz's perspective on science combined observation with intuition and the assumption that one can grasp the 'divine plan' in all phenomena. When it came to explaining life-forms, Agassiz resorted to matters of shape based on a presumed archetype for his evidence. This dual view of knowledge was in concert with the teachings of Common Sense Realism derived from Scottish philosophers Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart, whose works were part of the Harvard curriculum at the time. The popularity of Agassiz's efforts to 'soar with Plato' probably also derived from other writings to which Harvard students were exposed, including Platonic treatises by Ralph Cudworth, John Norris, and, in a Romantic vein, Samuel Coleridge. The library records at Harvard reveal that the writings of Plato and his early modern and Romantic followers were almost as regularly read during the 19th century as those of the 'official philosophy' of the more empirical and more deistic Scottish school.[21]

Charles W. Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. While Eliot was the most crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education, but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions. Derived from William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson, these convictions were focused on the dignity and worth of human nature, the right and ability of each person to perceive truth, and the indwelling God in each person.[22]

20th centuryEdit

During the 20th century, Harvard's international reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university's scope. Explosive growth in the student population continued with the addition of new graduate schools and the expansion of the undergraduate program. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as sister school of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States.


James Bryant Conant (president, 1933–1953) reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee its preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in the history of American education in the 20th century.[23]

In 1945–1960 admissions policies were opened up to bring in students from a more diverse applicant pool. No longer drawing mostly from rich alumni of select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college was now open to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics or Asians.[24]


Women remained segregated at Radcliffe, though more and more took Harvard classes. Nonetheless, Harvard's undergraduate population remained predominantly male, with about four men attending Harvard College for every woman studying at Radcliffe. Following the merger of Harvard and Radcliffe admissions in 1977, the proportion of female undergraduates steadily increased, mirroring a trend throughout higher education in the United States. Harvard's graduate schools, which had accepted females and other groups in greater numbers even before the college, also became more diverse in the post-World War II period.

In 1999, Radcliffe College, founded in 1879 as the "Harvard Annex for Women",[25] merged formally with Harvard University, becoming the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Drew Gilpin Faust, the Dean at Radcliffe, became the first woman president of Harvard in 2007.

File:Harvard square harvard yard.JPG


Harvard and its affiliates, like many American universities,[26][27] are considered by some to be politically liberal (left of center).[28] Conservative author William F. Buckley, Jr. quipped that he would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty,[29] Richard Nixon famously referred to Harvard as the "Kremlin on the Charles" around 1970,[30] and Vice President George H.W. Bush disparaged what he saw to be Harvard's liberalism during the 1988 presidential election.[31] Republicans remain a small minority of faculty, and the University has refused to officially recognize the Harvard Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program — forcing students to commission through nearby MIT.[32] The Harvard College Handbook explains, "Current federal policy of excluding known lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals from admission to ROTC or of discharging them from service is inconsistent with Harvard’s values as stated in its policy on discrimination."[33] In 2011, Harvard announced that it will reinstate the ROTC program, following the repeal of Don't ask don't tell.[34]

President Lawrence Summers resigned his presidency in 2006. His resignation came just one week before a second planned vote of no confidence by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Former president Derek Bok served as interim president. Members of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which instructs graduate students in GSAS and undergraduates in Harvard College, had passed an earlier motion of "lack of confidence" in Summers' leadership on March 15, 2005 by a 218–185 vote, with 18 abstentions. The 2005 motion was precipitated by comments about the causes of gender demographics in academia made at a closed academic conference and leaked to the press.[35] In response, Summers convened two committees to study this issue: the Task Force on Women Faculty and the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering. Summers had also pledged $50 million to support their recommendations and other proposed reforms. Drew Gilpin Faust is the 28th president of Harvard. An American historian, former dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Lincoln Professor of History at Harvard University, Faust is the first female president in the university's history.[36][37]

Administration and organizationEdit

File:Harvard University map (older, date unknown).jpg

A faculty of approximately 2,160 professors, lecturers, and instructors serve as of school year 2008-09,[38] with 6,715 undergraduate and 12,424 graduate students.[39] The school color is crimson, which is also the name of the Harvard sports teams and the daily newspaper, The Harvard Crimson. The color was unofficially adopted (in preference to magenta) by an 1875 vote of the student body, although the association with some form of red can be traced back to 1858, when Charles William Eliot, a young graduate student who would later become Harvard's 21st and longest-serving president (1869–1909), bought red bandanas for his crew so they could more easily be distinguished by spectators at a regatta.

File:John Harvard statue at Harvard University.jpg

Harvard has a friendly rivalry with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which dates back to 1900 when a merger of the two schools was frequently discussed and at one point officially agreed upon (ultimately canceled by Massachusetts courts). Today, the two schools cooperate as much as they compete, with many joint conferences and programs, including the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, the Broad Institute, the Harvard-MIT Data Center and formerly the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. In addition, students at the two schools can cross-register in undergraduate or graduate classes without any additional fees, for credits toward their own school's degrees.


Governing bodiesEdit

Harvard is governed by two boards, one of which is the President and Fellows of Harvard College, also known as the Harvard Corporation, founded in 1650, and the other is the Harvard Board of Overseers. The President of Harvard University is the day-to-day administrator of Harvard and is appointed by and responsible to the Harvard Corporation. There are 16,000 staff and faculty.[40]

Faculties and schoolsEdit

Harvard today has the following faculties, listed below in order of foundation:

File:Harvard yard winter 2009j.JPG

In 1999, the former Radcliffe College was reorganized as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

In February 2007, the Harvard Corporation and Overseers formally approved the Harvard Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences to become the 14th School of Harvard (Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences).[41][42]

File:RCC Harvard.jpg

The Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard (Cambridge, Massachusetts):[43] The RCC was founded in 1990 as a joint cooperative institution to foster intellectual and scientific interaction between Harvard University and Complutense, with the support of HM King Juan Carlos I, HM Queen Sofia of Spain and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It follows the tradition of the Royal Spanish College, founded in 1364 to host Spanish Visiting Scholars at the University of Bologna. The RCC accord is the only one of its sort ever to have been approved by Harvard. The institution is directed jointly by the President of Harvard and the Rector of Complutense University, with an academic council formed by 5 Harvard professors and 5 Complutense professors. It permits a select number of Complutense professors to conduct their research at Harvard as Visiting Scholars. RCC Fellows enjoy the same privileges as Harvard's non-tenured Faculty. Each year the institution hosts the RCC Fellows Lectures, a conference cycle during which the Visiting Scholars deliver lectures revealing the results of their investigations to an audience of Harvard professors and students. Finally, it also permits a small number of students to attend doctoral school at the University as Research Associates, under scholarships hosted by the Spanish Royal Family.


Harvard has the largest university endowment in the world. At the end of June 2009, it was worth $25.7 billion, about 30% less than at the same time in 2008.[3][44] In December 2008, Harvard announced that its endowment had lost 22% (approximately $8 billion) from July to October 2008, necessitating budget cuts.[45] Later reports[46] suggest the loss was actually more than double that figure, a reduction of nearly 50% of its endowment in the first four months alone. Forbes in March 2009 estimated the loss to be in the range of $12 billion.[47] One of the most visible results of Harvard's attempt to re-balance its budget was their halting[46] of construction of the $1.2 billion Allston Science Complex that had been scheduled to be completed by 2011, resulting in protests from local residents.[48]

Large endowments like Harvard's have been criticized for "hoarding" money.[49][50][51] Most philanthropies are required by federal law to distribute 5% of their assets per year,[52][53] but university endowments are not required to spend anything.[52] Many universities with very large endowments would require an expenditure of less than 5% of their endowment to cover full tuition for all their students. For example, it has been estimated that if in 2006 all the Harvard students paid the maximum in tuition and fees, it would amount to less than $300 million.[54] In 2007, if Harvard had allocated 6% of its $34.6 billion endowment toward tuition,[55] all Harvard undergraduate and graduate students could attend for free and the university would still have $1.3 billion left over.[50] It would require less than 1% of the endowments of Harvard and Yale to allow all students to attend tuition-free;[52] Stanford, MIT, Princeton and Rice would require less than 2% of their endowments and 29 schools would require less than 3% for all their students to attend tuition-free.[52] Despite the decreasing values of endowments, congressmen, including Charles Grassley, have questioned whether the endowments are contributing enough to maintain their tax-exempt status.[51] Peter Hotez of George Washington University has claimed that pharmaceutical companies are contributing more to the poorest people than are wealthy universities.[51]


File:Harvard architects.png

Harvard's Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSonNa main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff northwest of downtown Boston and extends into the surrounding Harvard Square neighborhood. Harvard Yard itself contains the central administrative offices and main libraries of the university, academic buildings including Sever Hall and University Hall, Memorial Church, and the majority of the freshman dormitories. Sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates live in twelve residential Houses, nine of which are south of Harvard Yard along or near the Charles River. The other three are located in a residential neighborhood half a mile northwest of the Yard at the Quadrangle (commonly referred to as the Quad), which formerly housed Radcliffe College students until Radcliffe merged its residential system with Harvard. The Harvard MBTA station provides public transportation via bus service and the Red Line subway.

The Harvard Business School and many of the university's athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located on a Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSonNa campus opposite the Cambridge campus in Allston. The John W. Weeks Bridge is a pedestrian bridge over the Charles River connecting both campuses. The Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health are located on a Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSonNa campus in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area approximately Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff southwest of downtown Boston and Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff south of the Cambridge campus.[5] A private shuttle bus connects the Longwood campus to the Cambridge campus via Massachusetts Avenue making stops in the Back Bay and at MIT as well.[56]

Each residential house contains rooms for undergraduates, House masters, and resident tutors, as well as a dining hall, library, and various other student facilities. The facilities were made possible by a gift from Yale University alumnus Edward Harkness.[57]

File:Harvard memorial church winter 2009.JPG

Radcliffe Yard, formerly the center of the campus of Radcliffe College (and now home of the Radcliffe Institute), is adjacent to the Graduate School of Education and the Cambridge Common.

From 2006 - 2008, Harvard University reported on-campus crime statistics that included 48 forcible sex offenses, 10 robberies, 15 aggravated assaults, 750 burglaries, and 12 cases of motor vehicle theft.[58]

Satellite facilitiesEdit

Apart from its major Cambridge/Allston and Longwood campuses, Harvard owns and operates Arnold Arboretum, in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston; the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, in Washington, D.C.; the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts; and the Villa I Tatti research center[59] in Florence and the Harvard Shanghai Center in China.

Major campus expansionEdit

Throughout the past several years, Harvard has purchased large tracts of land in Allston, a walk across the Charles River from Cambridge, with the intent of major expansion southward.[60] The university now owns approximately fifty percent more land in Allston than in Cambridge. Various proposals to connect the traditional Cambridge campus with the new Allston campus include new and enlarged bridges, a shuttle service and/or a tram. Ambitious plans also call for sinking part of Storrow Drive (at Harvard's expense) for replacement with park land and pedestrian access to the Charles River, as well as the construction of bike paths, and an intently planned fabric of buildings throughout the Allston campus. The institution asserts that such expansion will benefit not only the school, but surrounding community, pointing to such features as the enhanced transit infrastructure, possible shuttles open to the public, and park space which will also be publicly accessible.

One of the foremost driving forces for Harvard's pending expansion is its goal of substantially increasing the scope and strength of its science and technology programs. The university plans to construct two 500,000 square foot (50,000 m²) research complexes in Allston, which would be home to several interdisciplinary programs, including the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and an enlarged Engineering department.

In addition, Harvard intends to relocate the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard School of Public Health to Allston. The university also plans to construct several new undergraduate and graduate student housing centers in Allston, and it is considering large-scale museums and performing arts complexes as well. Unfortunately the large drop in endowment has halted these plans for now.


In 2000, Harvard hired a full-time campus sustainability professional and launched the Harvard Green Campus Initiative,[61] since institutionalized as the Office for Sustainability (OFS).[62] With a full-time staff of 25, dozens of student interns, and a $12 million Loan Fund for energy and water conservation projects, OFS is one of the most advanced campus sustainability programs in the country.[63] Harvard was one of 27 schools to receive a grade of "A-" from the Sustainable Endowments Institute on its College Sustainability Report Card 2010, the highest grade awarded.[64]


Harvard is a large, highly residential research university.[65] The university has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1929.[66] The university offers 46 undergraduate concentrations (majors),[67] 134 graduate degrees,[68] and 32 professional degrees.[69] For the 2008–2009 academic year, Harvard granted 1,664 baccalaureate degrees, 400 masters degrees, 512 doctoral degrees, and 4,460 professional degrees.[69]

The four year, full-time undergraduate program comprises a minority of enrollments at the university and emphasizes instruction with an "arts & sciences focus".[65] Between 1978 and 2008, entering students were required to complete a "Core Curriculum" of seven classes outside of their concentration.[70] Since 2008, undergraduate students have been required to complete courses in eight General Education categories: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding, Culture and Belief, Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning, Ethical Reasoning, Science of Living Systems, Science of the Physical Universe, Societies of the World, and United States in the World.[71] Harvard offers a comprehensive doctoral graduate program and there is a high level of coexistence between graduate and undergraduate degrees.[65] The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, The New York Times, and some students have criticized Harvard for its reliance on teaching fellows for some aspects of undergraduate education; they consider this to adversely affect the quality of education.[72][73]

Harvard's academic programs operate on a semester calendar beginning in early September and ending in mid-May.[74] Undergraduates typically take four half-courses per term and must maintain a four-course rate average to be considered full time.[75] In many concentrations, students can elect to pursue a basic program or a honors-eligible program requiring a senior thesis and/or advanced course work.[76] Students graduating in the top 4-5% of the class are awarded degrees summa cum laude, students in the next 15% of the class are awarded magna cum laude, and the next 30% of the class are awarded cum laude.[77] Harvard has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa and various committees and departments also award several hundred named prizes annually.[78] Harvard, along with other universities, has been accused of grade inflation,[79] although there is evidence that the quality of the student body and its motivation have also increased.[80] Harvard College reduced the number of students who receive Latin honors from 90% in 2004 to 60% in 2005. Moreover, the honors of "John Harvard Scholar" and "Harvard College Scholar" will now be given only to the top 5 percent and the next 5 percent of each class.[81][82][83][84]

Undergraduate tuition for the 2009–2010 school year was $33,696 and the total cost with fees, room, and board was $48,868.[85] Under financial aid guidelines adopted in 2007, parents in families with incomes of less than $60,000 will no longer be expected to contribute any money to the cost of attending Harvard for their children, including room and board. Families with incomes in the $60,000 to $80,000 range contribute an amount of only a few thousand dollars a year. In December 2007, Harvard announced that families earning between $120,000 and $180,000 will only have to pay up to 10% of their annual household income towards tuition.[86] In 2009, Harvard offered grants totaling $414.1 million across all 11 divisions; $339.5 million came from institutional funds, $35.3 million from federal support, and $39.2 million from other outside support. Grants total 87.7% of Harvard's aid for undergraduate students, with aid also provided by loans (8.4%) and work-study (3.9%).[85]


Template:Infobox US university ranking Harvard's undergraduate program is ranked first among "National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report[87] and eighth by Forbes.[88] The university is ranked ninth nationally by The Washington Monthly.[89]

Internationally, Harvard is ranked first in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and second in the QS World University Rankings.[90][91] When the two lists were published in partnership between 2004 and 2009 as the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, Harvard was ranked first each year.[91][92] Harvard is ranked first by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), a position it has held since the first ARWU rankings were released in 2003.[93] In its individual subject tables, ARWU ranked Harvard first in natural sciences and mathematics,[94] life and agricultural sciences,[95] clinical medicine and pharmacy,[96] social sciences,[97] and 42nd in engineering/technology and computer sciences.[98] In individual fields in 2010, Harvard is ranked first in Physics and Economics/Business, second in Chemistry, third in Mathematics, and ninth in Computer Science in the world.[99]

In the 2009 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report,[100] Harvard was ranked first in North America.

In 2010, according to University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP),[101] Harvard is the best overall university in the world.

In 2010 Harvard University was, for its excellence in co-operation projects with the corporate world globally and especially in the US, chosen to be a part of the BBNM Group. They are currently represented among the BBNM Member schools.[102]


Research centers attached to schools and departments
  • Department of Psychology: Prosopagnosia Research Centers at Harvard University and University College London[104]
  • Graduate School of Design:[105] Center for Alternative Futures, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Center for Technology & the Environment
  • Harvard Law School:[106] Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Institute for Global Law & Policy (former European Law Research Center), John M. Olin Center of Law, Economics and Business
Independent organizations affiliated to the university

Libraries and museumsEdit

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The Harvard University Library System is centered in Widener Library in Harvard Yard and comprises over 80 individual libraries and over 15 million volumes.[107] According to the American Library Association, this makes it the largest academic library in the United States, and the third largest library in the country.[15] Harvard describes its library as the "largest academic library in the world".[108]

Cabot Science Library, Lamont Library, and Widener Library are three of the most popular libraries for undergraduates to use, with easy access and central locations. There are rare books, manuscripts and other special collections throughout Harvard's libraries;[109] Houghton Library, the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, and the Harvard University Archives consist principally of rare and unique materials. America's oldest collection of maps, gazetteers, and atlases both old and new is stored in Pusey Library and open to the public. The largest collection of East-Asian language material outside of East Asia is held in the Harvard-Yenching Library.

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Harvard operates several arts, cultural, and scientific museums:

Student activitiesEdit

        In 2005, The Boston Globe reported obtaining a 21-page Harvard internal memorandum that expressed concern about undergraduate student satisfaction based on a 2002 Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) survey of 31 top universities.[110]  The Globe presented COFHE survey results and quotes from Harvard students that suggest problems with faculty availability, quality of instruction, quality of advising, social life on campus, and sense of community dating back to at least 1994.  The magazine section of the Harvard Crimson echoed similar academic and social criticisms.[111][112]  The Harvard Crimson quoted Harvard College Dean Benedict Gross as being aware of and committed to improving the issues raised by the COFHE survey.[113]

A longer list of Harvard student groups can be found under Harvard College.

The Harvard Crimson, founded in 1873, describes itself as "the nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper"; it counts among its many editors numerous Pulitzer Prize winners and two U.S. Presidents, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The Harvard University Band, founded in 1919, is a non-traditional, student-run marching band, notable for being a scramble band; other bands which also fall under the umbrella organization of HUB are The Harvard Wind Ensemble, the Harvard Summer Pops Band, and the Harvard Jazz Bands.

The Harvard International Relations Council includes several famous student organizations, including the Harvard International Review (HIR), Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN), and its Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN).  The HIR has 35,000 readers in more than 70 countries and regularly features prominent scholars and policymakers from around the globe.  HMUN is the oldest high-school-level Model United Nations simulation in the world, having begun as a League of Nations simulation in the 1920s.  HNMUN is similarly the longest-running college-level simulation in the world and among the largest in the United States. The IRC has the most members of any Harvard student organization.

The Harvard Lampoon is an undergraduate humor organization and publication founded in 1876.  It has a long-standing rivalry with The Crimson and counts among its former members Robert Benchley, John Updike, George Plimpton, Steve O'Donnell, Conan O'Brien, Mark O'Donnell, and Andy Borowitz.  This sporadically issued rag was originally modelled on the British magazine of satire, Punch, and has now outlived it, becoming the world's second-oldest humor magazine after the Yale RecordConan O'Brien was president of the Lampoon during his last two undergraduate years.  (The National Lampoon was founded as an offshoot in 1970 from the Harvard publication.)


The Harvard Glee Club, founded in 1858, is the oldest college choir in the country; the Harvard University Choir is the oldest university-affiliated choir in the country; and the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, founded in 1808, technically is older than the New York Philharmonic, though it has only been a symphony orchestra for about half of its existence.  The Bach Society Orchestra of Harvard University is a chamber orchestra that is staffed, managed, and conducted entirely by students.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, founded in 1844, is a theatrical society known for its burlesque musicals and annual "Man of the Year" and "Woman of the Year" ceremonies; past members include Alan Jay Lerner, Jack Lemmon, and John Lithgow.  The Harvard Advocate, founded in 1866, is the nation's oldest college literary magazine; its past members include Theodore Roosevelt, T. S. Eliot, and Mary Jo Salter.  The Harvard Salient [2] is the campus's biweekly conservative magazine, whose past editors include many prominent conservative thinkers and journalists.

WHRB (95.3 FM Cambridge), the campus radio station, is run exclusively by Harvard students out of the basement of Pennypacker Hall, a freshman dorm.  Known throughout the Boston metropolitan area for its classical, jazz, underground rock and hip-hop, and blues programming, especially its reading period "orgies", when the entire oeuvre of a particular composer, orchestra, band, or artist is played without commercial break, sometimes for several days in succession, to give the station's DJs a chance to catch up on their studies before the semester's final exams.

The Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) is a living memorial to President Kennedy which promotes public service among undergraduates by sponsoring non-credit courses and workshops and internships in the public sector.  The IOP is also home to the Harvard Political Review, a nonpartisan quarterly magazine whose alumni include Al Gore, E.J. Dionne, and Jonathan Alter.  The IOP is located within the Harvard Kennedy School.

The Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA)[114] is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which serves as the umbrella organization for dozens of community service and social change programs at Harvard.  It has 1,600 volunteers who serve over 10,000 people in the greater Boston area.  Its notable alumni include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Roger Nash Baldwin, Robert Coles, and David Souter.

Harvard Student Agencies[115] is the largest student-run corporation in the world, with revenues of $6 million in 2006;[116] its notable alumni include Thomas Stemberg, founder of Staples, Inc. and Michael Cohrs, a Board Member at Deutsche Bank in London.  Harvard Model Congress is the nation's oldest and largest congressional simulation conference, providing thousands of high school students from across the U.S. and abroad with the opportunity to experience participatory American democracy first-hand.

The Harvard Ichthus is the college's first journal of Christian thought, inspiring the founding of over 20 such journals throughout the Northeast through the Augustine Project;[117] it has featured contributions by students as well as notable theologians such as Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Stanley Hauerwas, Glen Stassen, and Fr. Richard Schall.  The Harvard Chess Club, founded in 1874, is one of the oldest collegiate chess clubs in the country.[118]  An annual match versus Yale on the morning of the Harvard-Yale football game has taken place since 1906.[119]  Harvard has won several intercollegiate national chess championships, with alumni including International Grandmaster and two-time United States Champion Patrick Wolff.

Harvard/MIT Cooperative Society is a cooperative bookstore that includes undergraduates on its board of directors.  The Harvard Boxing Club is a club sport open to all undergraduates and graduates.  It holds practices six days a week, and hosts an annual exhibition (Fight Night) at the end of Spring semester.  The Harvard Wireless Club, founded in 1909, is the nation's oldest amateur radio club.  Their radio station call sign is W1AF.  "Professor George W. Pierce was the first president, and Nikola Tesla, Thomas A. Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, Greenleaf W. Pickard and R. A. Fessenden were honorary members."[120]


Demographics of student body[121][122]
Undergraduate Graduate Professional U.S. Census
Black/Non-Hispanic 8% 3% 6% 12.1%
Asian/Pacific Islander 17% 9% 12% 4.3%
White/Non-Hispanic 42% 42% 43% 65.8%
Hispanic 7% 3% 5% 14.5%
Native American 1% 0.2% 0.6% 0.9%
International Students 11% 33% 22% N/A

In the last six years, Harvard's student population ranged between 19,000 and 21,000, across all programs. Harvard enrolled 6,655 students in undergraduate programs, 3,738 students in graduate programs, and 10,722 students in professional programs.[121] The undergraduate population is 51% female, the graduate population is 48% female, and the professional population is 49% female.[121]

Undergraduate admission to Harvard is characterized by the Carnegie Foundation as "more selective, lower transfer-in".[65] Harvard College received 27,462 applications for admission to the Class of 2013, 2,175 were admitted (7.9%), and 1,658 enrolled (76.2%).[123] The interquartile range on the SAT was 2080–2370 and 95% of first year students graduated in the top tenth of their high school class.[123] Harvard also enrolled 266 National Merit Scholars, the most in the nation.[124] 88% of students graduate within 4 years and 98% graduate within 6 years.[125]

Harvard College accepted 6.9% of applicants for the class of 2014, a record low for the school's entire history.[126] The number of acceptances was lower for the class of 2013 partially because the university anticipated increased rates of enrollment after announcing a large increase in financial aid in 2008.(Citation needed) Harvard College ended its early admissions program in 2007 as the program was believed to disadvantage low-income and under-represented minority applicants applying to selective universities.[127] However, undergraduate admissions office's preference for children of alumni policies have been the subject of scrutiny and debate as it primarily aids whites and the wealthy.[128][129]


Main article: Harvard Crimson
File:Harvard stadium 2009h.JPG

Harvard's athletic rivalry with Yale is intense in every sport in which they meet, coming to a climax each fall in their annual football meeting, which dates back to 1875 and is usually called simply "The Game". While Harvard's football team is no longer one of the country's best as it often was a century ago during football's early days (it won the Rose Bowl in 1920), both it and Yale have influenced the way the game is played. In 1903, Harvard Stadium introduced a new era into football with the first-ever permanent reinforced concrete stadium of its kind in the country. The stadium's structure actually played a role in the evolution of the college game. Seeking to reduce the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries in the sport, the Father of Football, Walter Camp (former captain of the Yale football team), suggested widening the field to open up the game. But the state-of-the-art Harvard Stadium was too narrow to accommodate a wider playing surface. So, other steps had to be taken. Camp would instead support revolutionary new rules for the 1906 season. These included legalizing the forward pass, perhaps the most significant rule change in the sport's history.[130][131]

Harvard has several athletic facilities, such as the Lavietes Pavilion, a multi-purpose arena and home to the Harvard basketball teams. The Malkin Athletic Center, known as the "MAC", serves both as the university's primary recreation facility and as a satellite location for several varsity sports. The five story building includes two cardio rooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a smaller pool for aquaerobics and other activities, a mezzanine, where all types of classes are held at all hours of the day, and an indoor cycling studio, three weight rooms, and a three-court gym floor to play basketball. The MAC also offers personal trainers and specialty classes. The MAC is also home to Harvard volleyball, fencing, and wrestling. The offices of several of the school's varsity coaches are also in the MAC.

Weld Boathouse and Newell Boathouse house the women's and men's rowing teams, respectively. The men's crew also uses the Red Top complex in Ledyard, Connecticut, as their training camp for the annual Harvard-Yale Regatta. The Bright Hockey Center hosts the Harvard hockey teams, and the Murr Center serves both as a home for Harvard's squash and tennis teams as well as a strength and conditioning center for all athletic sports.

As of 2006, there were 41 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than at any other NCAA Division I college in the country. As with other Ivy League universities, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships.[132]

File:Harvard crimsons v brown 2009.JPG

Older than The Game by 23 years, the Harvard-Yale Regatta was the original source of the athletic rivalry between the two schools. It is held annually in June on the Thames river in eastern Connecticut. The Harvard crew is typically considered to be one of the top teams in the country in rowing. Today, Harvard fields top teams in several other sports, such as the Harvard Crimson men's ice hockey team (with a strong rivalry against Cornell), squash, and even recently won NCAA titles in Men's and Women's Fencing. Harvard also won the Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships in 2003.

Harvard's men's ice hockey team won the school's first NCAA Championship in any team sport in 1989. Harvard was also the first Ivy League institution to win a NCAA championship title in a women's sport when its women's lacrosse team won the NCAA Championship in 1990.

Harvard Undergraduate Television has footage from historical games and athletic events including the 2005 pep-rally before the Harvard-Yale Game. Harvard's official athletics website has more comprehensive information about Harvard's athletic facilities.


Harvard has several fight songs, the most played of which, especially at football, are "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard" and "Harvardiana." While "Fair Harvard" is actually the alma mater, "Ten Thousand Men" is better known outside the university. The Harvard University Band performs these fight songs, and other cheers, at football and hockey games. These were parodied by Harvard alumnus Tom Lehrer in his song "Fight Fiercely, Harvard," which he composed while an undergraduate.

Notable peopleEdit

Faculty and staffEdit

Template:Expand section Prominent conservative and prominent liberal voices are among the faculty of the various schools, such as Martin Feldstein, Harvey Mansfield, Greg Mankiw, Baroness Shirley Williams, and Alan Dershowitz. Leftists like Michael Walzer and Stephen Thernstrom and libertarians such as Robert Nozick have in the past graced its faculty. Between 1964 and 2009, a total of 38 faculty and staff members affiliated with Harvard or its teaching hospitals were awarded Nobel Prizes (17 during the last quarter century, 6 the last 25 years).[133]


File:Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg

Among the best-known people who have attended Harvard University are American political leaders John Hancock, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Al Gore, George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Canadian Governor General David Lloyd Johnston, Canadian Prime Ministers Mackenzie King and Pierre Trudeau, and Canadian political leader Michael Ignatieff; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; religious leader, businessman & philanthropist Aga Khan IV; businessman & philanthropist Bill Gates; philanthropist Huntington Hartford; Mexican Presidents Felipe Calderón[134], Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Miguel de la Madrid; Chilean President Sebastian Piñera; Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos; Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo;UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; philosopher Henry David Thoreau; authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and William S. Burroughs; educator Harlan Hanson; poets Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot and E. E. Cummings; conductor Leonard Bernstein; cellist Yo Yo Ma; comedian and television show host and writer Conan O'Brien; actors Jack Lemmon, Natalie Portman, Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Tatyana Ali, Elisabeth Shue, Rashida Jones, Scottie Thompson, Hill Harper, Matt Damon and Tommy Lee Jones; film directors Darren Aronofsky, Mira Nair, Whit Stillman, and Terrence Malick; television executive Brian Graden; architect Philip Johnson; musicians Rivers Cuomo, Tom Morello, and Gram Parsons; musician, producer and composer Ryan Leslie; Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg; unabomber Ted Kaczynski; programmer and activist Richard Stallman; and civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois.

Among its most famous current faculty members are biologist E. O. Wilson, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, physicists Lisa Randall and Roy Glauber, chemists Elias Corey, Dudley R. Herschbach and George M. Whitesides, Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt, writer Louis Menand, critic Helen Vendler, historian Niall Ferguson, economists Amartya Sen, N. Gregory Mankiw, Robert Barro, Stephen A. Marglin, Don M. Wilson III and Martin Feldstein, political philosophers Harvey Mansfield and Michael Sandel, political scientists Robert Putnam, Joseph Nye, and Stanley Hoffmann, scholar/composers Robert Levin and Bernard Rands.

Seventy-five Nobel Prize winners are affiliated with the university. Since 1974, 19 Nobel Prize winners and 15 winners of the American literary award, the Pulitzer Prize, have served on the Harvard faculty.

In fiction and popular cultureEdit

Harvard's central place in American elite circles has made it the setting for many novels, plays, films and other cultural works.

In literatureEdit

Numerous novels are set at Harvard or feature characters with Harvard connections.

  • In Dan Brown's novels (The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons), main character Robert Langdon is described as a Harvard "professor of symbology", (although "symbology" is not the name of an actual academic discipline).[136]
  • Pamela Thomas-Graham's series of mystery novels (Blue Blood, Orange Crushed, and A Darker Shade Of Crimson), protagonist Nikki Chase is an African-American Harvard economics professor.
  • Douglas Preston's ex-CIA agent, Wyman Ford, is a Harvard alumnus. Ford appears in the novels Tyrannosaur Canyon and Blasphemy.
  • Cecilia Tan's romance novel series, commonly known as the "Magic University series" and including the books The Siren and the Sword and The Tower and the Tears, is set at the magical university hidden inside Harvard known as "Veritas".

In musicEdit

  • Mariah Carey, in her 2009 song "Up Out My Face", sings: "Even the Harvard University graduating class of 2010 couldn't put us back together again."[137]


Harvard has been featured in many U.S. film and television productions. Since the filming of Love Story in the 1960s the university, until the summer of 2007 filming of The Great Debaters, did not allow any movies to be filmed in campus buildings; most films are shot in look-alike cities, such as Toronto, and at colleges such as UCLA, Wheaton, and Bridgewater State, although outdoor and aerial shots of Harvard's Cambridge campus are often used.[138]


  • Professors Dr. Richard Alpert, later known as Ram Dass, and Dr. Timothy Leary were fired from Harvard in May 1963. Popular opinion attributes their discharge to their activism involving psychedelics, and the popularization and dispensation of psilocybin to students.[141]

See alsoEdit

Template:Portal box


  1. Appearing as it does on the coat of arms itself, Veritas is not a motto in the usual heraldic sense. Properly speaking, rather, the motto is Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae ("Truth for Christ and the Church") which appears in impressions of the university's seal; but this legend is otherwise not used today.
  2. An appropriation of £400 toward a "school or college" was voted on October 28, 1636 (OS), at a meeting which initially convened on September 8 and was adjourned to October 28. Some sources consider October 28, 1636 (OS) (November 7, 1636 NS) to be the date of founding. In 1936, Harvard's multi-day tercentenary celebration considered that Harvard rocks, on September 18 to be the 300-year anniversary of the founding. (The bicentennial was celebrated on September 8, 1836, apparently ignoring the calendar change; and the tercentenary celebration began by opening a package sealed by Josiah Quincy at the bicentennial). Sources: meeting dates, Quincy, Josiah (1860). History of Harvard University. 117 Washington Street, Boston: Crosby, Nichols, Lee and Co.. , p. 586, "At a Court holden September 8th, 1636 and continued by adjournment to the 28th of the 8th month (October, 1636)... the Court agreed to give £400 towards a School or College, whereof £200 to be paid next year...." Tercentenary dates: "Cambridge Birthday". Time Magazine. 1936-09-28.,8816,756722,00.html. Retrieved 2006-09-08. : "Harvard claims birth on the day the Massachusetts Great and General Court convened to authorize its founding. This was Sept. 8, 1637 under the Julian calendar. Allowing for the ten-day advance of the Gregorian calendar, Tercentenary officials arrived at Sept. 18 as the date for the third and last big Day of the celebration;" "on Oct. 28, 1636 ... £400 for that 'school or college' [was voted by] the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony." Bicentennial date: Marvin Hightower (2003-09-02). "Harvard Gazette: This Month in Harvard History". Harvard University. Retrieved 2006-09-15. , "Sept. 8, 1836 - Some 1,100 to 1,300 alumni flock to Harvard's Bicentennial, at which a professional choir premieres "Fair Harvard." ... guest speaker Josiah Quincy Jr., Class of 1821, makes a motion, unanimously adopted, 'that this assembly of the Alumni be adjourned to meet at this place on the 8th of September, 1936.'" Tercentary opening of Quincy's sealed package: The New York Times, September 9, 1936, p. 24, "Package Sealed in 1836 Opened at Harvard. It Held Letters Written at Bicentenary": "September 8th, 1936: As the first formal function in the celebration of Harvard's tercentenary, the Harvard Alumni Association witnessed the opening by President Conant of the 'mysterious' package sealed by President Josiah Quincy at the Harvard bicentennial in 1836."
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Further readingEdit

  • Abelmann, Walter H., ed. The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology: The First 25 Years, 1970–1995 (2004). 346 pp.
  • Beecher, Henry K. and Altschule, Mark D. Medicine at Harvard: The First 300 Years (1977). 569 pp.
  • Bentinck-Smith, William, ed. The Harvard Book: Selections from Three Centuries (2d ed.1982). 499 pp.
  • Bethell, John T.; Hunt, Richard M.; and Shenton, Robert. Harvard A to Z (2004). 396 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Bethell, John T. Harvard Observed: An Illustrated History of the University in the Twentieth Century, Harvard University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-674-37733-8
  • Bunting, Bainbridge. Harvard: An Architectural History (1985). 350 pp.
  • Carpenter, Kenneth E. The First 350 Years of the Harvard University Library: Description of an Exhibition (1986). 216 pp.
  • Cuno, James et al. Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting (1996). 364 pp.
  • Elliott, Clark A. and Rossiter, Margaret W., eds. Science at Harvard University: Historical Perspectives (1992). 380 pp.
  • Hall, Max. Harvard University Press: A History (1986). 257 pp.
  • Hay, Ida. Science in the Pleasure Ground: A History of the Arnold Arboretum (1995). 349 pp.
  • Hoerr, John, We Can't Eat Prestige: The Women Who Organized Harvard; Temple University Press, 1997, ISBN 1-56639-535-6
  • Howells, Dorothy Elia. A Century to Celebrate: Radcliffe College, 1879–1979 (1978). 152 pp.
  • Keller, Morton, and Phyllis Keller. Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University (2001), major history covers 1933 to 2002 online edition
  • Lewis, Harry R. Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education (2006) ISBN 1586483935
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot. Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636–1936 (1986) 512pp; excerpt and text search
  • Powell, Arthur G. The Uncertain Profession: Harvard and the Search for Educational Authority (1980). 341 pp.
  • Reid, Robert. Year One: An Intimate Look inside Harvard Business School (1994). 331 pp.
  • Rosovsky, Nitza. The Jewish Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe (1986). 108 pp.
  • Seligman, Joel. The High Citadel: The Influence of Harvard Law School (1978). 262 pp.
  • Sollors, Werner; Titcomb, Caldwell; and Underwood, Thomas A., eds. Blacks at Harvard: A Documentary History of African-American Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe (1993). 548 pp.
  • Trumpbour, John, ed., How Harvard Rules. Reason in the Service of Empire, Boston: South End Press, 1989, ISBN 0-89608-283-0
  • Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher, ed. Yards and Gates: Gender in Harvard and Radcliffe History (2004). 337 pp.
  • Winsor, Mary P. Reading the Shape of Nature: Comparative Zoology at the Agassiz Museum (1991). 324 pp.
  • Wright, Conrad Edick. Revolutionary Generation: Harvard Men and the Consequences of Independence (2005). 298 pp.

External linksEdit

Template:EB1922 Poster

  • [[[:Template:Official website/http]] Official website]

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