Emmanuel graduates had a large involvement in the settling of North America. Of the first 100 university graduates in New England, one-third were graduates of Emmanuel College. Harvard University, the first university in North America, was founded by John Harvard (B.A., 1632), who was an Emmanuel graduate.
Emmanuel College is also noted for the wide variety of duck species present on the campus, including the Mallard, the Carolina, the Mandarin, the Pintail, the Tufted, and the Wigeon. The more exotic species were donated to the college by a former Master as a gift to the college at the beginning of his term. There is also a fine example of a Chinese plane tree in the College grounds.