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Harvard University

For alternate uses see other places called Harvard

Harvard University is a full private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a member of the Ivy League. Harvard College, its undergraduate division, was founded on September 8, 1636 by a vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, making Harvard the oldest post-secondary school in the United States. Originally founded as New College, on March 13, 1639, the college was renamed after one of its biggest early patrons, John Harvard. In 1780, Harvard became a chartered university.

Considered to be one of the world's most prestigious universities, Harvard also has the largest endowment of any private university in the world. A faculty of about 2,300 professors serves about 6,650 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students. With an acceptance rate of around 10%, Harvard is among the most selective universities in the United States; its undergraduate and graduate schools are all extremely competitive.

Graduate schools include the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Business School, Medical School, Law School, Divinity School, Graduate School of Design, Graduate School of Education, School of Public Health, Dental School, and Kennedy School of Government. There is also a Division of Continuing Education. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine was established on July 17, 1867 as the first dental school in the United States.

The school color is a shade of blood-red referred to as crimson, which is also the name of the Harvard sports teams and the daily newspaper (The Harvard Crimson).

The Harvard University Library System, centered around the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, is one of the largest in the world, with over 90 individual libraries and over 14.5 million volumes. Harvard also has several important art museums, including the Fogg Museum of Art (with galleries featuring history of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, with particular strengths in Italian early Renaissance, British pre-Raphaelite, and nineteenth-century French art), the Busch-Reisinger Museum (central and northern European art), and the Sackler Museum (ancient, Asian, Islamic and later Indian art); the Museum of Natural History, which contains the famous glass flowers exhibit; the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology; and the Semitic Museum.

Prominent student organizations at Harvard include the aforementioned Crimson; the Harvard Lampoon, a humor magazine (or, as the Crimson describes it, "a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine"); the Harvard Advocate, one of the nation's oldest literary magazines; and the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, which produces an annual drag musical and celebrates notable actors at its Man of the Year and Woman of the Year ceremonies.

The radio station WHRB (95.3FM Cambridge), is run exclusively by Harvard students, and is given space on the Harvard campus in the basement of Pennypacker Hall, a freshman dormitory. Known throughout the Boston metropolitan area for its top-notch classical, jazz, underground rock and blues programming, WHRB is also home of the notorious radio "Orgy" format, where the entire catalog of a certain band/record label/artist is played in sequence.

The main campus is located next to Harvard Square in central Cambridge, approximately two miles from the MIT campus. Virtually all undergraduates live on campus. First-year students live in dormitories in or near Harvard Yard. Upperclass students live in twelve residential Houses, which serve as administrative units of the College as well as dormitories. Nine of the Houses are situated along or close to the northern banks of the Charles River. These are Adams, Dunster, Eliot, Kirkland, Leverett, Lowell, Mather, Quincy, and Winthrop Houses. The remainder are located in the Radcliffe Quadrangle, half a mile northeast of Harvard Yard, and housed Radcliffe College students until Radcliffe merged its residential system with Harvard. These are Cabot, Currier and Pforzheimer Houses. There is a thirteenth house, Dudley House, which is the House with which students living off-campus are affiliated.

The Medical School, the Business School, and the university stadium and some other athletic facilities are located across the Charles River in Boston. Harvard has recently acquired more land in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and is planning to move more of its facilities there.

While the Harvard football team was one of the best in the beginning days of the sport, in more recent times Harvard fields top teams in ice hockey, crew, and squash. As of 2003, there were 43 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than at any other college in the country.

Harvard College has traditionally taken many of its students from private American preparatory schools such as Phillips Exeter Academy, Groton School, St. Paul's School, Milton Academy, and Phillips Academy, Andover, though most undergraduates come from public schools across the United States and globe. Harvard has traditionally had close ties to Boston Latin School, the oldest public school in the United States, founded in 1635. Early incoming Harvard classes were predominantly from Latin; even today over a dozen students each year matriculate to Harvard from this inner-city public school.

Harvard contains many world-famous departments, ranked as the top in their respective fields. For example, the Department of African and African-American Studies is widely recognized as the foremost program in the field of Afro-American studies, notwithstanding the recent departure of Cornel West for Princeton University.


Majors at Harvard College are known as concentrations. As of 2003, Harvard College offered 41 different concentrations:

Famous people

Among the famous graduates and former students are:

Some forty Nobel Prize winners have been associated with the University, such as Dudley Herschbach in Chemistry, Norman Ramsey in Physics, and Walter Gilbert in Medicine and Physiology.

Harvard was for several years the home of satirist (and mathematics instructor) Tom Lehrer, who mentioned it in the Elements Song: "These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard...."

Harvard presidents

See also

External links