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Harvard University
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Harvard University

Harvard University

Motto Veritas (truth)
Established September 6, 1636
School type Private
President Lawrence H. Summers
Location Cambridge, Mass, USA
Enrollment 6,650 undergraduate, 13,000 graduate
Faculty 2,300
Campus Urban
Athletics 43 varsity teams
Homepage www.harvard.edu

Alternate uses: Harvard (disambiguation)

Harvard University is a fully private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. It was founded on September 8 1636 by a vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, making it the oldest post-secondary school in the United States. Originally called simply the "New College", it was named Harvard College on March 13 1639, after its first principal donor, John Harvard. The earliest known official reference to Harvard as a "university" rather than a "college" occurred in the new Massachusetts constitution of 1780. As in many English-speaking universities, undergraduate life remains Harvard's emotional heart and people often conflate it with the wider university. As a result, much of the following article is applicable mainly to Harvard College, the undergraduate institution.

Table of contents
1 About Harvard
2 Campus
3 Concentrations
4 Harvard University people
5 See also
6 External links

About Harvard

Harvard is widely considered one of the world's most prestigious universities and has the largest endowment of any academic institution in the world, amounting to $19.3 billion as of 2003 [1].

A faculty of about 2,300 professors serves about 6,650 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students. Harvard is among the most selective universities in the United States: its overall undergraduate acceptance rate is around 11%, with an early action acceptance rate of around 23%, and its graduate schools are also extremely competitive. According to The Princeton Review its applicants to the undergraduate program "also look at and sometimes prefer" Princeton, Yale, Stanford, or Swarthmore. Harvard recently moved from an unrestricted Early Action policy (where you can apply "early" to Harvard in addition to other schools) to a single-choice Early Action policy (where you can apply "early" only to a single school), aligning itself with the policies of Yale and Stanford, which both moved from a binding single-choice Early Decision policy.

The school color is a shade richer than red but brighter than burgundy, referred to as 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.

Harvard today has nine faculties, listed below in chronological order of foundation:

In 1999, the remnants of Radcliffe College were reorganized as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The Harvard University Library System, centered on the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, with over 90 individual libraries and over 14.5 million volumes, is the largest university library system in the world and, after the Library of Congress, the second-largest library system in the United States. 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 19th-century French art); the Busch-Reisinger Museum (central and northern European art); 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 Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, composed of talented musical undergraduates, was founded in 1808 and is the oldest continuously-performing musical group in the United States. Let's Go Travel Guides, a leading travel guide company worldwide, is run solely by Harvard students, who research and edit improved versions of the books every summer.

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.

While the Harvard football team was one of the best in the beginning days of the sport, today 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 today 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 Boston Latin; even today over a dozen students each year matriculate to Harvard from this inner-city public school.

Harvard contains many world-famous departments (including the biological and chemical sciences) that are consistently ranked first in the world. The social sciences, from Economics to Government, are also world-renowned for the expertise of their faculty and their research. Some lesser known departments also have significant global influence. For example, the Department of African and African-American Studies is widely recognized as the foremost in the world, notwithstanding the recent departure of Cornel West for Princeton University. Another example is Harvard's Judaic Studies Department, which was headed by Professor Harry Austryn Wolfson. Harvard boasts a unique five million dollar Judaica library which has the ability to identify and categorize books by ink type, font type, paper thickness, pagination style, binding method and numerous other categorizations.


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:

The remainder of the residential Houses 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:

There is a thirteenth House, Dudley House, which is nonresidential but fulfills, for some graduate students and off-campus undergraduates including members of The Dudley Co-op, the same administrative and social functions as the residential Houses do for undergraduates who live on campus. It is named after Thomas Dudley, who signed the charter of Harvard College when he was Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Harvard's residential houses are paired with Yale's residential colleges in sister relationships; see the Harvard-Yale sister colleges article for more information.

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 [1].


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

Harvard University people

See also

External links

Ivy League: Brown University | Columbia University | Cornell University | Dartmouth College
Harvard University | Princeton University | University of Pennsylvania | Yale University