Harvard College


Harvard College
Harvard College
Established 1636
Type Private
Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Campus Urban
Website college.harvard.edu

Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees (the other being Harvard Extension School). Founded in 1636, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States[1] and one of the most prestigious in the world.[2]

History

View of freshman dormitories in Harvard Yard

In 1636 the New College came into existence by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony—though without a single building, instructor, or student. In 1639 it was re-named in honor of deceased Charlestown minister John Harvard, who had bequeathed to the school his entire library and half of his monetary estate.

Harvard's first instructor, schoolmaster Nathaniel Eaton, was also its first instructor to be dismissed—in 1639 for overstrict discipline.[3] The school's first students were graduated in 1642. In 1665, Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, "from the Wampanoag ... did graduate from Harvard, the first Indian to do so in the colonial period."[4]

Lt Gov William Stoughton circa 1700 overlooking one of the buildings of Harvard College

At the time of Harvard's founding (as today) the colleges of England's Oxford and Cambridge were communities within the larger university, each an association of scholars (both established and aspiring) sharing room and board; Harvard's founders may have envisioned it as the first in a series of sibling colleges which, on the English model, would eventually constitute a university. Though no further "colleges" materialized, nonetheless as Harvard began granting higher degrees in the late eighteenth century it was increasingly styled Harvard University--even as Harvard College (in keeping with emerging American usage of that word) was increasingly thought of as the university's undergraduate division in particular.[citations needed throughout]

Today Harvard College is responsible for undergraduate admissions, advising, housing, student life, and athletics – generally all undergraduate matters except instruction, which is the purview of Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The body known as The President and Fellows of Harvard College retains its traditional name despite having governance of the entire University.

Historically open only to men, Harvard College and Harvard University are now both fully coeducational.

Academics

About 2100 students are admitted each year, representing between six and 10 percent of those applying; of those admitted approximately three-quarters choose to attend.[5][6][7][8] These figures make Harvard one of the most selective, amd most sought-after, colleges in the world.[citation needed] Very few transfer applications are accepted.[citation needed]

Most Harvard College graduates receive the Artium Baccalaureus (A.B.), normally completed in four years, though students completing substantial college-level coursework in high school can graduate in three. A smaller number receive the Scientiarum Baccalaureus (S.B.), normally requiring five years, and there are also special degree programs, such as a five-year program leading to both a Harvard undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Midway through the second year, most undergraduates join one of fifty standard fields of concentration (what most schools call an academic major); many also declare a secondary field (called minors elsewhere). Joint concentrations (combining the requirements of two standard concentrations) and special concentrations (of the student's own design) are also possible.[citation needed]

Undergraduates must also fulfill the General Education requirement of coursework in eight designated fields:

  • 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
  • United States in the World

Each student's exposure (via "Gen Ed") to a range of intellectual areas, while pursuing a chosen concentration in depth, fulfills the injunction of Harvard past-president Abbott Lawrence Lowell that each graduate should "know a little of everything, and one thing well."[9]

House system

Lowell House in autumn.

Nearly all Harvard undergraduates live on campus, for the first year in dormitories in or near Harvard Yard (see List of Harvard dormitories) and later in the Houses—administrative subdivisions of the College as well as living quarters, providing a sense of community in what might otherwise be a socially incohesive and administratively daunting university environment. Each house is presided over by a senior-faculty Master, while its Allston Burr Resident Dean (usually a junior faculty member) supervises undergraduates' day-to-day academic and disciplinary well-being. The Master and Resident Dean are assisted by other members of the Senior Common Room—select graduate students, faculty, and University officials brought into association with each house. Many of these graduate students (called tutors) live in the House, as do the Master and Resident Dean. (Terms such as Tutor, Senior Common Room and Junior Common Room—the House's undergraduate members—reflect the debt to the residential college systems at Oxford and Cambridge.)[10]

The House system was instituted by President Lowell in the 1930s to combat what he saw as pernicious social stratification engendered by the private, off-campus living arrangements of many Harvard undergraduates at that time. Lowell's solution was to provide on-campus accommodations to every student throughout his entire career in the College; Lowell also saw great benefits flowing from other features of the House system, such as the relaxed discussions (academic or otherwise) which he hoped would take place among undergraduates and members of the Senior Common Room over meals in each House's dining hall.[11]

An important change since Lowell's time concerns the way in which students are assigned to particular Houses. Under the original "draft" system, Masters agreed privately on the assignment of upcoming freshmen considered most—or least—promising.[citation needed] From the 1960s to the mid-1990s students ranked the Houses according to personal preference, with an impersonal lottery resolving the oversubscription of more popular houses. Today House assignments are essentially random.

South of Harvard Yard, near the Charles River, are the nine River Houses:

Construction of the first River houses began in early 1929.[12] The land on which they were built had been assembled decades before: Edward Waldo Forbes, grandson of Ralph Waldo Emerson, was inspired by the Oxford and Cambridge systems when he studied for two years in England after graduating from Harvard in 1895. On returning to the U.S., he set out to acquire such land between Harvard Yard and the Charles River as was not already in the hands of the university or an associated entity. By 1918 that ambition had been largely fulfilled and the assembled land transferred to Harvard.[13][14] The construction of the River houses was financed with a 1928 gift by Yale alumnus Edward Harkness. Harkness, who had been hoping to finance a similar project at Yale before school politics delayed the plan, visited Lowell in Cambridge in October 1928. He ultimately offered 11 million dollars towards the construction of the River houses.[12] [15] Two of the new houses, Dunster and Lowell, were completed in 1930.[12]

The three Quad Houses (in the Harvard—formerly Radcliffe—Quadrangle) enjoy a residential setting half a mile (800 m) northwest of Harvard Yard. These housed Radcliffe College students until Radcliffe merged its residential system with Harvard in 1977.[16] They are:

A thirteenth house, Dudley House, is nonresidential but fulfills, for some graduate students and the (very few) undergraduates living off campus, the administrative and social functions provided by the other twelve houses to their residents.

Harvard's residential houses are paired with Yale's residential colleges in sister relationships.

Athletics

By the late 19th century critics of intercollegiate athletics, including Harvard president Charles William Eliot, believed that sports competition had become over-commercialized and took students away from their studies, and they called for reform and limitations on all sports. This opposition prompted Harvard's athletic committee to target 'minor' sports—basketball and hockey—for reform and regulation in order to deflect attention from the major sports—football, baseball, track, and crew. The committee made it difficult for the basketball team to operate by denying financial assistance and limiting the number of overnight away games in which the team could participate. Several losing seasons, negative attitudes toward the commercialization of intercollegiate sports, and the need for reform contributed to basketball's demise at Harvard in 1909.[17]

Today, Harvard claims to be home to the largest Division I intercollegiate athletics program in the United States, with 41 varsity teams and over 1,500 student-athletes. Harvard is one of eight members of the Ivy League.

Harvard and Yale enjoy the oldest intercollegiate athletic rivalry in the United States, the Harvard-Yale Regatta, dating back to 1852, when rowing crews from each institution first met on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. Harvard won that contest by two boat lengths. Since 1859, the crews have met nearly every year (except during major wars). The race is typically held in early June in New London, Connecticut.

Better known is the annual Harvard-Yale football game, known to insiders of both institutions as simply, "The Game." It was first played in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1875. Harvard won the initial contest 4-0. In recent years, The Game is always played on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, making it one of many significant games played on "Rivalry Day."

Undergraduate organizations

Harvard has hundreds of undergraduate organizations.[citation needed] Every spring there is an "Arts First week," founded by John Lithgow during which arts and culture organizations show off performances, cook meals, or present other work; in 2005 over 40% of students participated in at least one Arts First event. Notable organizations include the student-run business organization Harvard Student Agencies, the daily newspaper The Harvard Crimson, the humor magazine the Harvard Lampoon, the a cappella groups the Din & Tonics and the Krokodiloes, and the public service umbrella organization the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA).

Publications and media

Many Harvard undergraduate publications and productions are distributed worldwide.

The Harvard Lampoon "castle" with its characteristic rooftop ibis and its purple and yellow door

Service

Political

  • The Harvard Undergraduate Council, elected by undergraduates, advocates on behalf of students, operates certain student services, and grants funds to other student organizations.
  • The Harvard Institute of Politics, a non-partisan living memorial to President John F. Kennedy that promotes public service and provides political opportunities[clarification needed] to undergraduates.
  • The Harvard College Democrats, the largest partisan political group on campus.[citation needed]
  • The Harvard Republican Club,[19]
  • The Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society fields one of the top intercollegiate debate teams in the world.[citation needed]
  • Harvard Model Congress, in which high school students from around the world conduct simulated sessions of the United States Congress
  • The Harvard International Relations Council promotes international awareness and sponsors a Model United Nations.

Performing arts

Opera companies
  • Lowell House Opera, the oldest continually performing opera company in New England.
  • The Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players, founded in 1956, performs comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan and by others.
Choral groups
A cappella groups
  • Harvard Krokodiloes, an all-male a cappella group, Harvard's oldest
  • Harvard Opportunes, Harvard's oldest mixed vocal a cappella group
  • Harvard Din & Tonics, an all-male a cappella group founded in 1979
  • Harvard LowKeys, mixed vocal, both male and female
  • Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones, mixed vocal, both male and female
  • Harvard Callbacks, mixed vocal, both male and female
  • Radcliffe Pitches, all-female a cappella group founded in 1975
  • Harvard's Under Construction, a mixed vocal Christian music a capella group founded in the early 1980s
  • Harvard Fallen Angels, an all-female a cappella group founded in 2000
  • 'Cliffe Notes- the contemporary a cappella subset of the Radcliffe Choral Society (Harvard's premier women's chorus est. 1899)
Orchestras and bands
Theater and dance
  • The Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club is an organization that connects smaller campus theater groups and supports all campus productions. The HRDC directly oversees productions within the Loeb Theater, which it shares with the nationally acclaimed American Repertory Theater. The HRDC also organizes seminars and workshops to connect students with professionals in the field.
  • Hasty Pudding Theatricals, known informally simply as The Pudding, is a theatrical student society at Harvard University, known for its burlesque musicals. They present original student-written and -composed musicals with near-professional production values. Formed in 1795 as a fraternity, the Pudding has performed a production every year since 1891, except during World Wars I and II. Each production is entirely student-written. Although the cast remains all-male (with female parts performed by actors in drag), women participate in the productions as members of the business staff, orchestra, and tech crew.
  • The Immediate Gratification Players (IGP), On Thin Ice (OTI), and Three Letter Acronym (TLA) are Harvard's three undergraduate improvisational comedy groups. The Immediate Gratification Players and On Thin Ice are among the oldest and most prestigious collegiate improv groups in the nation. Unlike many college troupes, all three groups' constitutions require they present all campus shows free of charge. Formed last year, Three Letter Acronym utilizes the "Harold" long-form format.
  • Harvard blackC.A.S.T. (Community and Student Theater) is Harvard's theater group dedicated to black theatrical production and fostering a black theater community on campus. Past productions include Amen Corner, Before it Hits Home, and The Colored Museum.
  • The Harvard-Radcliffe Dance Company
  • The Harvard Ballet Company
  • The Harvard Ballroom Team, one of the largest national collegiate ballroom teams
  • The Harvard Ballet Folklórico de Aztlán
  • Harvard Deepam performs Bharatanatyam
  • The Harvard Intertribal Indian Dance Troupe performs Native American powwow dances.
  • The Harvard Pan-African Dance and Music Ensemble is dedicated to raising awareness of the depth and diversity of African expressive culture through the performance of dance and music from all over the continent.
  • The Harvard Crimson Dance Team
Other
  • THUD (The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers), founded in 1999, known for their creative percussion performance with plastic SOLO cups, brooms, and traditional instruments
  • The Noteables, a non-audition group that performs revue-style musical theater

Academic organizations

  • Dynamo[20]
  • Harvard College Engineering Society[21]
  • Harvard College Stem Cell Society A student group dedicated to raising awareness about the ethics, politics, and science of stem cell research.
  • Women in Science at Harvard-Radcliffe

Pre-professional organizations

  • Harvard Student Agencies, a $6 million non-profit company -- students gain practical business experience while running divisions as varied as linen service, advertisment distribution, and computer programming.
  • Harvard College Consulting Group provides businesses with trained student analysts with term-time consulting projects.[22]
  • Veritas Financial Group helps prepare students for careers in finance
  • Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business
  • Harvard Financial Analysts Club[23] uses management of its own investment funds as a teaching vehicle.[24]
  • Harvard Investment Associatio' educates on investing and financial markets and provides opportunitiesTemplate:C;arify for investing experience.
  • The Harvard College Business Club uses online social networks to connect[clarification needed] undergraduates with business leaders and potential employers.
  • The Leadership Institute at Harvard College provides leadership training
  • Harvard College Engineering Society participates in competitions and promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration.[25]

Unrecognized student groups

Religious life

Chabad House

The Chabad House at Harvard is a community center for Jewish students operated by the Orthodox Jewish Chabad movement. Presently headed by Rabbi and Mrs. Hirsch and Rabbi and Mrs. Zarchi, it was founded in 1997.[26] According to Professor Ruth Wisse, its success is due to the personality and energy of Rabbi Zarchi.[27] The rabbis live at the Chabad House with their young children, which contributes to a warm family atmosphere at their Friday evening Shabbat dinners for students.[28] In April 2010 it placed a bid of $6 million to purchase the building of the former DU Club located at 45 Dunster Street from the Fly Club. The bid was reportedly more than twice the tax-assessed value of the building and land.[29]

Notable alumni

For more information see List of Harvard University people

Architecture
Art
Astronomy
Athletics
Business
Economics
Education
Journalism
Law
Literature
Mathematics
Performance arts - music, theater and film
Philosophy
Physics
Politics
Religion
Fictional alumni

Footnotes

  1. ^ Rudolph, Frederick (1961). The American College and University. University of Georgia Press. p. 3. ISBN 0820312851. 
  2. ^ Keller, Morton; Keller, Phyllis (2001). Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University. Oxford University Press. pp. 463–481. ISBN 0195144570. "Harvard's professional schools... won world prestige of a sort rarely seen among social institutions. (...) Harvard's age, wealth, quality, and prestige may well shield it from any conceivable vicissitudes." 
    Spaulding, Christina (1989). "Sexual Shakedown". In Trumpbour, John. How Harvard Rules: Reason in the Service of Empire. South End Press. pp. 326–336. ISBN 0896082849. "...[Harvard's] tremendous institutional power and prestige (...) Within the nation's (arguably) most prestigious institution of higher learning..." 
    Keller, Morton; Keller, Phyllis (2001). Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University. Oxford University Press. pp. 463–481. ISBN 0195144570. "Harvard's professional schools... won world prestige of a sort rarely seen among social institutions. (...) Harvard's age, wealth, quality, and prestige may well shield it from any conceivable vicissitudes." 
    Spaulding, Christina (1989). "Sexual Shakedown". In Trumpbour, John. How Harvard Rules: Reason in the Service of Empire. South End Press. pp. 326–336. ISBN 0896082849. "...[Harvard's] tremendous institutional power and prestige (...) Within the nation's (arguably) most prestigious institution of higher learning..." 
  3. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936 (1986)
  4. ^ Monaghan, E. J., 2005, p. 55, 59
  5. ^ Worland, Justin (31 March 2011). "Harvard Accepts Record Low 6.2 Percent of Applicants to the Class of 2015". The Crimson. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/3/31/percent-class-students-year/. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Jan, Tracy (30 March 2009). "Harvard admission rate dips to 7 percent". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/03/harvard_admissi.html. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Yield Holds Steady For 2013Harvard News Office
  8. ^ A record pool leads to a record-low admissions rateHarvard News Office
  9. ^ http://www.archive.org/stream/storyharvard00piergoog/storyharvard00piergoog_djvu.txt
  10. ^ Harvard College Office of Residential Life (2008). "History of the House System". http://www.orl.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k11447&tabgroupid=icb.tabgroup17718. Retrieved 2008-04-20. .
  11. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot (1936). Three Centuries of Harvard: 1636–1936. pp. 476–478. 
  12. ^ a b c Bethell, John (1998). Harvard Observed: An Illustrated History of the University in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0674377332. 
  13. ^ Lowe, Charles U. "The Forbes Story of the Harvard Riverside Associates: How Harvard Acquired the Land on which Lowell House was Built," February 20, 2002.lowell.harvard.edu
  14. ^ Sacks, Benjamin J. "Harvard's 'Constructed Utopia' and the Culture of Deception: the Expansion toward the Charles River, 1902-1932," The New England Quarterly 84.2 (June, 2011): 286-317.[1]
  15. ^ "Gifts - 1928-1929" (Press release). Harvard University News Office. June 20, 1929. HU 37.5, Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, Mass. "This figure [of gifts and legacies received during the year] includes $5,444,000 received from E. S. Harkness to defray the expenses of constructing the first Harvard houses."
  16. ^ Sofen, Adam A. "Radcliffe Enters Historic Merger With Harvard, April 21, 1999.[2]
  17. ^ Marc Horger, "A Victim of Reform: Why Basketball Failed at Harvard, 1900-1909," New England Quarterly 2005 78(1): 49-76,
  18. ^ Harvardyearbook.com
  19. ^ HCS.harvard.edu
  20. ^ HCS.harvard.edu
  21. ^ HCS.harvard.edu
  22. ^ Harvard College Consulting Group
  23. ^ Harvard Financial Analysts Club
  24. ^ Tara W Merrigan. "HFAC Gets Green Investment Grant". http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/2/5/fund-investment-hfac-roots. Retrieved 02-05-2010. 
  25. ^ Harvard College Engineering Society
  26. ^ Heilman, Samuel, and Friedman, Menachem, The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Princeton University Press, 2010
  27. ^ Fishkoff, Sue, The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, Random House, 2009
  28. ^ Steinberg, Avi, "Bringing comfort, joy to Harvard," A Boston Globe, December 12, 2004
  29. ^ Kolin, Danielle and Srivatsa, Naveen, "Fly Club May Sell Space Leased to the Bee", Harvard Crimson, April 28, 2010

General references

  • Gookin, Daniel, Historical Collections, 53: Railton, "Vineyard's First Harvard Men," 91-112.
  • King, Moses, Harvard and its surroundings, Cambridge, Massachusetts : Moses King, 1884
  • Monaghan, E. J. (2005). Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America University of Massachusetts Press. Boston: MA
  • Sibley's Harvard Graduates

External links

Coordinates: 42°22′26″N 71°07′01″W / 42.374°N 71.117°W / 42.374; -71.117


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