The "New College" came into existence in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court (colonial legislature, second oldest in British America) of the Massachusetts Bay Colony—though without a single building, instructor, or student. In 1638, the college became home for North America's first known printing press, carried by the ship John of London. Three years later the college was renamed in honor of deceased Charlestown minister John Harvard (1607–1638) who had bequeathed to the school his entire library and half of his monetary estate.
Harvard's first instructor, schoolmaster Nathaniel Eaton (1610–1674), was also its first instructor to be dismissed—in 1639 for overstrict discipline. The school's first students were graduated in 1642. In 1665, Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, (c. 1643-1666), a native/indigenous American, "from the Wampanoag ... did graduate from Harvard, the first Indian to do so in the colonial period."
Lt Gov William Stoughton, (1631-1701), Colonial Governor: 1694-99, 1700-01; 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 Universities 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.
About 2,100 students are admitted each year, representing between six and ten percent of those applying; of those admitted approximately three-quarters choose to attend. These figures make Harvard one of the most selective, and most sought-after, colleges in the world. Very few transfer applications are accepted.
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.
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
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."
The total annual cost of attendance (including room, and board) for 2009–2010 was $33,700. Under financial aid guidelines adopted in 2007, families with incomes below $60,000 will no longer pay anything for their children to attend, including room and board. Families with incomes between $60,000 to $80,000 pay only few thousand dollars a year, and families earning between $120,000 and $180,000 will pay no more than 10% of their annual income. In 2009, Harvard offered grants totaling $414 million across all eleven divisions; $340 million came from institutional funds, $35 million from federal support, and $39 million from other outside support. Grants total 88% of Harvard's aid for undergraduate students, with aid also provided by loans (8%) and work-study (4%).
Lowell House in autumn.
Nearly all undergraduates live on campus, for the first year in dormitories in or near Harvard Yard (see List of Harvard dormitories) and later in the upperclass 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 (called tutors), faculty, and University officials brought into voluntary association with each house. Many tutors reside 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 a debt to the residential college systems at Oxford and Cambridge from which Harvard's system took inspiration.)
The Houses were created 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 undergraduates at that time. Lowell's solution was to provide every man—Harvard was male-only at the time—with on-campus accommodations throughout his time at 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.
The way in which students come to live in particular Houses has changed greatly over time. Under the original "draft" system, Masters negotiated privately over the assignment of "rising sophomores" (that is, current freshmen, who will be sophomores in the coming academic year) considered most—or least—promising. From the 1960s to the mid-1990s each student ranked the Houses according to personal preference, with an impersonal lottery resolving the oversubscription of more popular houses. Today groups of one to eight freshman form a block which is then assigned, essentially at random, to an upperclass house.
South of Harvard Yard, near the Charles River, are the nine River Houses:
The construction of the River houses was financed largely by a 1928 gift from Yale alumnus Edward Harkness who, frustrated in his attempts to initiate a similar project at his alma mater, eventually offered 11 million dollars to Harvard. Two of the new houses, Dunster and Lowell, were completed in 1930.
Construction of the first River houses began in early 1929, but the land on which they were built had been assembled decades before. After graduating Harvard in 1895, Edward Waldo Forbes (grandson of Ralph Waldo Emerson) found himself inspired by the Oxford and Cambridge systems during two years of study in England; on returning to the United States he set out to acquire such land between Harvard Yard and the Charles River as was not already owned by Harvard or some associated entity. By 1918 that ambition had been largely fulfilled and the assembled land transferred to Harvard.
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.
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.
Today Harvard, one of the eight members of the Ivy League, claims[clarification needed] to have the largest Division I intercollegiate athletics program, with 41 varsity teams and over 1,500 student-athletes.
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Harvard has hundreds of undergraduate organizations. 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's "castle" features anthropomorphic eyes, nose, mouth, and bow-tie.
The Phillips Brooks House Association, an umbrella community service organization operating in Phillips Brooks House of Harvard Yard, consists of 78 program committees and over 1,800 student volunteers, and serves close to 10,000 clients in the Cambridge and Boston area.
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
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
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
Harvard Student Agencies, a $6 million non-profit company—students gain practical business experience while running divisions as varied as linen service, advertisement distribution, computer programming, and tutoring.
Harvard College Consulting Group provides businesses with trained student analysts with term-time consulting projects.
Veritas Financial Group helps prepare students for careers in finance
Harvard Smart Woman Securities
Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business
Harvard Financial Analysts Club uses management of its own investment funds as a teaching vehicle.
Harvard Investment Association educates on investing and financial markets and provides opportunities[clarification needed] for investing experience.
The Harvard College Business Club uses online social networks to connect[clarification needed] undergraduates with business leaders and potential employers.
The Chabad House at Harvard is a community center for Jewish students operated by the Orthodox JewishChabad movement. Presently headed by Rabbi and Mrs. Hirsch and Rabbi and Mrs. Zarchi, it was founded in 1997. According to Professor Ruth Wisse, its success is due to the personality and energy of Rabbi Zarchi. 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. 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.
^Rudolph, Frederick (1961). The American College and University. University of Georgia Press. p. 3. ISBN0-8203-1285-1.
^Keller, Morton; Keller, Phyllis (2001). Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University. Oxford University Press. pp. 463–481. ISBN0-19-514457-0. "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. ISBN0-89608-284-9. "...[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. ISBN0-19-514457-0. "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. ISBN0-89608-284-9. "...[Harvard's] tremendous institutional power and prestige (...) Within the nation's (arguably) most prestigious institution of higher learning..."
^Hu, Melody Y.; Newcomer, Eric P. (March 24, 2010). "Administrators Discuss College Honor Code". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved September 15, 2013. ""...one thing remains certain: many College administrators are looking for a way to combat academic dishonesty at Harvard—which Harris recently called a real problem"..."
^Harrington, Rebecca (September 14, 2012). "Song of the Cheaters". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2013. ""...an honor code, a system ... Harvard has long resisted"
^Morison, Samuel Eliot (1936). Three Centuries of Harvard: 1636–1936. pp. 476–478.
^ abcBethell, John (1998). Harvard Observed: An Illustrated History of the University in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN978-0-674-37733-2.
^"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."
^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
^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.
^Sofen, Adam A. "Radcliffe Enters Historic Merger With Harvard, April 21, 1999.
^Marc Horger, "A Victim of Reform: Why Basketball Failed at Harvard, 1900-1909," New England Quarterly 2005 78(1): 49-76,