At a Glance
Student Population: 29,908
Undergraduate Population: 9,915
Student to Faculty Ratioa: 7
Total Annual Costc: $69,600
In-State Tuitionc: $44,990
Out-of-State Tuitionc: $44,990
Percent on Financial Aidd: 72%
Average Grant Aid Received (FT/First-Time): $46,044
Percent Admittede: 5%
SAT Composite Rangef: 1430-1600
ACT Composite Rangef: 32-35
Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in the country. Located in Cambridge, MA, Harvard has carried on a gold-standard tradition of quality academics and prestige for nearly four centuries. Its undergraduates can choose from 50 concentrations, take advantage of countless research opportunities, or delve into the books at the largest academic library in the world. Harvard students come from every American state and more than 80 foreign countries; the school’s admissions policy ensures that all admitted students will be able to afford their education. It has the largest academic endowment in the world, at $37.1 billion. Harvard places all freshmen in special dorms in and near Harvard Yard, then assigns them to one of 13 residential communities for their final three years. Among Harvard graduates are 48 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners. The school’s dropouts are equally distinguished: billionaires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, actor Matt Damon, and publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States’ oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world’s most prestigious universities. The university is often cited as the world’s top tertiary institution by most publishers.
The Harvard Corporation, chartered in 1650, is the governing body of Harvard. The early College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites. Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard was a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. A. Lawrence Lowell, who followed Eliot, further reformed the undergraduate curriculum and undertook aggressive expansion of Harvard’s land holdings and physical plant. James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.
The university is organized into eleven separate academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area: its 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Boston; the business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical, dental, and public health schools are in the Longwood Medical Area. Harvard’s endowment is worth $39.2 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Harvard is a large, highly residential research university. The nominal cost of attendance is high, but the university’s large endowment allows it to offer generous financial aid packages. The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic and private library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding over 18 million items.
Harvard’s alumni include eight U.S. presidents, more than thirty foreign heads of state, 62 living billionaires, 359 Rhodes Scholars, and 242 Marshall Scholars. As of October 2018, 158 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists, and 14 Turing Award winners have been affiliated as students, faculty, or researchers.In addition, Harvard students and alumni have won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold, 41 silver and 21 bronze), and have founded a large number of companies worldwide.
Harvard was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, who had left the school £779 and his scholar’s library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.
A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust”; in its early years trained many Puritan ministers. It offered a classic curriculum on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. It was never affiliated with any particular denomination, but many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.
The leading Boston divine Increase Mather served as president from 1685 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.
Throughout the 18th century, Enlightenment ideas of the power of reason and free will became widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties.:1–4 When the Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and the president of Harvard Joseph Willard died a year later, in 1804, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency of Harvard two years later, which signaled the changing of the tide from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas (defined by traditionalists as Unitarian ideas).:4–5:24
In 1846, the natural history lectures of Louis Agassiz were acclaimed both in New York and on the campus at Harvard College. Agassiz’s approach was distinctly idealist and posited Americans’ “participation in the Divine Nature” and the possibility of understanding “intellectual existences”. Agassiz’s perspective on science combined observation with intuition and the assumption that a person can grasp the “divine plan” in all phenomena. When it came to explaining life-forms, Agassiz resorted to matters of shape based on a presumed archetype for his evidence. This dual view of knowledge was in concert with the teachings of Common Sense Realism derived from Scottish philosophers Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart, whose works were part of the Harvard curriculum at the time. The popularity of Agassiz’s efforts to “soar with Plato” probably also derived from other writings to which Harvard students were exposed, including Platonic treatises by Ralph Cudworth, John Norris and, in a Romantic vein, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The library records at Harvard reveal that the writings of Plato and his early modern and Romantic followers were almost as regularly read during the 19th century as those of the “official philosophy” of the more empirical and more deistic Scottish school.
Charles W. Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. While Eliot was the most crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education, but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions. Derived from William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson, these convictions were focused on the dignity and worth of human nature, the right and ability of each person to perceive truth, and the indwelling God in each person.
During the 20th century, Harvard’s international reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate College expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as sister school of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.
In the early 20th century, the student body was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians”—a group later called “WASPs” (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). In 1923 a proposal by president A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from living in Harvard Yard; Lowell believed that “forcing” blacks and whites to live together “would increase a prejudice that … is most unfortunate and probably growing.” But by the 1970s, Harvard was much more diversified.
James Bryant Conant (president, 1933–1953) reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee its preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in the history of American education in the 20th century.
In 1945–1960 admissions policies were opened up to bring in students from a more diverse applicant pool. No longer drawing mostly from rich alumni of select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college was now open to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics or Asians.
Harvard graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century, and during World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard professors to repeat their lectures for women students) began attending Harvard classes alongside men, The first class of women was admitted to Harvard Medical School in 1945. Since the 1970s Harvard has been responsible for essentially all aspects of admission, instruction, and undergraduate life for women, and Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard in 1999.
Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard’s president on July 1, 2007. In February 2018, Lawrence Seldon Bacow was designated to take office as its 29th president on July 1, 2018.
Sourse by Forbes