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Harvard University

Harvard University is an American private Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College) chartered in the country. Harvard's history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard. Although never formally affiliated with a church, the college primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy. Harvard's curriculum and students became secular throughout the 18th century and by the 19th century had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites.Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's forty year tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a centralized research university, and Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.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. Drew Gilpin Faust was elected the 28th president in 2007 and is the first woman to lead the university. Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world, standing at $32 billion as of September 2011.

The university comprises eleven separate academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area.Harvard's 210-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 km) northwest of downtown Boston. The business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in Allston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are located in the Longwood Medical Area.

As of 2010, Harvard employs about 2,100 faculty to teach and advise approximately 6,700 undergraduates (Harvard College) and 14,500 graduate and professional students.Eight U.S. presidents have been graduates, and 75 Nobel Laureates have been student, faculty, or staff affiliates. Harvard is also the alma mater of sixty-two living billionaires, the most in the country.The Harvard University Library is the largest academic library in the United States, and one of the largest in the world.

The Harvard Crimson competes in 41 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division I Ivy League. Harvard has an intense athletic rivalry with Yale University traditionally culminating in The Game, although the Harvard–Yale Regatta predates the football game. This rivalry, though, is put aside every two years when the Harvard and Yale Track and Field teams come together to compete against a combined Oxford University and Cambridge University team, a competition that is the oldest continuous international amateur competition in the world.

Recent history

President Lawrence Summers resigned his presidency in 2006. His resignation came just one week before a second planned vote of no confidence by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Former president Derek Bok served as interim president. Members of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which instructs graduate students in GSAS and undergraduates in Harvard College, had passed an earlier motion of "lack of confidence" in Summers' leadership on March 15, 2005 by a 218–185 vote, with 18 abstentions. The 2005 motion was precipitated by comments about the causes of gender demographics in academia made at a closed academic conference and leaked to the press.In response, Summers convened two committees to study this issue: the Task Force on Women Faculty and the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering. Summers had also pledged $50 million to support their recommendations and other proposed reforms. Drew Gilpin Faust is the 28th president of Harvard. An American historian, former dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Lincoln Professor of History at Harvard University, Faust is the first female president in the university's history.

Organization and administration

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is primarily responsible for instruction in Harvard College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, which includes Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension School. There is also the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Harvard is governed by a combination[ of its Board of Overseers and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (also known as the Harvard Corporation), which in turn appoints the President of Harvard University. There are 16,000 staff and faculty.

A faculty of approximately 2,410 professors, lecturers, and instructors serve as of school year 2009–10,with 7,180 undergraduate and 13,830 graduate students.The school color is 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, although the association with some form of red can be traced back to 1858, when Charles William Eliot, a young graduate student who would later become Harvard's 21st and longest-serving president (1869–1909), bought red bandanas for his crew so they could more easily be distinguished by spectators at a regatta.

Joint programs with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology include the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, the Broad Institute, and The Observatory of Economic Complexity.


Map showing the architects and dates of construction for the buildings of the main campus near Harvard square, as of 2005. Information on other notable nearby buildings is also included.

Harvard's 210-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 km) northwest of downtown Boston and extends into the surrounding Harvard Square neighborhood. Harvard Yard itself contains the central administrative offices and main libraries of the university, academic buildings including Sever Hall and University Hall, Memorial Church, and the majority of the freshman dormitories. Sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates live in twelve residential Houses, nine of which are south of Harvard Yard along or near the Charles River. The other three are located in a residential neighborhood half a mile northwest of the Yard at the Quadrangle (commonly referred to as the Quad), which formerly housed Radcliffe College students until Radcliffe merged its residential system with Harvard. The Harvard MBTA station provides public transportation via bus service and the Red Line subway.

The Harvard Business School and many of the university's athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located on a 359-acre (145 ha) campus opposite the Cambridge campus in Allston. The John W. Weeks Bridge is a pedestrian bridge over the Charles River connecting both campuses. The Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health are located on a 22-acre (8.9 ha) campus in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area approximately 3.3 miles (5.3 km) southwest of downtown Boston and 3.3 miles (5.3 km) south of the Cambridge campus.A private shuttle bus connects the Longwood campus to the Cambridge campus via Massachusetts Avenue making stops in the Back Bay and at MIT as well.

Each residential house contains rooms for undergraduates, House masters, and resident tutors, as well as a dining hall, library, and various other student facilities. The facilities were made possible by a gift from Yale University alumnus Edward Harkness.

Radcliffe Yard, formerly the center of the campus of Radcliffe College (and now home of the Radcliffe Institute), is adjacent to the Graduate School of Education and the Cambridge Common.

From 2006 - 2008, Harvard University reported on-campus crime statistics that included 48 forcible sex offenses, 10 robberies, 15 aggravated assaults, 750 burglaries, and 12 cases of motor vehicle theft.


Harvard is a large, highly residential research university.The university has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1929.The university offers 46 undergraduate concentrations (majors),134 graduate degrees,and 32 professional degrees.For the 2008–2009 academic year, Harvard granted 1,664 baccalaureate degrees, 400 masters degrees, 512 doctoral degrees, and 4,460 professional degrees.

The four year, full-time undergraduate program comprises a minority of enrollments at the university and emphasizes instruction with an "arts & sciences focus".Between 1978 and 2008, entering students were required to complete a "Core Curriculum" of seven classes outside of their concentration.Since 2008, undergraduate students have been required to complete courses in eight General Education categories: 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, and United States in the World.Harvard offers a comprehensive doctoral graduate program and there is a high level of coexistence between graduate and undergraduate degrees.The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, The New York Times, and some students have criticized Harvard for its reliance on teaching fellows for some aspects of undergraduate education; they consider this to adversely affect the quality of education.

Harvard's academic programs operate on a semester calendar beginning in early September and ending in mid-May.Undergraduates typically take four half-courses per term and must maintain a four-course rate average to be considered full-time.In many concentrations, students can elect to pursue a basic program or an honors-eligible program requiring a senior thesis and/or advanced course work. Students graduating in the top 4-5% of the class are awarded degrees summa cum laude, students in the next 15% of the class are awarded magna cum laude, and the next 30% of the class are awarded cum laude.Harvard has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa and various committees and departments also award several hundred named prizes annually.Harvard, along with other universities, has been accused of grade inflation,although there is evidence that the quality of the student body and its motivation have also increased.Harvard College reduced the number of students who receive Latin honors from 90% in 2004 to 60% in 2005. Moreover, the honors of "John Harvard Scholar" and "Harvard College Scholar" will now be given only to the top 5 percent and the next 5 percent of each class.

Undergraduate tuition for the 2009–2010 school year was $33,696 and the total cost with fees, room, and board was $48,868.Under financial aid guidelines adopted in 2007, parents in families with incomes of less than $60,000 will no longer be expected to contribute any money to the cost of attending Harvard for their children, including room and board. Families with incomes in the $60,000 to $80,000 range contribute an amount of only a few thousand dollars a year. In December 2007, Harvard announced that families earning between $120,000 and $180,000 will only have to pay up to 10% of their annual household income towards tuition.In 2009, Harvard offered grants totaling $414.1 million across all 11 divisions; $339.5 million came from institutional funds, $35.3 million from federal support, and $39.2 million from other outside support. Grants total 87.7% of Harvard's aid for undergraduate students, with aid also provided by loans (8.4%) and work-study (3.9%).


In the last six years, Harvard's student population ranged between 19,000 and 21,000, across all programs. Harvard enrolled 6,655 students in undergraduate programs, 3,738 students in graduate programs, and 10,722 students in professional programs.The undergraduate population is 51% female, the graduate population is 48% female, and the professional population is 49% female.

Undergraduate admission to Harvard is characterized by the Carnegie Foundation as "more selective, lower transfer-in".Harvard College received 27,462 applications for admission to the Class of 2013, 2,175 were admitted (7.9%), and 1,658 enrolled (76.2%).The interquartile range on the SAT was 2080–2370 and 95% of first year students graduated in the top tenth of their high school class.Harvard also enrolled 266 National Merit Scholars, the most in the nation.88% of students graduate within 4 years and 98% graduate within 6 years.

Harvard College accepted 6.9% of applicants for the class of 2014, a record low for the school's entire history.The number of acceptances was lower for the class of 2013 partially because the university anticipated increased rates of enrollment after announcing a large increase in financial aid in 2008.[Harvard College ended its early admissions program in 2007 as the program was believed to disadvantage low-income and under-represented minority applicants applying to selective universities. For the Class of 2016 an Early Decision program was reintroduced. The undergraduate admissions office's preference for children of alumni policies have been the subject of scrutiny and debate as it primarily aids whites and the wealthy and seems to conflict with the concept of meritocratic admissions.


Harvard's athletic rivalry with Yale is intense in every sport in which they meet, coming to a climax each fall in their annual football meeting, which dates back to 1875 and is usually called simply "The Game". While Harvard's football team is no longer one of the country's best as it often was a century ago during football's early days (it won the Rose Bowl in 1920), both it and Yale have influenced the way the game is played. In 1903, Harvard Stadium introduced a new era into football with the first-ever permanent reinforced concrete stadium of its kind in the country. The stadium's structure actually played a role in the evolution of the college game. Seeking to reduce the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries in the sport, the Father of Football, Walter Camp (former captain of the Yale football team), suggested widening the field to open up the game. But the state-of-the-art Harvard Stadium was too narrow to accommodate a wider playing surface. So, other steps had to be taken. Camp would instead support revolutionary new rules for the 1906 season. These included legalizing the forward pass, perhaps the most significant rule change in the sport's history.

Harvard has several athletic facilities, such as the Lavietes Pavilion, a multi-purpose arena and home to the Harvard basketball teams. The Malkin Athletic Center, known as the "MAC", serves both as the university's primary recreation facility and as a satellite location for several varsity sports. The five story building includes two cardio rooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a smaller pool for aquaerobics and other activities, a mezzanine, where all types of classes are held at all hours of the day, and an indoor cycling studio, three weight rooms, and a three-court gym floor to play basketball. The MAC also offers personal trainers and specialty classes. The MAC is also home to Harvard volleyball, fencing, and wrestling. The offices of several of the school's varsity coaches are also in the MAC.

Weld Boathouse and Newell Boathouse house the women's and men's rowing teams, respectively. The men's crew also uses the Red Top complex in Ledyard, Connecticut, as their training camp for the annual Harvard-Yale Regatta. The Bright Hockey Center hosts the Harvard hockey teams, and the Murr Center serves both as a home for Harvard's squash and tennis teams as well as a strength and conditioning center for all athletic sports.

As of 2006, there were 41 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than at any other NCAA Division I college in the country. As with other Ivy League universities, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships. Older than The Game by 23 years, the Harvard-Yale Regatta was the original source of the athletic rivalry between the two schools. It is held annually in June on the Thames River in eastern Connecticut. The Harvard crew is typically considered to be one of the top teams in the country in rowing. Today, Harvard fields top teams in several other sports, such as the Harvard Crimson men's ice hockey team (with a strong rivalry against Cornell), squash, and even recently won NCAA titles in Men's and Women's Fencing. Harvard also won the Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships in 2003.

Harvard's men's ice hockey team won the school's first NCAA Championship in any team sport in 1989. Harvard was also the first Ivy League institution to win a NCAA championship title in a women's sport when its women's lacrosse team won the NCAA Championship in 1990. Harvard Undergraduate Television has footage from historical games and athletic events including the 2005 pep-rally before the Harvard-Yale Game. Harvard's official athletics website has more comprehensive information about Harvard's athletic facilities.

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