Harvard University–which is commonly referred to simply as Harvard–is a private, not-for-profit Ivy League research university which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and which was originally established in 1636. Harvard today is one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, the oldest university located within the United States and the University is a member of the Colonial Colleges. Harvard is one of seven of the nine-member Colonial Colleges which was established de novo, which is to say that it was not created from a predecessor institution or parent organization.
In the early years of the university’s life, Harvard provided a higher education mainly to Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy, despite not maintaining an official religious affiliation. Through Harvard’s long history, the University has undergone many changes and has seen tremendous growth, much of which can be attributed to the transformative years that Charles W. Eliot’s served as the university’s president. During President Eliot’s long tenure (having acted as the university’s president from 1869 to 1909) Harvard University was reimagined from its early roots into a modernized and preeminent research university.
Harvard University is separated into 13 different colleges and schools and 11 graduate and professional institutes, which provides the school’s more than 20,000 enrolled students with a variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs spanning across many areas-of-study. Harvard University also operates the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Washington D.C.), the Harvard Forest (Petersham, Massachusetts), the Concord Field Station in Estabrook Woods (Concord, Massachusetts), the Villa I Tatti Research Center (Florence, Italy) and the Harvard Shanghai Center (Pudong District, Shanghai, China).
Harvard University is not the only attraction that Cambridge, Massachusetts boasts. There are numerous things to see and do, which will appeal to many interests, making it a great place to visit for a wide demographic. Two of the many available attractions are:
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology was founded in 1866 and is one of the oldest and largest museums which focuses on anthropology. The museum is home to numerous exhibits and collections, many of which are concerned with the ethnography and archaeology of North and South America. The museum’s collection houses more than 1.2 million objects, including a collection of 2,000 maps and an assemblage of around 500,000 photographs. The museum is affiliated with Harvard University and is one of the four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture which are open to the public.
The “If This House Could Talk” event is an oral history-inspired community-based public art walk event which is held yearly in Cambridge. The goal of the event is to gather and present local history and historical anecdotes of the surrounding communities through a collaborative effort. It revolves around the area’s residents and local businesses posting hand-written signs and graphics in front of their homes and businesses which are used to tell various stories and to provide viewers with information about recent and past events.
Harvard University Online Degrees and Programs:
Harvard University offers many fully online and asynchronous certificate-granting and credit-granting programs and courses for distance learning students to enroll in. Harvard’s undergraduate degree-granting programs and graduate degree-granting programs are only available in a Blended format (mostly online, but requiring some on-campus work to be completed). The programs available include:
In addition to these programs, Harvard also offers a selection Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that students can use to supplement their education or to learn about something new. These course are available through EdX.
What Makes Harvard University Unique: Prestige, Influence and Affluence
Harvard University, in addition to being the oldest university in the nation, is also one of the most prestigious and influential universities and has the largest total university endowment in the world, having received more than $36 billion USD in the 2015-2016 school year, more than $11 billion USD more than the next largest university endowment recipient (Yale University). It would be hard for one to imagine that there is more than a minuscule percentage of the people in the nation that have not heard of Harvard University. Whether through a desire to attend the university, having heard of the many accomplishments the university and the university’s alumni have achieved or simply because of pop culture references, one can not deny that Harvard is highly renowned. The university is so distinguished that it has become a shorthand term for both affluence and influence in society to such an extent that the highly-intelligent archetype character being a graduate of Harvard which is prevalent in various forms of fictional works can easily be viewed as the character designer having to–or opting to–exploit a clichéd trope; as they are essentially evoking the connotations of a Harvard education as a storytelling crutch on which to lean.
Other Harvard University Facts:
Over the years, Harvard University has produced many renowned and reputable alumni that have gone on to achieve many great accomplishments. Some notable Harvard University alumni include:
John Adams – 2nd President of the United States;
John Quincy Adams – 6th President of the United States;
Rutherford B. Hayes – 19th President of the United States;
Theodore Roosevelt – 26th President of the United States;
Franklin D. Roosevelt – 32nd President of the United States;
John F. Kennedy – 35th President of the United States;
George W. Bush – 43rd President of the United States;
Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States;
Mark Zuckerberg – co-founder of Facebook and;
T. S. Eliot – poet and Nobel Prize winner in Literature