Harvard University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a private Ivy League research university and one of the most prestigious universities known worldwide on account of its history, influence, and wealth. Founded by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education to be established in the United States and has a list of alumni that includes eight U.S. presidents and several more foreign heads of state. Named for John Harvard (the school’s first benefactor), in its early years, the college was lead by prominent members of the ministry, including leading Boston divine, Increase Mather, and was the training ground for many Puritan clergymen. It was not until 1708 when the school elected its first president who was not a member of the clergy, John Leverette, that the school began its shift in turning away from Puritanism and towards intellectual independence.
A global leader in education, Harvard naturally has much to offer in the area of academics. Over two hundred majors and degrees are offered through the university’s twelve degree-granting schools: Harvard Business School; Harvard College; Division of Continuing Education; Harvard School of Dental Medicine; Harvard Divinity School; Faculty of Arts & Sciences; Graduate School of Design; Harvard Graduate School of Education; Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Harvard Kennedy School; Harvard Law School; and Harvard Medical School. A large number of online degree and course options also exist, allowing student’s who desire a Harvard degree but are unable to attend physically to receive a premium education while maintaining maximum flexibility in their schedule and location.
Harvard University also boasts a number of laboratories, museums, and research centers. However, the university may be best known for housing the the largest academic and private library system in the world – Harvard Library. Comprised of nearly 80 individual libraries, Harvard’s Library boasts over 18 million volumes, including rare books, manuscripts and other special collections as well as a collection of America’s oldest maps, gazetteers, and atlases.
Harvard’s enrollment reaches over 28,000, including 18,000+ postgraduates. Known for low admittance rate of 6%, Harvard boasts high retention and graduation rates of 98%. Harvard’s student body is diverse, with students hailing from all around the world. Over 400 official student organizations exist and students’ remain active through volunteer organizations such as the PBHA; fostering entrepreneurial activities in the Harvard Innovation lab; and writing and editing for school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson or The Harvard Lampoon.
As an NCAA- Ivey League school, Harvard offers over 40 intercollegiate and the school maintains an intense athletic rivalry with Yale University, culminating in The Game, which is played at the end of the football season in November. Over the years, several fight songs have come out of Harvard, played especially during the football season, including ”Ten Thousand Men of Harvard” which is the best known.
As freshmen, students live in one of the dorms in Harvard Yard and take their meals in the historic and picturesque Annenberg dining hall. After their first year, 97% of students choose to remain on campus and live in one of 12 houses on campus, each of which has its own unique histories and traditions.