Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. About 2,400 faculty members and more than 10,400 academic appointments in affiliated teaching hospitals. More than 323,000 living alumni, over 271,000 in the U.S., nearly 52,000 in some 201 other countries.
The Harvard Library—the largest academic library in the world—includes 18.9 million volumes, 174,000 serial titles, an estimated 400 million manuscript items, 10 million photographs, 56 million archived web pages, and 5.4 terabytes of born-digital archives and manuscripts. Access to this rich collection is provided by nearly 1,000 library staff members who operate more than 70 separate library units.
Harvard University is made up of 11 principal academic units – ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The ten faculties oversee schools and divisions that offer courses and award academic degrees.
The title of University Professor was created in 1935 to honor individuals whose groundbreaking work crosses the boundaries of multiple disciplines, allowing them to pursue research at any of Harvard’s Schools. View the list of University Professors.
Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.
Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.
After George Washington’s Continental Army forced the British to leave Boston in March 1776, the Harvard Corporation and Overseers voted on April 3, 1776, to confer an honorary degree upon the general, who accepted it that very day (probably at his Cambridge headquarters in Craigie House). Washington next visited Harvard in 1789, as the first U.S. president.
The name Harvard comes from the college’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown. Upon his death in 1638, he left his library and half his estate to the institution established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Harvard University (comprising the undergraduate college, the graduate schools, other academic bodies, research centers and affiliated institutions) does not have a formal mission statement.
The mission of Harvard College is to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. We do this through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education.
The Harvard Campaign is designed to embrace the future and to ensure Harvard’s leadership as it approaches its fifth century of education and inquiry in the pursuit of enduring truth.
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