When you read or hear the word HARVARD it conjures up many diverse images. Its history, its achievements, its influence, its famous people.
Most people can recall that the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620. In the year 1630 Harvard College, which was later changed to Harvard University, was founded under the auspicious of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There were nine students in the first class. By the way, the word Massachusetts is an Indian word that means “large hill place.” Subtract the founding date from 2015 and we get the age of the University.
The University was named after John Harvard who had emigrated from England. He was a very wealthy man. At his death his will left 274 books from his library to the University and half of his wealth including his land in England. The money was used to build the first building on the campus. Obviously it is the oldest academic institution in the United States.
There are very few Universities in the U. S. that are more famous than the city they are in. Harvard, Notre Dame, and Stanford University are much more famous than Cambridge, Massachusetts, South Bend, Indiana and Palo Alto, California.
Currently Harvard has a student body of about 30,000 of which 51% are male. It has a living endowment of approximately thirty five billion dollars.
A little known fact is that at the height of the Revolutionary War (1775) the trustees of the University thought it was wise to move the University temporarily to the City of Concord, a few miles north of Cambridge. It was only temporary and was moved back to the original location after the war.
The influence of Harvard is astounding. There have been eight Presidents of the United States who have graduated from Harvard. These include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
There also have been scores of famous men and women who have either graduated or attended Harvard. Including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Bill Gates, Conan O’ Brien, Bill O’Reilly, Tyra Banks, Matt Damon, Al Gore, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Kennedy, Ralph Nader, Buckminster Fuller, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Kennedy, Robert R. Glauber, Michael Crichton, Lou Dobbs, Leonard Bernstein, Jack Lemmon, Marc J. Shapiro, Abigail Johnson, Kenneth C. Frazier, David Rockefeller, Al Franken, Ben Bernanke, and Barney Frank.
These are a few of the better known athletes. Most of those who became well known in sports were in the field of hockey, rowing, and Olympic competition in track. To name a few Dick Button, Clifton Dawson, John Dockery, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bobby Jones, Marv Levy, and Jeremy Lin.
At one time or another there have been seventy six graduates that were Governors of their States. Currently there are thirty three Representatives in Congress and fifteen Senators that are Harvard graduates.
Again currently six of the Judges on the Supreme Court are graduates of Harvard.
Another interesting fact about Harvard that isn’t known is that there are nineteen Kings or Prime Ministers from other countries that have been graduates from Harvard. The countries are as diverse as Mexico, Israel and Thailand.
In considering the influence of Harvard University, it is interesting to note the great number of graduates that went into politics and law. Also in the field of business, primarily in banking and investments. Without mentioning their names it is remarkable that many of the billionaires in our country were students or graduates of Harvard.
Of particular interest is the fact that Harvard was one of the first Universities to offer scholarships to minorities.
Harvard, for the last 380 years has significantly enhanced the world of education.
Amen Selah. So be it.