America’s first college maintains its prestige

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"Harvard U" by Restless Journeyman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Harvard offers old world values with new world research.

Valeria Perez, Staff Writer

Harvard University is considered a dream destination for students worldwide. It is the oldest college in America, founded in 1663, part of the Ivy League conference established in 1954 and made up of eight private universities known for their academic excellence.

Harvard features over 88 undergraduate fields of study and over 50 graduate programs. The school wants to have qualified students attend and they make it possible financially. “We make a promise to every admitted student: your financial circumstances will not keep you from Harvard,” they share on their website college.harvard.edu. They are true to their goals, too, since 20% of Harvard families are on full scholarships, 55% are on partial Harvard scholarships. Their goal is that 100% of students can graduate without debt and  the average parental contribution is $12k.

According to US News and World Report, “The most popular majors at Harvard University include: Social Sciences, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Mathematics, General; Physical Sciences; and History, General. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 97%.”

Not only is Harvard the oldest college in America, but the library is one of the biggest library systems in America. It accommodates 3.5 million books and 57 miles of shelves with an underground section that’s four floors down.

Harvard’s mascot is John Harvard, the Pilgrim, named for the minister who provided an endowment on the university. It is unusual that it shares the name with the university, but Harvard has never been common.

According to mascotpassion.com, “Crimson was designated the official color back in 1910 following a vote by the Harvard Corporation. As to why crimson was chosen, the story goes that two rowers, Benjamin W. Crowninshield of Class 1858 and Charles W. Eliot of Class 1853, gave crimson scarves to their teammates so the people watching could tell the Harvard team apart from the others during the 1858 regatta. Eliot would go on to become the 21st president of Harvard, and when he stepped down, crimson was voted as the official color.” Sometimes, the teams claim the color rather than the human as their representative identification.

One of Harvard’s great traditions is the game against Yale, an annual football game that matches two of the oldest schools in the Ivy League. Their first game was in 1875 and, while it is important to the school, football is only one of 42 intercollegiate sports that is offered at the university.

Some of the most famous alumni are W.E.B. DuBois, Helen Keller, Yo-yo Ma, Gertrude Stein and Henry David Thoreau. Famous drop-outs include Bill Gates and William Randolph Hearst.

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