Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established in 1636. Its history, influence and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Established originally by the Massachusetts legislature and soon thereafter named for John Harvard (its first benefactor), Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and the Harvard Corporation (formally, the President and Fellows of Harvard College) is its first chartered corporation. Although never formally affiliated with any denomination, the early College primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites. Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard was a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.
The University is organized into eleven separate academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area: its 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Boston; the business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are in the Longwood Medical Area. Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world, standing at $36.4 billion.
Harvard is a large, highly residential research university. The nominal cost of attendance is high, but the University's large endowment allows it to offer generous financial aid packages. It operates several arts, cultural, and scientific museums, alongside the Harvard Library, which is the world's largest academic and private library system, comprising 79 individual libraries with over 18 million volumes. Harvard's alumni include eight U.S. presidents, several foreign heads of state, 62 living billionaires, and 335 Rhodes Scholars. To date, some 150 Nobel laureates and 5 Fields Medalists (when awarded) have been affiliated as students, faculty, or staff.
Harvard was formed in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was initially called "New College" or "the college at New Towne". In 1638, the college became home for North America's first known printing press, carried by the ship John of London. In 1639, the college was renamed Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, who was an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. He had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 books. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.
In the early years the College trained many Puritan ministers. The college offered a classic academic course based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but one consistent with the prevailing Puritan philosophy. The college was never affiliated with any particular denomination, but many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches throughout New England. An early brochure, published in 1643, described the founding of the college as a response to the desire "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches".
The leading Boston divine Increase Mather served as president from 1685 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, which marked a turning of the college toward intellectual independence from Puritanism.
Throughout the 18th century, Enlightenment ideas of the power of reason and free will became widespread among Congregationalist ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties.:1–4 When the Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and the president of Harvard Joseph Willard died a year later, in 1804, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency of Harvard two years later, which signaled the changing of the tide from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas (defined by traditionalists as Unitarian ideas).:4–5:24
In 1846, the natural history lectures of Louis Agassiz were acclaimed both in New York and on the campus at Harvard College. Agassiz's approach was distinctly idealist and posited Americans' "participation in the Divine Nature" and the possibility of understanding "intellectual existences". Agassiz's perspective on science combined observation with intuition and the assumption that a person can grasp the "divine plan" in all phenomena. When it came to explaining life-forms, Agassiz resorted to matters of shape based on a presumed archetype for his evidence. This dual view of knowledge was in concert with the teachings of Common Sense Realism derived from Scottish philosophers Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart, whose works were part of the Harvard curriculum at the time. The popularity of Agassiz's efforts to "soar with Plato" probably also derived from other writings to which Harvard students were exposed, including Platonic treatises by Ralph Cudworth, John Norrisand, in a Romantic vein, Samuel Coleridge. The library records at Harvard reveal that the writings of Plato and his early modern and Romantic followers were almost as regularly read during the 19th century as those of the "official philosophy" of the more empirical and more deistic Scottish school.
Charles W. Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. While Eliot was the most crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education, but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions. Derived from William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson, these convictions were focused on the dignity and worth of human nature, the right and ability of each person to perceive truth, and the indwelling God in each person.
During the 20th century, Harvard's international reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university's scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate College expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as sister school of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.
In the early 20th century, the student body was predominately "old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians"—a group later called "WASPs" (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. By the 1970s it was much more diversified.
James Bryant Conant (president, 1933–1953) reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee its preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in the history of American education in the 20th century.
In 1945–1960 admissions policies were opened up to bring in students from a more diverse applicant pool. No longer drawing mostly from rich alumni of select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college was now open to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics or Asians.
Women remained segregated at Radcliffe, though more and more took Harvard classes. Nonetheless, Harvard's undergraduate population remained predominantly male, with about four men attending Harvard College for every woman studying at Radcliffe. Following the merger of Harvard and Radcliffe admissions in 1977, the proportion of female undergraduates steadily increased, mirroring a trend throughout higher education in the United States. Harvard's graduate schools, which had accepted females and other groups in greater numbers even before the college, also became more diverse in the post-World War II period.
In 1999, Radcliffe College, founded in 1879 as the "Harvard Annex for Women", merged formally with Harvard University, becoming the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
In 2006, Lawrence Summers resigned his presidency after suggesting that women's underrepresentation in top science positions was due to differences in "intrinsic aptitude". Subsequently, Drew Gilpin Faust, the Dean at Radcliffe, became the first female president of Harvard in 2007.
Harvard's 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, about 3 miles (4.8 km) west-northwest of the State House in downtown Boston, and extends into the surrounding Harvard Square neighborhood. Harvard Yard itself contains the central administrative offices and main libraries of the university, academic buildings including Sever Hall and University Hall, Memorial Church, and the majority of the freshman dormitories. Sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates live in twelve residential Houses, nine of which are south of Harvard Yard along or near the Charles River. The other three are located in a residential neighborhood half a mile northwest of the Yard at the Quadrangle (commonly referred to as the Quad), which formerly housed Radcliffe College students until Radcliffe merged its residential system with Harvard. The Harvard MBTA station provides public transportation via bus service and the Red Line subway.
The Harvard Business School and many of the university's athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located on a 358-acre (145 ha) campus opposite the Cambridge campus in Allston. The John W. Weeks Bridge is a pedestrian bridge over the Charles River connecting both campuses. The Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health are located on a 21-acre (8.5 ha) campus in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area approximately 3.3 miles (5.3 km) southwest of downtown Boston and 3.3 miles (5.3 km) south of the Cambridge campus. A private shuttle bus connects the Longwood campus to the Cambridge campus via Massachusetts Avenue making stops in the Back Bay and at MIT as well.
Each residential house contains rooms for undergraduates, House masters, and resident tutors, as well as a dining hall and library. The facilities were made possible by a gift from Yale University alumnus Edward Harkness.
Radcliffe Yard, formerly the center of the campus of Radcliffe College (and now home of the Radcliffe Institute), is adjacent to the Graduate School of Education and the Cambridge Common.
Between 2011 and 2013, Harvard University reported crime statistics for its main Cambridge campus that included 104 forcible sex offenses, 55 robberies, 83 aggravated assaults, 89 burglaries, and 43 cases of motor vehicle theft.
Apart from its major Cambridge/Allston and Longwood campuses, Harvard owns and operates Arnold Arboretum, in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston; the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, in Washington, D.C.; the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts; the Concord Field Station in Estabrook Woods in Concord, Massachusetts and the Villa I Tatti research center in Florence, Italy. Harvard also operates the Harvard Shanghai Center in China.
Major campus expansion
Harvard has purchased tracts of land in Allston, a walk across the Charles River from Cambridge, with the intent of major expansion southward. The university now owns approximately fifty percent more land in Allston than in Cambridge. Proposals to connect the Cambridge campus with the new Allston campus include new and enlarged bridges, a shuttle service and/or a tram. Plans also call for sinking part of Storrow Drive (at Harvard's expense) for replacement with park land and pedestrian access to the Charles River, as well as the construction of bike paths, and buildings throughout the Allston campus. The institution asserts that such expansion will benefit not only the school, but surrounding community, pointing to such features as the enhanced transit infrastructure, possible shuttles open to the public, and park space which will also be publicly accessible.
One of the foremost driving forces for Harvard's pending expansion is its goal of increasing the scope and strength of its science and technology programs. The university plans to construct two 500,000 square foot (50,000 m²) research complexes in Allston, which would be home to several interdisciplinary programs, including the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and an enlarged Engineering department.
In addition, Harvard intends to relocate the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard School of Public Health to Allston. The university also plans to construct several new undergraduate and graduate student housing centers in Allston, and it is considering large-scale museums and performing arts complexes as well.
Organisation and administration
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The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has primary responsibility for instruction in Harvard College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, which includes Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension School. There is also the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Harvard is governed by a combination[clarification needed] of its Board of Overseers and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (also known as the Harvard Corporation), which in turn appoints the President of Harvard University. There are 16,000 staff and faculty.
Harvard's 2,400 professors, lecturers, and instructors instruct 7,200 undergraduates and 14,000 graduate students. The school color is crimson, which is also the name of the Harvard sports teams and the daily newspaper, The Harvard Crimson. The color was unofficially adopted (in preference to magenta) by an 1875 vote of the student body, although the association with some form of red can be traced back to 1858, when Charles William Eliot, a young graduate student who would later become Harvard's 21st and longest-serving president (1869–1909), bought red bandanas for his crew so they could more easily be distinguished by spectators at a regatta.
Harvard has the largest university endowment in the world. As of September 2011, it had nearly regained the loss suffered during the 2008 recession. It was worth $32 billion in 2011, up from $28 billion in September 2010 and $26 billion in 2009. It suffered about 30% loss in 2008-09. In December 2008, Harvard announced that its endowment had lost 22% (approximately $8 billion) from July to October 2008, necessitating budget cuts. Later reports suggest the loss was actually more than double that figure, a reduction of nearly 50% of its endowment in the first four months alone. Forbes in March 2009 estimated the loss to be in the range of $12 billion. One of the most visible results of Harvard's attempt to re-balance its budget was their halting of construction of the $1.2 billion Allston Science Complex that had been scheduled to be completed by 2011, resulting in protests from local residents. As of 2012, Harvard University had a total financial aid reserve of $159 million for students, and a Pell Grant reserve of $4.093 million available for disbursement.
Since the 1970s, several campaigns have sought to divest Harvard's endowment from holdings the campaigns opposed, including investments in apartheid South Africa, the tobacco industry, Sudan during the Darfur genocide, and the fossil fuel industry.
During the divestment from South Africa movement in the late 1980s, student activists erected a symbolic "shantytown" on Harvard Yard and blockaded a speech given by South African Vice Consul Duke Kent-Brown. The Harvard Management Company repeatedly refused to divest, stating that "operating expenses must not be subject to financially unrealistic strictures or carping by the unsophisticated or by special interest groups." However, the university did eventually reduce its South African holdings by $230 million (out of $400 million) in response to the pressure.
Undergraduate admission to Harvard is characterized by the Carnegie Foundation as "more selective, lower transfer-in". Harvard College accepted 5.3% of applicants for the class of 2019, a record low and the second lowest acceptance rate among all national universities. Harvard College ended its early admissions program in 2007 as the program was believed to disadvantage low-income and under-represented minority applicants applying to selective universities, yet for the class of 2016 an Early Action program was reintroduced.
The undergraduate admissions office's preference for children of alumni policies have been the subject of scrutiny and debate as it primarily aids Caucasians and the wealthy and seems to conflict with the concept of meritocratic admissions.
Teaching and learning
Harvard is a large, highly residential research university. The university has been by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1929. The university offers 46 undergraduate concentrations (majors), 134 graduate degrees, and 32 professional degrees. For the 2008–2009 academic year, Harvard granted 1,664 baccalaureate degrees, 400 master's degrees, 512 doctoral degrees, and 4,460 professional degrees.
The four-year, full-time undergraduate program comprises a minority of enrollments at the university and emphasizes instruction with an "arts and sciences focus". Between 1978 and 2008, entering students were required to complete a core curriculum of seven classes outside of their concentration. Since 2008, undergraduate students have been required to complete courses in eight General Education categories: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding, Culture and Belief, Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning, Ethical Reasoning, Science of Living Systems, Science of the Physical Universe, Societies of the World, and United States in the World. Harvard offers a comprehensive doctoral graduate program and there is a high level of coexistence between graduate and undergraduate degrees.The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, The New York Times, and some students have criticized Harvard for its reliance on teaching fellows for some aspects of undergraduate education; they consider this to adversely affect the quality of education.
Harvard's academic programs operate on a semester calendar beginning in early September and ending in mid-May. Undergraduates typically take four half-courses per term and must maintain a four-course rate average to be considered full-time. In many concentrations, students can elect to pursue a basic program or an honors-eligible program requiring a senior thesis and/or advanced course work. Students graduating in the top 4–5% of the class are awarded degrees summa cum laude, students in the next 15% of the class are awarded magna cum laude, and the next 30% of the class are awarded cum laude. Harvard has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa and various committees and departments also award several hundred named prizes annually. Harvard, along with other universities, has been accused of grade inflation, although there is evidence that the quality of the student body and its motivation have also increased. Harvard College reduced the number of students who receive Latin honors from 90% in 2004 to 60% in 2005. Moreover, the honors of "John Harvard Scholar" and "Harvard College Scholar" will now be given only to the top 5 percent and the next 5 percent of each class.
University policy is to expel students engaging in academic dishonesty to discourage a "culture of cheating." In 2012, dozens of students were expelled for cheating after an investigation of more than 120 students. In 2013, there was a report that as many as 42% of incoming freshmen had cheated on homework prior to entering the university, and these incidents have prompted the university to consider adopting an honor code.
For the 2012–13 school year annual tuition was $38,000, with a total cost of attendance of $57,000. Beginning 2007, families with incomes below $60,000 pay nothing for their children to attend, including room and board. Families with incomes between $60,000 to $80,000 pay only few thousand dollars a year, and families earning between $120,000 and $180,000 pay no more than 10% of their annual incomes. In 2009, Harvard offered grants totaling $414 million across all eleven divisions;[further explanation needed] $340 million came from institutional funds, $35 million from federal support, and $39 million from other outside support. Grants total 88% of Harvard's aid for undergraduate students, with aid also provided by loans (8%) and work-study (4%).
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Harvard is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and remains a research university with "very high" research activity and a "comprehensive" doctoral program across the arts, sciences, engineering, and medicine. Research and development expenditures in 2011 totaled $649.7 million, 27th among American universities.
Libraries and museums
The Harvard University Library System is centered in Widener Library in Harvard Yard and comprises nearly 80 individual libraries holding over 18 million volumes. According to the American Library Association, this makes it the largest academic library in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. Cabot Science Library, Lamont Library, and Widener Library are three of the most popular libraries for undergraduates to use, with easy access and central locations. There are rare books, manuscripts and other special collections throughout Harvard's libraries; Houghton Library, the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, and the Harvard University Archives consist principally of rare and unique materials. America's oldest collection of maps, gazetteers, and atlases both old and new is stored in Pusey Library and open to the public. The largest collection of East-Asian language material outside of East Asia is held in the Harvard-Yenching Library.
Harvard operates several arts, cultural, and scientific museums. The Harvard Art Museums comprises three museums. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum includes collections of ancient, Asian, Islamic and later Indian art, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, formerly the Germanic Museum, covers central and northern European art, and the Fogg Museum of Art, covers Western art from the Middle Ages to the present emphasizing Italian early Renaissance, British pre-Raphaelite, and 19th-century French art. The Harvard Museum of Natural History includes the Harvard Mineralogical Museum, Harvard University Herbaria featuring the Blaschka Glass Flowers exhibit, and the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Other museums include the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, designed by Le Corbusier, housing the film archive, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, specializing in the cultural history and civilizations of the Western Hemisphere, and the Semitic Museum featuring artifacts from excavations in the Middle East.
Harvard has been highly ranked by many university rankings. In particular, it has consistently topped the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) since 2003, and the THE World Reputation Rankings since 2011, when the first time such league tables were published. When the QS and Times were published in partnership as the THE-QS World University Rankings during 2004-2009, Harvard had also been regarded the first in every year. The University's undergraduate program has been continuously among the top two in the U.S. News & World Report. In 2014, Harvard topped the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP). It was ranked 8th on the 2013-2014 PayScale College Salary Report and 14th on the 2013 PayScale College Education Value Rankings. From a poll done by The Princeton Review, Harvard is the second most commonly named "dream college", both for students and parents in 2013, and was the first nominated by parents in 2009. In 2011, the Mines ParisTech : Professional Ranking World Universities ranked Harvard 1st university in the world in terms of number of alumni holding CEO position in Fortune Global 500 companies.
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In the last six years, Harvard's student population ranged between 19,000 and 21,000, across all programs. Harvard enrolled 6,655 students in undergraduate programs, 3,738 students in graduate programs, and 10,722 students in professional programs. The undergraduate population is 51% female, the graduate population is 48% female, and the professional population is 49% female.
The Harvard Crimson competes in 42 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division I Ivy League. Harvard has an intense athletic rivalry with Yale University culminating in The Game, although the Harvard–Yale Regatta predates the football game. This rivalry, though, is put aside every two years when the Harvard and Yale Track and Field teams come together to compete against a combined Oxford University and Cambridge University team, a competition that is the oldest continuous international amateur competition in the world.
Harvard's athletic rivalry with Yale is intense in every sport in which they meet, coming to a climax each fall in the annual football meeting, which dates back to 1875 and is usually called simply "The Game". While Harvard's football team is no longer one of the country's best as it often was a century ago during football's early days (it won the Rose Bowl in 1920), both it and Yale have influenced the way the game is played. In 1903, Harvard Stadium introduced a new era into football with the first-ever permanent reinforced concrete stadium of its kind in the country. The stadium's structure actually played a role in the evolution of the college game. Seeking to reduce the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries in the sport, Walter Camp (former captain of the Yale football team), suggested widening the field to open up the game. But the stadium was too narrow to accommodate a wider playing surface. So, other steps had to be taken. Camp would instead support revolutionary new rules for the 1906 season. These included legalizing the forward pass, perhaps the most significant rule change in the sport's history.
Harvard has several athletic facilities, such as the Lavietes Pavilion, a multi-purpose arena and home to the Harvard basketball teams. The Malkin Athletic Center, known as the "MAC", serves both as the university's primary recreation facility and as a satellite location for several varsity sports. The five-story building includes two cardio rooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a smaller pool for aquaerobics and other activities, a mezzanine, where all types of classes are held, an indoor cycling studio, three weight rooms, and a three-court gym floor to play basketball. The MAC offers personal trainers and specialty classes. It is home to Harvard volleyball, fencing and wrestling. The offices of several of the school's varsity coaches are also in the MAC.
Weld Boathouse and Newell Boathouse house the women's and men's rowing teams, respectively. The men's crew also uses the Red Top complex in Ledyard, Connecticut, as their training camp for the annual Harvard-Yale Regatta. The Bright Hockey Center hosts the Harvard hockey teams, and the Murr Center serves both as a home for Harvard's squash and tennis teams as well as a strength and conditioning center for all athletic sports.
As of 2013, there were 42 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than at any other NCAA Division I college in the country. As with other Ivy League universities, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships.
Older than The Game by 23 years, the Harvard-Yale Regatta was the original source of the athletic rivalry between the two schools. It is held annually in June on the Thames River in eastern Connecticut. The Harvard crew is typically considered to be one of the top teams in the country in rowing. Today, Harvard fields top teams in several other sports, such as the Harvard Crimson men's ice hockey team (with a strong rivalry against Cornell), squash, and even recently won NCAA titles in Men's and Women's Fencing. Harvard also won the Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships in 2003.
Harvard's men's ice hockey team won the school's first NCAA Championship in any team sport in 1989. Harvard was also the first Ivy League institution to win a NCAA championship title in a women's sport when its women's lacrosse team won the NCAA Championship in 1990.
Harvard Undergraduate Television has footage from historical games and athletic events including the 2005 pep-rally before the Harvard-Yale Game.
Harvard has several fight songs, the most played of which, especially at football, are "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard" and "Harvardiana." While "Fair Harvard" is actually the alma mater, "Ten Thousand Men" is better known outside the university. The Harvard University Band performs these fight songs, and other cheers, at football and hockey games. These were parodied by Harvard alumnus Tom Lehrer in his song "Fight Fiercely, Harvard," which he composed while an undergraduate.
Politics: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; American political leaders John Hancock, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Al Gore, George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Chilean President Sebastián Piñera; Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos; Costa Rican President José María Figueres; Mexican Presidents Felipe Calderón,Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Miguel de la Madrid; Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj; Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo; Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou; Canadian Governor General David Lloyd Johnston; Indian Member of Parliament Jayant Sinha; Albanian Prime Minister Fan S. Noli; Canadian Prime Ministers Mackenzie King and Pierre Trudeau; Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; U. S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; Canadian political leader Michael Ignatieff; Pakistani Members of Provincial Assembly Murtaza Bhutto and Sanam Bhutto; Bangladesh Minister of Finance Abul Maal Abdul Muhith; President of Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali; U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Anthony Luzzatto Gardner.
Business: Religious leader, businessman and philanthropist Aga Khan IV; businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates; philanthropist Huntington Hartford; Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg; businessman and convict Jeffrey Skilling; and businessman Gabe Newell.
Other: Civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois; philosopher Henry David Thoreau; authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and William S. Burroughs; educators Werner Baer, Harlan Hanson; poets Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot and E. E. Cummings; conductor Leonard Bernstein; cellist Yo Yo Ma; pianist and composer Charlie Albright; composer John Alden Carpenter; comedian, television show host and writer Conan O'Brien; actors Tatyana Ali, Nestor Carbonell, Matt Damon, Fred Gwynne, Hill Harper, Rashida Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Portman, Mira Sorvino, Elisabeth Shue, and Scottie Thompson; film directors Darren Aronofsky, Terrence Malick, Mira Nair, and Whit Stillman; architect Philip Johnson; musicians Rivers Cuomo, Tom Morello, and Gram Parsons; musician, producer and composer Ryan Leslie; serial killer Ted Kaczynski; programmer and activist Richard Stallman; NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick; NFL center Matt Birk; NBA player Jeremy Lin; US Ski Team skier Ryan Max Riley; physician Sachin H. Jain; physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer; computer pioneer and inventor An Wang; Tibetologist George de Roerich; and Marshall Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.
2nd President of the United States John Adams (AB, 1755; AM, 1758)
6th President of the United States John Quincy Adams (AB, 1787; AM, 1798)
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon (MPA, 1984)
43rd President of the United States George W. Bush (MBA, 1975)
19th President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes (LLB, 1845)
35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy (SB, 1940)
44th President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama (JD, 1991)
32nd President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt (AB, 1903)
26th President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Theodore Roosevelt (AB, 1880)
President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (MPA, 1971)
Harvard's faculty includes scholars such as biologist E. O. Wilson, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, physicists Lisa Randall and Roy Glauber, chemists Elias Corey, Dudley R. Herschbach and George M. Whitesides, computer scientists Michael O. Rabin and Leslie Valiant, Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt, writer Louis Menand, critic Helen Vendler, historians Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Niall Ferguson, economists Amartya Sen, N. Gregory Mankiw, Robert Barro, Stephen A. Marglin, Don M. Wilson III and Martin Feldstein, political philosophers Harvey Mansfield, Baroness Shirley Williams and Michael Sandel, Fields Medalist mathematician Shing-Tung Yau, political scientists Robert Putnam, Joseph Nye, and Stanley Hoffmann, scholar/composers Robert Levin and Bernard Rands, astrophysicist Alyssa A. Goodman, and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz.
Literature and popular culture
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The perception of Harvard as a center of either elite achievement, or elitist privilege, has made it a frequent literary backdrop.
- The Sound and the Fury (1929), by William Faulkner, features Quentin Compson's experiences at Harvard.
- The Second Happiest Day (1953), by John P. Marquand, depicts the Harvard of the World War II generation.
- The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborn, Jr., a 1970 novel adapted for a film and a television series, is based at Harvard Law School.
- The Women's Room (1977), by Marilyn French, largely features protagonist Mira's experiences at Harvard.
- In Pamela Thomas-Graham's series of mystery novels (Blue Blood, Orange Crushed, and A Darker Shade of Crimson), protagonist Nikki Chase is an African-American Harvard economics professor.
- The Accidental Billionaires (2009) by Ben Mezrich is a narrative account of Facebook's founding set partially at Harvard.
- Cecilia Tan's Magic University romance-novel series is set in a magical university hidden within Harvard.
"In the grammar of film, Harvard has come to mean both tradition, and a certain amount of stuffiness," film critic Paul Sherman has said. Because Harvard rarely permits filming on its property, most scenes set at Harvard (especially indoor shots, but excepting aerial footage and shots of public areas such as Harvard Square) are in fact shot elsewhere.
- Erich Segal's Love Story (1970), which concerns a romance between a wealthy hockey player (Ryan O'Neal) and a brilliant Radcliffe student of modest means (Ali MacGraw) is screened annually for incoming freshmen. Segal's The Class (1985) and Doctors (1988) are also set at Harvard.
- The Paper Chase (1973 film) and The Paper Chase (1978–79, 1983–86 TV series)
- Soul Man (1986)
- With Honors (1994)
- Good Will Hunting (1997)
- Harvard Man (2001)
- How High (2001)
- Legally Blonde (2001)
- Stealing Harvard (2002)
- Love Story in Harvard (2004-2005)
- The Great Debaters (2007)
- The Social Network (2010)
- Suits (TV Series)