1637: John Harvard moves from England to Massachusetts Bay Colony. He dies later that year, leaving money to New College, which is later renamed for its greatest benefactor. Harvard develops plans to build a brewery on its campus. Legend has it that Harvard learned the art of beer brewing from family friend William Shakespeare. One could say that the College’s on-campus brewery used recipes directly from the “First Folio.”
A young Holyoke of the Class of 1746 chronicled the happenings at Harvard College before his admission: “1742, June 2. Foundation of the Chapel Laid Some part of ye begin’g of this month. [sic]” Thus he recorded the beginning of a symbolic change in the Harvard Yard: the construction of its first chapel. Despite the many religious commitments of Harvard men, who read the Scriptures multiple times in a day and practiced the teachings of the Bible, a century went by until Holden was built.
It was easy to get in then. No personal essays required, just a series of entrance examinations. 73 percent of applicants were admitted. Admittedly, there are lots of reasons to discount these numbers. The exams required special preparation available only at a few elite prep schools. There was no Common App, no female students, and only 937 people applied.
Though Final Clubs, fraternities, and sororities are long-standing staples of the Harvard social scene, their presence is anything but static. Last year, sorority Alpha Phi set down its roots in Cambridge, while fraternity Kappa Sigma reinstated its Harvard chapter last week after an eighty-year hiatus. FM digs into the archives to create a chronology of Harvard’s dynamic Greek life.
Please sit down. We’re passing out booklets now. You should have a question sheet and two booklets. Raise your hand if you—sorry about that James, there you go. You’ll have 53 minutes; there are four sections. We’ve included a suggested time for each section. I’ll also keep track of how much time is left on the board. And...begin.
Today, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College is a choir of more than 100 members. Its mission “to express the creativity and spirituality of black people through song” has endured over the years, though the group has experienced many changes and faced various challenges since its founding in 1970. “No one person can understand Kuumba completely,” the choir’s vice president Matthew S. Williams ’14 says. “It’s still a mystery to me how this group has been able to last and maintain so much of what makes it itself for so long.”
Harvard can claim the largest university library in the nation, multiple companies around the world, much of Boston and Allston, and lots of money. But the University also owns some bizarre things thanks to past bequests by donors. FM researched some of the most shocking and peculiar donations made in the history of the University to learn more about their origins and how they came under Harvard’s possession.
We’re about to wrap up a year of recovering from Miley Cyrus, celebrating celebrity babies, and grappling with government hysteria. In honor of our namesake, we compiled a list of the fifteen minutes—some historically significant, others not much more than a filler story that ended up dominating national news—that defined 2013, to read and remember before we ring in the new year.
In March 2004, Harvard’s Calendar Reform Committee released a report recommending that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences move exams to before winter break. Gone would be the days of returning to campus for final exams barely a day after the ball dropped for the new year. Instead, FAS would allow for 62 days of classes each semester, five to eight days of reading period, and eight days for exams. It was suggested the longer winter break this schedule opened up could potentially house its own mini-term.