Class of 1961

Newly-Established Peace Corps Draws Students

Kennedy’s establishment of the Peace Corps attracted Harvard students, drawing attention away from service programs like the Harvard African Teaching Prospect.

Despite Tensions, Professors Cross Iron Curtain

At Harvard, Cold War curiosity was turned into a meaningful intellectual exchange with professors at the University of Leningrad. But the politics of the day stayed largely off the table, even in the classroom.

Pill’s Approval Portends Cultural Shift

Though the pill did not have a direct impact on Harvard life at first, its approval represented the beginning of the shift from a gender-segregated social scene to the more integrated, liberal environment of today.

David H. Souter

Friends and colleagues say that Souter’s quiet intellect, warm demeanor, and tendency to keep his life private have remained consistent since his freshman year at Harvard.

Anthony M. Kennedy

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy—a 1961 graduate of Harvard Law School—wields what many consider the most important vote on the Supreme Court.

Martin S. Feldstein

Despite his wide-ranging influence, Harvard Economics Professor Martin S. Feldstein ’61 has perhaps had his greatest impact in the classroom.

Peter B. Benchley

After the incredible success of his novel “Jaws” and the iconic Steven Spielberg film he co-wrote, the novelist spent the rest of his life promoting marine conservation.

Timothy E. Wirth

Currently the president of the United Nations Foundation and a former U.S. Senator, Timothy E. Wirth '61 has created a life-long career based on serving others.

Tech Square construction, August 1962. Courtesy of Fay Foto Service. Cambridge Historical Commission

Professors who visited Russia and Harvard.

Students flood into Lamont Library on the night of April 28, 1961 amidst protests of a change in the language of Harvard diplomas from Latin to English.

In the early 1960s, socioeconomic and geographic diversity became defining characteristics of the student body.

Peter B. Benchley '61 created 'Jaws' after hearing of a great white shark caught off of Long Island.

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