Cambridge, MA – Harvard University

Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College) chartered in the country. Harvard’s history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard. Although it was never formally affiliated with a church, the college primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy. Harvard’s curriculum and students became increasingly secular throughout the 18th century and by the 19th century had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites.

Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot’s forty year tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a centralized research university, and Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College. Drew Gilpin Faust was elected the 28th president in 2007 and is the first woman to lead the university. Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world, standing at $27.4 billion as of September 2010.


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