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Video:Profile of Harvard

with Milo De Prieto

Harvard University, the oldest extant university in the United States, has an impressive and famous legacy. Get an overview of this well-known and prolific college in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of Harvard

The Founding of Harvard

The pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in 1620 and, shortly after, in 1636, opened Harvard, making it the oldest institute of higher education in the United States. The school is named after one of it's first benefactors. The Reverend John Harvard donated much of his property and personal library to the college helping it get off to a great start. Harvard continued to grow as did the colonies, setting the stage for its further development at the beginning of the 19th century.   

Harvard's Governing Bodies

Harvard is governed by two bodies, the President and Fellows is a legal group that forms the executive branch of the school's leadership. The other group is the Board of Overseers who are elected by alumni of the school. The President and Fellows is the oldest extant corporation in the Western Hemisphere. The early 1800s saw changes in education such as curriculum, with an emphasis on research (before learning was rote, mostly memorization) and the establishment of graduate schools to focus studies in various fields.

Harvard Grows into a Full University

Harvard founded a medical graduate school in 1782, with the schools of law and divinity following in the first part of the 1800s. The rest of the university such as the library building, observatory, and chemistry lab took a while longer to build. It was in these fits and starts that Harvard University as we know it today took shape, all the while it worked hard to earn its solid reputation as a top ranked school and through its doors have walked some of the United States' and the world's most famous innovators and leaders.

Notable Harvard Alumni

A few among them are presidents Theodore Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, and Barack Obama as well as others. There were also scientists such as Robert Oppenheimer, musicians like Yo Yo Ma, writers like T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Actors, foreign political leaders, business people of all stripes, and so many others have degrees from Harvard, one of the world's most famous institutions of higher learning. 

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