When was Harvard Founded?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A building in Harvard University

When was Harvard Founded?

When was Harvard founded? Harvard University was founded in the year 1636 and holds the distinction of being the oldest educational establishment in the United States. When it first opened its doors, this institution of higher learning was known as “New College,” and its primary mission was to train members of the clergy.

The Reverend John Harvard was the inspiration for the decision to rebrand the institution as Harvard University in 1639. Upon his passing, Harvard provided the school with a bequest that included fifty percent of his estate as well as his complete collection of books. Because of the significance of his bequest, the institution decided to memorialize him by adopting his name.

Since the time Harvard was founded and during the time of the colonies, Harvard used a teaching method that emphasized memorization and practice through extensive drilling. This mode of instruction was characteristic of the pedagogical practices used during this time period. The university had a very modest teaching staff, but its members enjoyed illustrious reputations as some of the most intelligent individuals of their time period.

In the year 1782, Harvard University began offering courses in medical studies to its students. The history of the institution dates back to the 18th century, and some of the structures are still there now. Wadsworth House was constructed in 1726, while construction on Massachusetts Hall began in 1720. Although none of the school’s original buildings from the 17th century have been preserved, the institution has placed brass markers at the sites where they stood.

During the 19th century, Harvard University expanded its academic offerings by introducing new majors, including the law in 1816 and divinity in 1817. The nineteenth century was the time when Harvard University celebrated its two-hundredth birthday. On the occasion of the school’s two-hundredth birthday, then-President Josiah Quincy officially showed the school’s new shield for the first time. The shield had the motto “Veritas.” In the year 1843, the school made this shield its official emblem.

Signage of Harvard placed near a building.

Between the years 1829 and 1845, Quincy served as the 15th President of Harvard University. He held this position from 1829 to 1845. During this time period, the school’s instructional practices also underwent significant change. Students at Harvard were given more leeway in the classes they chose as a result of the university’s decision to expand the number and scope of the offerings available to them. In the classroom, recitation was phased out and replaced by lectures.

In 1910, Harvard made the decision to make crimson the official color of the school. The history of this color choice may be traced back to the middle of the 1800s when two students on a rowing team decided to provide crimson scarves to everyone on the squad so that spectators would be able to identify them more easily. The concept of school colors was in its infancy at the time, and the school did not hold an official vote on this designation until well over half a century after it had been proposed.

Throughout the 20th century, the presidents of Harvard University worked to make applied learning the institution’s primary priority. The efforts of the President, A. Lawrence Lowell, to develop a new system of “concentration and distribution” were untiring. This method was developed to assist students in making more informed decisions regarding the academic tracks they wish to pursue, which will ultimately allow them to learn and advance more rapidly during the duration of their courses.

Scholarships and other forms of recognition were given a high level of importance by Lowell. Additionally, during the 20th century, Harvard University increased the number of chances for students to get financial aid, which contributed to an increase in the diversity of the student body.

Since the time Harvard was founded, additional shifts and alterations have taken place at Harvard University since the turn of the 21st century. Harvard is placing a strong emphasis on its study abroad programs and providing students with a wide range of chances to further their education in other countries. A redesigned curriculum of general education has also been implemented at the institution, and its goal is to establish a connection between the academic content taught in the classroom and the kinds of problems that students will face once they have graduated.

To guarantee that Harvard University continues to attract students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and academic backgrounds, the university has continued its recruitment efforts in the 21st century. At the moment, Harvard University has 17,000 students enrolled in its normal program, and an additional 30,000 students are enrolled in non-degree programs.

What is Harvard Known for?

Since the time Harvard was founded, Harvard has placed high importance on leadership and community engagement in applicants, giving preference to those who have made a difference in their communities and are actively involved in those areas. Candidates should exhibit these attributes in the activities portion of their application as well as in any extra writings they submit.

Students who have fascinating academic backgrounds and who have participated in their passions through study, fieldwork, or other extracurricular engagement are viewed favorably by Harvard, which places high importance on intellectualism, particularly in the humanities and social sciences.

View of Harvard University building.

The faculty at Harvard is comprised of eminent individuals, such as winners of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize, as well as other pioneers in their respective fields. Even outside of the classroom, there are numerous chances for undergraduate students to interact with faculty members, such as First-Year Faculty Dinners, Faculty-Student Initiatives, the Faculty Luncheon Series, and many others.

As part of the history and how Harvard was founded, through participation in activities like that of the Academic Life Workshops, students acquire valuable skills that may be applied in both their academic and professional lives. They have previously covered themes such as Study Skills and Preparing for Midterm Exams, Résumé Writing 101 Workshop, Entering the World of Research, and Using Social Media in your Social Science Projects. Other topics that have been covered include:

Students at Harvard are trained to think critically, reason analytically, and write coherently due to the university’s unwavering dedication to the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as academic life’s foundation. Every student is required to take General Education classes, which are designed to get them thinking about how the concepts they learn in class relate to the real world. Students will wrestle with challenging themes and pressing concerns, such as global warming, racism, and the rise of artificial intelligence, amongst a plethora of other topics.

The following subject areas are covered by Harvard’s more than 3,700 classes and 50 majors or “concentrations”:

  • The Arts and the Humanities
  • The Fields of Technology And Applied Science
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Roughly half of the students choose to participate in the honors program offered by their chosen concentration. Students also have the option of developing their own specialized emphasis, with the instructor’s blessing, that caters to a “uniquely hard academic aim.” Students have the option to study something called a secondary field, which is comparable to a minor.

Since the time Harvard was founded, students who enter Harvard with advanced standing have the opportunity to apply to receive a master’s degree in select fields during their fourth year of study. They also have the ability to cross-enroll at Harvard’s graduate schools as well as other institutions in Cambridge or Boston and attend classes there.

In their time as an undergraduate, more than half of Harvard College students study in another country. Students have the choice of attending universities such as Cambridge or Oxford, as well as schools in Argentina, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, or Turkey.

In addition, Harvard has more than 450 student organizations available to its students. The university has much to offer students who are interested in the arts, literature, music, religion, politics, writing, multicultural organizations, or any combination of these fields.

The Harvard Lampoon is one of the humor publications that has been continuously published for the longest amount of time around the globe. Other notable organizations include Act on a Dream, which engages students in learning about and advocating for immigration reform, and Beekeepers, which, as the name suggests, focuses on beekeeping. Both of these organizations are important in their respective fields.

The number of Division I sports teams that Harvard University fields is the highest of any college in the United States, with 42. The Crimson also takes part in the competitions held by the Ivy League. sports played at the varsity level, including baseball, basketball, and a number of other sports. The institution also supports a variety of club sports, including Aikido, Archery, and others. More than 80 percent of kids take part in extracurricular sporting activities.

When was Harvard Law School Founded?

The year 1817 marks the beginning of what is now known as the “law department” at Harvard University, which is where Harvard Law School had its start. If we consider the year when the law department was established as the year of the school’s inception, then Harvard Law School is the oldest law school in the United States that is still in operation today.

Since the time Harvard was founded, not known to many, as part of the first law schools,  the William & Mary Law School first opened its doors in 1779, but it was forced to close during the American Civil War and did not return until 1920. The University of Maryland School of Law was authorized in 1816, but it was not until 1824 that classes were really started. Additionally, the school did not operate throughout the time of the Civil War.

Female students studying in a library along with other students.

After the foundation of Harvard University’s first endowed professorship in law in 1817, which was supported by a bequest from the estate of wealthy slave-owner Isaac Royall Jr., two years later, in 1821, the law department was established at Harvard University.

When Royall died in exile in Nova Scotia, where he fled to as a Loyalist during the American Revolution, in 1781, he left approximately 1,000 acres of land in Massachusetts to Harvard “to be appropriated towards the endowing a Professor of Laws… or a Professor of Physick and Anatomy, whichever the said overseers and Corporation [of the college] shall judge to be the best.” Royall did this “to be appropriated towards the endowing a Professor of When the land was completely sold off in the year 1809, its value was calculated to be $2,938. In the year 1815, the Harvard Corporation decided to establish the Royall Professorship of Law and allotted $400 from the income earned by those funds to do so.

In 1936, the coat of arms of the Royall family, which depicts three stacked wheat sheaves on a blue background, was accepted as a component of the arms of the law school. At the top of the arms is the university’s motto, which is veritas, which is Latin for “truth.”

When Was Harvard Business School Founded?

Harvard Business School was founded in 1908 with an initial enrollment of eighty students. The Harvard Business School held its inaugural classes in a variety of buildings located across the campus of Harvard College. It was first founded under the faculty of the humanities, but in 1910 it was granted independent status, and in 1913 it was designated as a separate administrative unit.

At the beginning of the 1920s, enrollment had nearly reached 700, prompting Dean Wallace B. Donham to launch a fundraising campaign for the construction of a dedicated campus where students and faculty of the business school could live together, learn from one another, and experience “the ordinary humanities of life.”

Two students studying in a desk.

It is known that in honor of the remarkable generosity of George Fisher Baker, Sr. (1840-1931), whose extraordinary gift in 1924 funded the construction of the original campus, the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration was originally known as the “Harvard University, Graduate School of Business Administration, George F. Baker Foundation.” Today, Harvard Business School is known simply as “Harvard Business School.”

Baker was a well-known influence in the financial and industrial sectors of the United States. He was a major philanthropist, businessman, and president of the First National Bank of New York, which would eventually become Citibank.

When he was only 23 years old, he put down a deposit of $3,000 at the First National Bank, where he was employed as a teller, and became one of the bank’s first shareholders. After only 14 years, he was promoted to the position of president of the bank. Despite the economic unrest that occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he managed the organization in such a way that it maintained its strong financial standing.

Baker’s economic savvy allowed him to serve on the boards of over forty different firms, some of which were bankrupt railways that he later purchased and turned around. Additionally, he was quite successful in the areas of investing in the steel, rubber, and utility industries. Although he was known for maintaining a low profile, influential people in industry and government routinely sought out his counsel and listened to it.

Baker grasped the significance of the effects of unstable economic conditions, and his donation to the School in 1924 was interpreted as an affirmation of the requirement for professional management education at the time. Baker said no to the request made by Harvard Overseer Bishop William Lawrence for a donation of one million dollars to assist in the construction of the new campus. After discussing the matter with his son, George F. Baker Jr., who is a graduate of Harvard College, the senior Baker communicated to Lawrence that he favored the idea of contributing $5 million “for the pleasure of creating the complete institution.”

When was Harvard Medical School Founded?

When it first opened its doors in 1782, the Harvard Medical School had just a small number of students and a very small faculty. Long before the distinctive quadrangle was constructed in Boston, the first classes were held in Harvard Hall in Cambridge. Harvard University is located in Boston.

The School’s teachers and trainees gained expertise and influence with each passing decade, thereby reshaping medicine not just in the United States but also in other parts of the world. The achievements of some members of the community have elevated those individuals to the position of legend. To learn more about the illustrious past of the Harvard Medical School, we encourage you to consult the materials listed below.

Students lounging in the stairs.

Formal lectures for one or two semesters were followed by an apprenticeship with a practicing physician. This was the standard format for medical education in the 18th century. There was no prerequisite academic preparation, and there were no obligatory written exams. The students were exempt from paying tuition. Instead, they spent their own way to attend each lecture by purchasing tickets. Because there were no teaching hospitals, the criteria for clinical training were kept to a bare minimum.

Benjamin Waterhouse, a professor of the theory and practice of physic, John Warren, a professor of anatomy and surgery, and Aaron Dexter, a professor of chemistry and materia medica, were the first three faculty members hired by the School. John Warren was a professor of anatomy and surgery (pharmacology).

Dr. Waterhouse received his education from prestigious institutions and medical facilities located across Europe. Because of his connections in England, he was able to obtain a copy of a paper written by Edward Jenner and printed in England in 1798. The document reported that Jenner’s immunization against smallpox was successful.

Waterhouse was the first person in the United States medical profession to discuss Jenner’s theories, and he began testing the vaccine on members of his own family. As a direct consequence of Waterhouse’s unwavering advocacy for smallpox immunization, the treatment was piloted in Boston and eventually achieved widespread approval in the United States.

Dr. Warren, an accomplished educator as well as surgeon, was instrumental in moving the medical school to Boston, where it was more convenient for the faculty to see not only their private patients but also patients in the military and naval hospitals, as well as patients in public dispensaries that were being established in the city. Dr. Warren was also instrumental in moving the medical school to Boston.


Knowing Harvard’s founding transports us to the very origins of higher education in the United States. As the oldest institution of higher learning in the country, Harvard University’s founding date is more than a historical fact; it’s a symbol of a longstanding commitment to academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and societal leadership. Exploring this question leads us to the roots of an institution that has, for centuries, been at the forefront of education, research, and innovation.

How Harvard was founded is not merely a query about a date but an entry point into the rich and complex history of an educational giant that has shaped minds, policies, and the very fabric of intellectual life. Founded in 1636, Harvard’s inception laid the foundation for a tradition of learning that continues to inspire and challenge individuals worldwide. Understanding the answer to this question offers a glimpse into the core values, aspirations, and enduring legacy of an institution that has become synonymous with academic prestige and global impact.

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