5 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Harvard


Here’s 5 fun and amazing facts you probably didn’t know about Harvard University. Its not what you think. (there’s actually way more than 5 and most likely you don’t know all of them)

Harvard is one of the Ivy League schools that’s home to such famous personalities like Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Al Gore just to name a few.

It’s a popular school, and is constantly mentioned in many films and TV shows as being one of the best – if not the best – universities their agents/bodyguards/politicians/spies/lawyers come from.

In fact, one TV series, “Suits” revolves around a New York law firm, its number one closer Harvey Specter, and his associate Mike Ross who’s harboring a secret – that he didn’t graduate from any law school, much less Harvard, which is the only school that the firm hires from!

Among the Ivy League schools, Harvard also has the largest student population (over 28,000), and is perhaps the most difficult to get into.

The school is so well-known that it ranked #1 in the List of CUWR World University Ranking in 2016, a tough spot to beat, against other prestigious colleges around the globe.

But what else makes Harvard University a prestigious and special school? Here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know, but should definitely learn about this Ivy League college.

5 Amazing Harvard Facts

8 Harvard Alumni Signed the Declaration of Independence


image by: teaparty911.com

You know that President Barack Obama wasn’t the only president who attended Harvard, but did you also know that eight former students from Harvard University signed the Declaration of Independence?

In fact, there’s quite a number of facts on the Declaration of Independence people don’t know (including that many of the signers were immigrants), but for now, feast your eyes on the signers that had studied at Harvard:

  • John Adams
  • Samuel Adams
  • Robert Treat Paine
  • Elbridge Gerry
  • John Hancock who was the Congress President (his signature was quite flamboyant, which led to his name becoming synonymous with “signature”)
  • William Ellery
  • William Hooper
  • William Williams

Harvard Is the Oldest US College


image source: en.wikipedia.org

Harvard was built in 1636, making it the oldest university in the United Stated of America. Did you know why it was called “Harvard in the first place?

It was originally just called “New College”, but was soon named after John Harvard, originally from Charlestown, when the man left his entire estate, including his library, to the school upon his death. There’s a statue of him within the campus, in the Harvard Yard.

Because Harvard is so old, it might not come as a surprise that it’s practically older than calculus, which had only appeared in the academic scene in the later part of the 17th century, when Gottsfield Leibniz published “Nova Methodus”.

John Harvard’s Statue… Is Not Really John Harvard


image source: harvardmagazine.com

Speaking of which, many visitors to the college take vigorous pictures of the large statue of John Harvard. The inscription on the statue states: John Harvard, Founder, 1638.

There’s a reason Harvard students popularly call this landmark “Statue of Three Lies.

First of all, you now know that Harvard was founded in 1636 (not 1638 as carved in the statue).

Second, John Harvard was never the founder. He was the benefactor, but many people hold on to the notion that Harvard was instrumental to the history and beginnings of the college, and should rightfully be called a founder.

Third, the statue was not actually made from the likeness of Harvard. It was modeled after a university student, and sculpted by Daniel Chester French, one of the most popular artists during the 19th and 20th century.

There were no surviving descriptions or sketches of Harvard’s features so French used student Sherman Hoar, who went on to become a congressman.

If you visit the statue, though, don’t be surprised about the condition of its left shoe. Many people rub it for good luck.

Harvard Underground Library


image source: college.harvard.edu


Harvard library diagram source: harvard.edu

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, the center of the Harvard College Libraries, has more than 3 million books inside. It’s so huge and had many floors, four of them being underground.

Because of its size, it’s one of the largest libraries in the country, and is the only academic library to be at par with “megalibraries” such as the Library of Congress, the British Library, the New York Public Library, and the Bibliothèque Nationale from France.

The library was named after Harry Elkins Widener, who died in the RMS Titanic. His mother, Eleanor Widener (who had survived the tragedy), donated more than $3 million to Harvard (her son’s alma mater) to have a library built in her son’s name, on the condition that the physical façade of the building wouldn’t be changed.

When there was a need to add more rooms and floors, the architects decided to build floors underground instead.

Filming Not Allowed on Harvard Campus


While other colleges happily allow commercial films to be set in their campuses, Harvard University had banned such activities on its grounds since 1970.

According to the website, it’s against the rules to take pictures and videos on the college without prior permission. Tripods aren’t even allowed on Harvard Yard. Filming of any kind should be taken up with the administration.

The last movie filmed on campus was “Love Story”. Harvard had allowed several filming activities before, but when several trees in the campus were damaged because of a shoot, the administration decided to ban it.

School heads also said that they didn’t want their students to be distracted or classes to be disrupted to accommodate the production.

Many film crews settle with filming from Harvard Square, where the university can still be seen. Others use schools that resemble Harvard (like Wheaton College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Southern California – like “Legally Blonde”).

Although Harvard doesn’t allow filming on its grounds, it does freely allow use and mention of its name (just not its symbols and seals without proper permission).

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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