On This Day In History: Harvard University – America’s Oldest Learning Institution Was Founded – On Oct 28, 1636

On October 28, 1636, Harvard University – America’s oldest learning institution was formed.

It was initially called “New College” or “the college at New Towne”. In 1639, the college was renamed Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard of Charlestown, who left half of his estate to help finance the university.

A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.

The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

The university is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is currently a leading academic institution according to its financial backing, which is estimated at 24.7 billion U.S. dollars.

Harvard University has around 20,000 students across the College, graduate, and professional schools located in Cambridge and Boston. When people refer to Harvard students, often they mean the subset of roughly 6,400 students who attend Harvard College. Students arrive every year in late August.

Students come from all 50 states and from over 80 countries; from cities, suburbs, small towns and farms; from public, private and parochial schools; from every ethnic and religious background.

Several U.S. presidents graduated at Harvard, and 75 Nobel Prize winners either studied or lectured there.

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