mere six years after the Puritans settled in Boston, Harvard College opened its
doors in 1636. John Harvard, a wealthy immigrant of scarcely one year, bequeathed
property and his entire library, 260 volumes, to the new college.
became the center of early intellectual life in America with a focus on ideas
which became innovations. About 1764 John Winthrop delivered experimental lectures
on electricity and opened the colony's first experimental-physics laboratory.
The presidency of Charles Eliot, from 1869 to1909, marked a turning point in the
development of Harvard. Eliot revamped the schools of law and medicine and launched
graduate schools of business, dental medicine, and arts and sciences, in addition
to establishing Radcliffe College for, as Eliot said in his inaugural speech,
"the world knows next to nothing about the natural mental capacities of the female
Harvard's scientific research has yielded breakthroughs with major
impacts on world societies. Harvard Medical School opened in 1782 and has contributed
substantially to medical "firsts," including the first successful kidney transplant,
the iron lung, and development of artificial skin. It was at Harvard that the
first computer, the MARK I, was developed in 1944. Later Harvard offered the first
degree program in computer science. In 2002, Harvard scientists developed a new
technique for cataloging all foreign DNA in the human body. At Harvard's Center
for Imaging and Mesoscale Structures, scientists and engineers are using lithography
techniques to build electronic devices on the scale of a millionth of a meter.
Graduates stay to found businesses and add to the region's economic growth.
Harvard graduate Tom Stemberg is the founder of Staples, Inc., which reached $10
billion in sales 15 years after its 1985 opening, and George Colony's Forrester
Research is known worldwide for assessing the strategic needs of information technology.
In 1998 Ling Chai founded Jenzabar, Inc., which provides software and intranet
services to colleges and universities.
Seven U.S. presidents have studied
here, and 39 members of the faculty have been awarded Nobel Prizes. After nearly
400 years, Harvard continues to attract innovators, whether they are drop-outs
like Bill Gates or intellectual leaders like Skip Gates.
Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University|
by Phillis and Morton
Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father |
by Francis J. Bremer, 2003