Founded in 1636, Harvard University possesses the title of America’s oldest learning institution. At its inception, this university’s name was “New College,” and its purpose was mainly to educate clergy.
The college was established in Newtowne which was later renamed Cambridge in 1639 for the English alma mater of some of the leading men of the colony.
On March 13, 1639, the school’s name became Harvard University, so named for the Rev. John Harvard who donated half of his estate and his entire library to the school upon his death. This significant bequest led the school to honor him by taking his name.
As an Ivy League school, Harvard is one of the nation’s most prestigious universities with a worldwide reputation for excellence. The main university campus lies along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a few miles west of downtown Boston.
A timeline of historical facts relating to Harvard University is available here.
If you are interested in finding out more about Cambridge, see a Brief History of Cambridge Massachusetts and check out Cambridge Office for Tourism to discover all of what this amazing city has to offer.