哈佛大学（英语：Harvard University，正式注册名称为The President and Fellows of Harvard College），是一所位于美国麻萨诸塞州剑桥的私立大学，常春藤盟校成员之一。1636年由麻萨诸塞州殖民地立法机关立桉成立，迄今已是美国历史最悠久的高等学府，也是北美第一间和最古老的法人机构（corporation），都位于剑桥市，该校与临近的麻省理工学院在世界上享有一流大学的声誉、财富和影响力，在英语系大学的排名尤其突出。另外，哈佛也是全世界生产最多有「全球本科生诺贝尔奖」之称的罗德奖学金得主的大学。 哈佛最初称为「新学院」或「新市民学院」，该机构在1639年3月13日以一名毕业于英格兰剑桥大学伊曼纽尔学院年轻的牧师约翰·哈佛之名，命名为哈佛学院，因为他捐赠了779英镑（按每年增长6%，每12年翻倍计算，到2011年共翻近31番，相当于至少增长11亿倍）以及400本书籍（这是他的一半财产）。哈佛大学作为一个「大学」，目前最早的文献指出是在麻州新宪法颁布的1780年所实现的。 在40岁担任哈佛大学校长（1869年至1909年）的Charles William Eliot从根本上使哈佛蜕变为现代美国的研究型大学。Eliot的改革措施包括选修课程，小班授课，以及入学考试，此一「哈佛模式」影响了美国国家的高等和中等教育政策。此外，Eliot还负责出版了现在着名的「哈佛经典」，从多个学科收集「伟大的书」。他的名字在1926年逝世后，已和「哈佛」共同成为美国高等教育普遍愿景的同义词。 哈佛大学的图书馆藏书超过1500万册，这是美国最大的学术图书馆，规模为全球第五（仅次于美国国会图书馆，大英图书馆，法国国家图书馆，纽约公共图书馆）。目前的哈佛大学在诸多主要的国际学院和大学排名始终排名世界第一，但在2010年QS大学排名中，被英国剑桥大学超越，并屈居第二。而外，它拥有非营利组织以外最大的财政捐赠，迄2008年已达378亿美元。
Cambridge’s many squares host a diverse array of stores, bars, restaurants, and coffee shops designed for the high-end college crowd. The town has been built over the centuries to integrate with and support the students and professors at MIT and Harvard, and there’s a sense of the college’s traditional colonial history in its architecture and offerings. Harvard students tend to stick to their side of the Charles and frequent the campus-adjacent pubs and breweries. Should they decide to head downtown to sample Boston’s college-heavy nightlife, Boston’s mass-transit system, the T, makes stops on campus. Nearby Allston, which Harvard is eying as an ideal location for science and technology expansions, is a little more industrial and gritty, unlike the quaint college-brochure charm of Cambridge.
Harvard’s red colonial buildings are arranged around a series of “yards,” similar to the series of squares that make up Cambridge. The college’s campus centers on Harvard Yard, which insulates freshman dorms, houses a number of administrative and academic facilities, and introduces scenic green space into the Cambridge landscape. Some residential houses are situated just south of Harvard Yard by the Charles River, while others extend across campus past the Yard and into the Quadrangle near Harvard Square. The majority of undergraduate buildings are located in the cluster created by Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, but Harvard’s graduate schools extend into Boston and neighboring Allston.
Weld is one of the most popular freshman dorms. A good location, elevator access, and spacious quarters add to its appeal. Stoughton is another popular one, due to its close vicinity to classes, good layout, and wood paneling. Other well-liked freshman dorms include Matthews, Grays, and Wigglesworth. Pennypacker is a dorm primarily known not for packing freshman into close quarters (I mean pennies--bad pun) but for being far from campus. To be honest, I think Pennypacker defeats the purpose of having freshmen conveniently situated, because Pennypacker residents must walk a good deal to attend classes and to eat at the freshman dining hall, Annenburg.
Canaday is probably the most disliked freshman dorm. Really, it’s not THAT bad, because it’s very closely situated nearby classes, but when your friends live in very Harvard-esque beautiful buildings and you’re staying in one that’s extremely plain, you feel a little bit sad. The terrible layout makes Canaday one of the worst (if not the worst) Harvard dorms. Apparently, Canaday originated as a dorm to house Harvard students that rebelled and rioted (rioting being a very common occurrence in Harvard’s history). So when you wonder why you’re staying in a dorm that resembles a jail cell more than a student residence, you’ll understand.
While upperclassmen dorms (called “houses”, like in Harry Potter!) are farther from classes on the whole, I prefer them because they are more spirited and closer to dining halls, which are smaller and more accommodating. One of the most popular upperclassmen dorms (the most popular one this year, according to freshmen) is Quincy. Quincy has a great location (being pretty much at the center of everything) and a fantastic dining hall. Unfortunately for most, upperclassmen dining halls are variable in their quality, but for Quincy residents, this is only a positive. Fabulous cookies and weekly ice cream are noted Quincy attractions. Other popular houses include Adams (closest location to classes), Kirkland (closest to many eateries and the gym), and Lowell (again, good location). Leverett Towers looks very “un-Harvard” in that it lacks the red brick, but is awesome because of its huge rooms and fantastically large windows. Unfortunately, your chances of staying here are slim unless you’re a senior in Leverett (sophomores and juniors tend to stay in Old Leverett, which isn’t that great). Other upperclass houses include Winthrop, Dunster and Mather. The last two are known for having bad locations and smaller rooms (though Dunster dining hall is one of the best).
The Quad houses are the ones that tend to be furthest from classes. Freshmen tend to avoid the Quad because of its very inconvenient location, but once becoming Quad residents, they seem to change their minds, and they learn to love it. The rest of the residential houses can be found here, including Cabot, Currier, and Pforzheimer (PfoHo). Dudley, the 13th and final house, doesn’t house any students but provides food and social activities for interested grad students or off-campus undergraduates. On the whole though, Harvard dorms are awesome. Even if their dorm is “unpopular”, residents tend to love it anyway, because of the strong social bonds they develop with their housemates. Encased in red brick, wood floors, and ivy, Harvard dorms are beautiful things.
Harvard, founded in 1636, is a private, Ivy League institution. Its undergraduate college has no established "freshman program." Students sample courses at the beginning of each semester and create their own study plan with an academic advisor. At the undergraduate level, Harvard promotes close collaboration between students and faculty on coursework and research. Its popular Freshman Seminar Program enables small groups of first-year students to work intimately with faculty on any of 130 different topics. Nearly all Harvard undergraduates live on campus for the first year in dormitories and later in "Houses" led by senior faculty members. Harvard's historic 380-acre campus is located in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston.
Cannonballs thrown out of dorm windows during the Revolutionary War are responsible for the dents in Harvard Yard sidewalks. The original library from John Harvard was destroyed in a fire. Only one book survived—-it was snuck out by a student. "Dr. Eliot’s Five-Foot Shelf" refers to a collection of “great books” that former Harvard president Charles Eliot compiled to form the basis of the liberal arts literary education. According to him, all you had do to was spend 15 minutes a day reading from the collection to get a proper education. It formed the basis of many literary curricula that came after. Before getting its own name, Radcliffe was known as the “Harvard Annex for Women.” Harvard’s library contains 15 million volumes, making it the fourth-largest collection in the world. The Harvard Lampoon humor publication has such distinguished comedic alumni as Conan O’Brien, Andy Borowitz, John Updike, George Plimpton, and Robert Benchley. Among its many pop culture appearances, Harvard provided the setting for: Love Story, Stealing Harvard, Legally Blonde, The Firm, The Paper Chase, Good Will Hunting, How High, With Honors, Soul Man, and Harvard Man. However, following Love Story (and until The Great Debaters was filmed in 2007), Harvard banned camera crews from actually using the campus to shoot.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1821) was an American essayist and author.
Presidents John Adams (1755), John Q. Adams (1788), Theodore Roosevelt (1880), Franklin Roosevelt (1903), John F. Kennedy (1940) all graduated from Harvard.
Sumner Redstone (1944) is the corporate leader of Viacom and CBS.
T.S. Eliot (1909) was a well-known American poet.
Conan O’Brien (1985) is a comedian and late-night TV host.
Natalie Portman (2003) is an Oscar-nominated actress.
You might not expect Harvard to be a jock school, but the college boasts one of the largest Division I athletic programs in the country. Over 1,500 student-athletes compete on 41 varsity teams in the Ivy League conference. A dozen or so intramural sports pit residential houses against each other in sports like table tennis, kickball, dodgeball, and the annual Charles River Run.
While its football team might not ever be coming to a BCS bowl game near you, students and alumni take pride in the storied history and traditions surrounding athletics at Harvard. The Harvard-Yale Regatta is one of the oldest continuous college rivalries in the country, with the first crew match dating back to 1852. And the annual Harvard-Yale football game (“the Game” to insiders) draws a huge crowd on every Saturday before Thanksgiving.