Founded in September 1636, the University of Harvard is considered to be the oldest institution of higher education in the USA. In 1639 it has got the name Harvard College after its first donor John Harvard. In 1780 the University of Harvard acquired its present name, being referred to as a university rather than a college.
The university can be proud of its staff members, among whom there are 19 Nobel Prize winners and 15 Pulitzer Prize winners. Currently the University of Harvard has the largest university library collection in the world, ranking third after the Library of Congress and the British Library. The library comprises about 90 individual libraries and nearly 14,5 million volumes. The University of Harvard is richly endowed annually. As of 2005 its endowments total $25,9 billion, which is the largest financial endowment of any academic establishment.
The students of Harvard University are happy to belong to this highly selective institution. According to the Atlantic Monthly, the University of Harvard is the fifth most selective institution in the United States. As of 2005 the university admitted 19,650 students for both undergraduate and graduate education. They are served by a faculty of 2,300 professors.
Harvard has today nine faculties, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences together with its Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, which includes the Medical School and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, the School of Public Health, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Graduate School of Education and the Graduate School of Design. The John F. Kennedy School of Government was founded in 1936 and hence is considered to be the newest Harvard University School.
The main campus of the university is located in central Cambridge, extending to the Harvard Square neighborhood. The majority of the university's athletic facilities are located in Allston. Longwood district of Boston is home for Harvard Medical School. The university has purchased tracts of land in Allston with the intention to expand its campus territories. The university plans to establish two research complexes, which will home the Engineering Department and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. The Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education will be also relocated to Allston.
Among the best known graduates of the university are poets Wallace Stevens, T.S.Eliot and Cummings; philosopher Henry David Thoreau; author Ralph Waldo Emerson; composer Leonard Bernstein; architect Philip Johnson; and political leaders John Adams, John Hancock and John F. Kennedy. Five presidents of the USA, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt have graduated from Harvard College.
The University of Harvard is often criticized for its admission policy, which reflects the admission department's preference for children of wealthy patrons and alumni.