In 2011, Harvard celebrated the 375th anniversary of the 1636 founding of Harvard College. To mark this milestone, the University launched a year-long series of programs and activities, beginning with a celebration in Harvard Yard. The anniversary year also included a full program of events that characterized the lively intellectual exchanges that flourish at Harvard. These included academic events, lectures, symposia, and exhibits. Read more about Harvard at 375 in the Harvard Gazette.

Experience Harvard's 375th anniversary celebration through this video of the momentous occasion. 

Roving student performers represented a rich array of cultural traditions; dancers, musicians, a cappella groups and soloists. Colorful parades featured Harvard alumni, each of the undergraduate Houses, and Harvard’s graduate and professional schools, and Tercentenary Theatre was transformed with lighting and special effects.

The Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra performed, accompanied by a chorus of over a hundred student voices followed by a solo performance by our own international celebrity cellist, Yo-Yo Ma ‘76.

Dessert offerings and refreshments by local chefs were provided by Taza Chocolate, Harpoon 1636 beer, and fresh-pressed organic cider. Other treats included ice cream made using liquid nitrogen and Two Degrees, a nutrition bar, which when purchased, helps with famine relief. The centerpiece of the evening was a giant red velvet birthday cake - a special creation by award-winning pastry Chef Joanne Chang ’91, of Flour Bakery around which all of the deans gathered to lead the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday."

The Celebration marked a milestone in Harvard’s long history, and the launch of a year-long series of programs and events to begin the next exciting chapter for the University.

John Harvard Book Celebration

As part of Harvard’s 375th anniversary and in celebration of its close ties to the Boston and Cambridge communities, the University developed a lecture series that brought some of Harvard’s most renowned thinkers to speak at neighborhood libraries. Download the poster [PDF]

Harvard Voices

Harvard Voices is a collection of excerpts from famous speeches given at Harvard University over the past 100 years. These voices represent Harvard’s collective memory and continuing dialogue of ideas. The dialogue suggests the best of Harvard speaking to itself and to the world, and the best of the world speaking to Harvard.

If there is a unifying theme, it is the sheer diversity of these articulate and eloquent voices. They speak to one another through questions, creative tensions, collaborations, and contradictions. And they even provide humor.

To listen to these historic voices, visit our Harvard Voices playlist on Soundcloud.

Harvard Stories

The Harvard Stories project offers members of the Harvard community the opportunity to record, share, and preserve personal stories relating to their experience with the University.

The Harvard community has 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students, nearly 40,000 employees and affiliates, and over 365,000 alumni living and working around the world—each with a story to tell.

Each short video, edited for length, features one or two members of the Harvard community relaying a personal story about themselves, their work, and how Harvard has had an impact in their lives. Together, these Harvard Stories provide an invaluable archive of our shared history.

History of Harvard University

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College's first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. Read more about Harvard's history or view a historical timeline.

Harvard's 375th Anniversary