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First College Built in the US

written by: Destiny Keller•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 6/29/2011

A common history question asks: "What year was the first college built in the US?" Read on to find out which well-known institution holds the honor.

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    Are you wondering what year was the first college built in the US? This answer is Harvard University, built in 1636.

    The history of Harvard has so many more questions to awns besides what year was the first college built in the US. This Ivy League school is widely considered on of the finest academic institutions worldwide. It was founded on September 8th in 1636 in Cambridge Massachusetts. The college was named after it's first benefactor, John Harvard. Upon his death he left his library and half of his estate to the school. One of the most popular land marks at this university is a statue of John Harvard in front of University hall. This historic school started out with only one teacher and nine pupils. Today Harvard has over 20,000 students, and 360,000 living alumni.

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    School Color

    Many people may wonder why Harvard's color is crimson. There is a bit of history associated with the color from the 1800's. It started becoming popular around 1853 when two rowers, Charles Eliot, and Benjamin Crowninshield started giving crimson scarves to their team mates so spectators could see them stand out from rowers in other colleges during a regatta in 1858. Before students voted on crimson as the official color for the college, they had a choice between crimson and magenta. In 1910 crimson was designated as the school color by vote of the Harvard Corporation.

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    Famous People Who Went to Harvard

    Since Harvard was the first college built in the US, one can imagine it's fame, and the number of prestigious people who have attended this University. In fact, there are a number of famous people who have obtained degrees from Harvard such as Bill Gates, Matt Damon, and Barak Obama. Also, many presidents have earned honorary degrees from this institution. Just to name a few...

    George Washington 1776

    Thomas Jefferson 1787

    Andrew Jackson 1883

    John F. Kennedy 1956

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    Despite the stereotypical image of Harvard, most class sizes are below 40 students, with over half of the classes offered each semester enrolling 10 students or less! This is a great opportunity for students to get more interaction with professors and get more one on one attention they need. The faculty at Harvard is composed of world class scholars who are passionate and intellectual individuals. They come from all over the world, and offer a unique sense of diversity within the college. Many of them are passionate about their studies and continue their own research while teaching.

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    Harvard Today

    Harvard University has twelve degree granting schools today. They currently have over 400 student organizations of extra curricular, co-curricular, or academic focus. Out of their 20,000 students, about 6,000 of them are undergraduates. In the class of 2013, 12% of the students are international. They also have residence halls for undergraduate students, and over 97% of them choose to live in them all four years. There are designated halls for first year students and upper classmen. Each hall has it's own unique history, which helps bring students together as they share a part of the schools unique history.


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