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NOVEMBER 2015: Revised Winthrop House plans unveiled

Plans for “Winthrop East"

Fourth House Renewal project set to begin in 2016

November 2015

The original plans, unveiled in February, called for “Winthrop East,” a five-story, contemporary addition to Gore Hall. The revised plans still include the addition, but the contemporary shell has been replaced by a more traditional design in response to what the architects heard from the community.


IMAGE: Plans for “Winthrop East,” a five-story addition to Gore Hall

NOVEMBER 2015: Harvard sets record for green building certification

LEED Gold–certified Nocera Lab

100 LEED-certified buildings is most in higher education

November 2015

Harvard reached a major milestone in its commitment to sustainability with its 100th LEED-certified space—the Platinum-level renovation of Esteves Hall at the Business School. Harvard now has more LEED-certified building projects than any other higher education institution in the world, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.


IMAGE: Researchers in the LEED Gold–certified Nocera Lab are working on “artificial leaf” technology that could revolutionize clean energy

OCTOBER 2015: Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal approves Smith Campus Center plans

Smith Campus Center's transparent pavilion facing Massachusetts Avenue

Work on campus center makeover set to begin in spring

October 2015

The approval, the final of the significant regulatory permits governing the proposed design of Harvard’s Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, means that the project will move forward. Pending building permits and coordination with the city on construction logistics, work can begin as scheduled in spring 2016. The building, which will continue to welcome the Greater Cambridge community and the wider public, will provide an improved experience for residents and visitors alike.


IMAGE: Designs for the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center include a transparent pavilion facing Massachusetts Avenue

AUGUST 2015: Renewed Duster House reopens

Dunster House seen from the front courtyard

Dunster is first House to be completely renewed

August 2015

Dunster House is the first House to be completely renewed, informed by test projects that transformed Stone Hall at Quincy House and McKinlock Hall at Leverett House. For 15 months and through Boston’s snowiest winter on record, 400 workers carefully renewed Dunster’s 183,060 square feet, including 57 chimneys, 56 suites with common rooms, 10 common rooms on the residential floors, and 863 windows. Also part of the project: new bathrooms, new exercise space, smart technology rooms, a new student grill, new kitchen space, and new learning spaces for the 327 students who make Dunster their home at Harvard.


IMAGE: Dunster House seen from the front courtyard

MAY 2015: Harvard Kennedy School campus transformation project breaks ground

View of proposed Gateway Building on Eliot Street

HKS constructing, updating spaces to meet modern demands

May 2015

The Kennedy School’s most dramatic transformation in four decades, the $125 million expansion and renovation will add nearly 91,000 square feet in three new structures, unifying the connections among the School’s four core buildings for the first time.


IMAGE: View of proposed Gateway Building on Eliot Street

APRIL 2015: Topping off the Chao Center at Harvard Business School

Chao family at "topping off" ceremony

Gift to HBS supports new Executive Education center

April 2015

The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, a 90,000-square-foot, four-story structure that will contain meeting rooms, office and dining facilities, and classrooms, will serve as a space where the roughly 10,000 professionals who attend HBS Executive Education programs each year can mingle with MBA and doctoral students. It is the first building on the Harvard Business School campus named for a woman and the first named for a person with a Chinese surname.


IMAGE: Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center topping off ceremony

APRIL 2015: Harvard Business School reopens Esteves Hall

Esteves Hall ribbon-cutting
Executive Education residence hall renovated, renamed

April 2015

André Esteves, cofounder and CEO of Brazil-based BTG Pactual, the largest investment bank in Latin America, made a significant personal donation to renovate Harvard Business School's Baker Hall, which has been renamed Esteves Hall in his honor. The residence hall is used by the School's Executive Education programs, which annually attract some 10,000 executives from around the world—a substantial proportion of them from Brazil.


IMAGE: Esteves Hall ribbon-cutting

APRIL 2015: Harvard announces a 21% reduction in carbon emissions since 2006

Harvard Community GardenUniversity's sustainability efforts show great progress

April 2015

University-wide greenhouse gas emissions were reduced 21 percent from fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2014, even when accounting for more than 3 million square feet of growth and renovation (excluding that growth, emissions were reduced by 32 percent). The 21 percent reduction is equal to 58,013 metric tons of carbon dioxide since 2006, the equivalent of taking 12,213 cars off the road.


IMAGE: Harvard Community Garden

FEBRUARY 2015: Reimagined Harvard Ed Portal opens its doors

Ed Portal224 Western Avenue in Allston becomes a 12,000-square-foot space devoted to teaching, research, exploration, and recreation

February 2015

Located at the crossroads of the North Allston-Brighton neighborhood and Harvard’s campus in Allston, the Ed Portal serves as a physical place for members of the Allston-Brighton and Harvard communities to come together to share ideas and learn from one another.


IMAGE: Ed Portal opening, February 2015

JANUARY 2015: Plans for Smith Campus Center renovation announced

Smith Campus CenterEffort to create campus center progresses

January 2015

After conducting more than 25 focus groups and receiving nearly 6,000 responses to a University-wide survey, planners unveiled design concepts for the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center that include new formal and informal gathering areas, a wide variety of eating options, flexible meeting or event spaces, fireplaces, landscaped gardens, and even a roof terrace. Public areas will be suffused with natural light, while the exterior plazas along Massachusetts Avenue and Mount Auburn Street will be reinvigorated.


IMAGE: Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, 2014

NOVEMBER 2014: Harvard Art Museums opens new facility

Harvard Art MuseumsAfter a six-year renovation, Harvard Art Museums opens to the public

November 2014

The Harvard Art Museums’ recent renovation and expansion build on the legacies of Harvard’s three art museums and unite their remarkable collections under one roof for the first time. The responsive design of architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop preserved the Fogg Museum’s landmark 1927 facility, while transforming the space to accommodate 21st-century needs.


IMAGE: Cambridge residents get an exclusive look at the renovated Harvard Art Museums

OCTOBER 2014: Harvard Kennedy School releases preliminary plans for reimagined campus

Harvard Kennedy School GatewayCreating a campus that amplifies the HKS mission

October 2014

The Kennedy School is well known for its ability to bring together individuals with different ideas on how to solve the world’s most intractable problems. With its campus transformation project, the School will give physical expression to its famed convening power. New spaces for teaching and learning and additional areas for collaboration will improve cohesion and create opportunities for serendipitous interaction—all with the goal of making the world a better place.


IMAGE: View of proposed Gateway Building on Eliot Street

OCTOBER 2014: Harvard releases first University-wide Sustainability Plan

Sustainability PlanUniversity-wide Sustainability Plan defines a holistic vision and clear priorities for how the University will move toward an even healthier, more sustainable campus community

October 2014

The five-year operational plan, created with input from hundreds of students, faculty, and staff, targets reductions in energy, water, and waste while also focusing on sustainable operations, culture change, and human health. It is organized around five core topics: emissions and energy, campus operations, nature and ecosystems, health and well-being, and culture and learning.


IMAGE: Graphics courtesy of Harvard's Office for Sustainability

SEPTEMBER 2014: Announcement of "West Station," a new commuter rail station to serve Allston

Allston aerialExpected to open in 2020, the station will provide a direct route into downtown Boston

September 2014

"West Station" will be a public-private partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Harvard University to better serve the transportation needs of Allston, including members of the Harvard community living and working in the area. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.


IMAGE: Photo by Peter Vanderwarker

AUGUST 2014: McKinlock Hall is the second completed project in the House Renewal initiative

LeverettAfter 15 months of renovation, Leverett House shatters expectations

August 2014

As with the first House Renewal project, Quincy House’s Stone Hall, the renovation and restoration of Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall was guided by the fundamental goals of House Renewal: preserving the historic character of the Houses, invigorating House life, connecting spaces and nurturing community, providing modern accommodations and sustainable operations, and taking the future into account.


IMAGE: Glen D. Nelson ’59 Junior Common Room, 2014

2014: Bright Hockey Center renovated and expanded

Bright-LandryBright-Landry Hockey Center renamed in recognition of support from the late C. Kevin Landry AB ’66 and his family


A renovation and expansion of the Bright Hockey Center, made possible with support from the late C. Kevin Landry AB ’66 and his family, includes construction of a 20,000-square-foot addition between the hockey facility and the Albert H. Gordon Track. Among the upgraded spectator amenities are new concession, souvenir, and hospitality areas. Other enhancements include new locker rooms for the men’s and women’s hockey teams, as well as new sports medicine and workout facilities and coaches’ offices. The facility was renamed the Bright-Landry Hockey Center in honor of the Landry's generosity.


IMAGE: The Bright-Landry Hockey Center, ca. 2014

DECEMBER 2013: Tata Hall opens at Harvard Business School

Tata Hall, 2013Tata Hall enhances and extends the School’s portfolio of Executive Education program facilities in Allston

December 2013

Located on the northeast corner of Harvard Business School’s campus in Allston, Tata Hall houses executives who come from around the globe to advance their education and then return to strengthen their organizations, thus furthering the HBS mission to educate involved leaders around the world. The 161,000-square-foot building features two classrooms, 179 bedrooms, and three gathering spaces to enhance community among the nearly 10,000 participants who attend Executive Education programs each year.


IMAGE: Tata Hall, 2013

OCTOBER 2013: Boston Redevelopment Authority approves Allston Institutional Master Plan

Allston IMP RenderingUniversity presents 10-year plan for campus in Allston


The Institutional Master Plan (IMP) presents Harvard’s 10-year plan for its campus in Allston. The plan focuses on a range of physical planning objectives critical to the University, to the local community, and to the city of Boston. Plans for Harvard’s buildings and grounds focus on ensuring that Harvard remains a single unified institution and that its many parts connect in a manner that supports teaching, advances research, and fosters innovation.


IMAGE: Rendering of the 10-year plan, 2013

AUGUST 2013: Stone Hall reopens as the first House space to undergo renewal

QuincyOld Quincy, the neo-Georgian portion of Quincy House, renamed in honor of Robert G. Stone Jr. AB ’45

August 2013

Old Quincy House, which reopened to undergraduates for the start of the 2012–13 academic year, is the first fully renewed building in the effort to reimagine and reconstruct Harvard’s undergraduate Houses to support living and learning in the 21st century while also preserving the Houses’ historic character. The building is now fully accessible for those with disabilities, is LEED Gold certified as environmentally friendly, and includes new social, music, and learning spaces.


IMAGE: Robert Doyle, associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, demonstrates the features of a smart classroom as Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith and others look on.

2013: Harvard Law School renovates Gannett House, the School’s oldest structure

GannettGreek Revival structure that has housed the Harvard Law Review since 1920s brought into the 21st century


In a 1987 essay, former Harvard Law School dean Erwin Griswold LLB ’28, SJD ’29 wrote: “Gannett House is perhaps the most intensely used building in the law school. It was crowded when I knew it with thirty-five members of the law Review Board. How the present administration operates, with a Board of more than eighty members, has long been beyond my comprehension.” Originally constructed in 1838, renovations began in December 2012 when construction crews gutted and redesigned the building’s interior to accommodate an elevator, central air and heating systems, a reconfigured electrical system, and redesigned office space on the first and second floors.


IMAGE: Gannett House, 2013

2013: Science Center Plaza becomes the latest Common Space at Harvard

Science Center PlazaCreating spaces in which interactions can take place


In 2013, surface work on the Plaza, just outside the Science Center, was completed in conjunction with the city of Cambridge, which made structural repairs and utility infrastructure improvements to the Cambridge Street tunnel beneath. This important work has resulted in safer pedestrian and bike access across the Plaza while providing a variety of informal seating areas and a flexible, open space that can be enjoyed by the campus and the community.


IMAGE: Science Center Plaza, 2013

NOVEMBER 2012: Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center opens

MGHPCCMGHPCC supports growing research computing needs

November 2012

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) opened in 2012 to support the growing research computing needs of Harvard and four other research-intensive universities in Massachusetts: Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts. With the increased role of computation, the MGHPCC represents a critical piece of infrastructure that will allow Harvard and its partners to attract and retain the very best scientists, secure funding to support scientific research in the state, and continue to fuel the state’s innovation economy. This LEED Platinum facility is located on an 8.6-acre former industrial site just a few blocks from City Hall in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and houses 10,000 high-end computers used in support of computationally intensive research.


IMAGE: Interior of the MGHPCC

OCTOBER 2012: Chao family funds Executive Education center at Harvard Business School

Chao Center

New gateway for thousands of executives, students, and faculty to convene

October 2012

The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center at Harvard Business School, which broke ground in 2014, will serve as a gateway to the School for the more than 10,000 executives who attend HBS Executive Education classes each year, as well as a vibrant hub for executives to convene with each other, faculty, and students from the MBA and doctoral programs. The building was named in honor of the late matriarch of the Chao family, who had four daughters attend HBS, on the 50th anniversary of women’s admission to the School’s full-time MBA program.


IMAGE: Rendering of the future Chao Center at HBS

JULY 2012: Harvard announces plans to renew the University’s 12 undergraduate Houses

Dunster$1 billion initiative to renew and re-envision the undergraduate student experience

July 2012

House Renewal is the most ambitious capital project in Harvard College’s history, and the need is urgent. Physical improvements to the Houses will not only modernize the space but also have meaningful impact for residents. Their purpose is to encourage the interaction of the people within, recognizing the changing needs of our students and the changing world in which they are learning. The renewal of the Houses will yield an array of improved spaces, carefully designed to better enable education, exploration, relaxation, and socialization.


IMAGE: Dunster House, 2012

NOVEMBER 2011: Harvard Innovation Lab opens

i-LabThe i-lab serves as a resource for students from across Harvard interested in entrepreneurship and innovation

November 2011

The Harvard Innovation Lab, a 30,000-square-foot space with 250 workstations, 24 conference rooms, and a prototyping workshop, opens to entrepreneurs from Harvard and the life sciences community.


IMAGE: i-lab, 2011

2011: Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing Building becomes Harvard Law School’s new hub

WassersteinComplex aimed at improving student experience


In the fall of 2011, the Law School opened its newest building, 250,000 square feet aimed at bringing faculty and students closer. Its design, developed in close collaboration with HLS community residents and neighbors and realized by the architectural firm Robert A. M. Stern Architects, grew out of a strategic plan crafted in 2000, with the primary goal of improving the overall student experience.


IMAGE: Wasserstein Hall, 2012

JULY 2011: Ray Mellone Park opens in Allston

MelloneAllston’s Library Park receives a new name, honoring one of the neighborhood’s most active and respected residents

July 2011

Allston’s Library Park is renamed in honor one of the neighborhood’s most active and respected residents. Created through a partnership among Harvard University, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Boston Parks & Recreation Department, the Boston Public Library, and members of the Allston-Brighton community, the park was built by Harvard on 1.74 acres of vacant land that was once part of the original Charles River marshland, and later the site of the McNamara Concrete Co. The land, donated by Harvard to Boston, has been transformed into an oasis of open space, with plantings, rose bushes, a hill, winding paths, benches, and a dramatic misting fountain built with three large granite lion heads salvaged from a business on Western Avenue.


IMAGE: The Honan-Allston Branch Library was renamed Raymond V. Mellone Park at an event hosted by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

APRIL 2011: Harvard announces sponsorship of Hubway bike share program

Hubway bike at Widener LibraryUniversity sponsors five bike share stations in Allston and Longwood

April 2011

Following the University’s sponsorship of five bike share stations in Allston and Longwood, the partnership has since grown to include 12 Hubway stations across campus. Additionally, the University’s CommuterChoice program offers discounted memberships to Harvard affiliates.


IMAGE: A Hubway bike in front of Widener Library

2010: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering opens new facilities in Boston

Wyss Institute60,000 square feet of office and laboratory space dedicated to research that will improve patient care


The mission of the Hansjörg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is to discover the engineering principles that nature uses to build living things, and to harness these insights to create biologically inspired materials, devices, and control technologies to address unmet medical needs worldwide and bring about a more sustainable world. Swiss engineer and businessman Hansjörg Wyss MBA ’65 donated $125 million in 2008 to establish the facility and gave an additional $125 million to the effort in 2013.

IMAGE: The Wyss Institute’s Longwood facility

JUNE 2008: Harvard opens the Harvard Allston Education Portal

Ed PortalBringing Harvard’s greatest strengths to the Allston-Brighton community

June 2008

The Ed Portal initially opens as part of the Cooperation Agreement between Harvard and the city of Boston to bring Harvard’s greatest strengths of teaching and research to the Allston-Brighton community.


IMAGE: Harvard’s Robert Lue talks with (from left) Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Van-Ado Jean-Noel, and the Allston Development Group’s Chris Gordon about the Allston Education Portal.

2008: Planning begins for comprehensive multiyear renovations to the undergraduate House system

LowellCornerstone of University’s effort to reinvigorate the undergraduate experience


Renewal of Harvard’s House system is a cornerstone of the University’s overall effort to renew and reinvest in the Harvard undergraduate experience. Many of the Houses need basic physical upgrades, and students have voiced their need for more privacy, more flexibility, and improved comfort.


IMAGE: A bust of former Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell, who called for the creation of the House system in 1904

2008: Harvard establishes greenhouse gas reduction goal

Harvard sets goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016 and creates the Office for Sustainability


At the recommendation of a faculty, student, and staff task force, President Drew Gilpin Faust establishes a science-based greenhouse gas reduction goal to reduce emissions 30 percent by 2016 from a 2006 baseline, including growth, and a long-term goal to reduce emissions to the maximum rate practicable. The goal was announced at a Sustainability Celebration attended by 15,000 in Tercentenary Theatre to hear a keynote address from former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore AB ’69. The Office for Sustainability was created to lead the University community in setting and achieving sustainability goals.


2007: Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences established

Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences becomes a School


In celebration of the renewal and growth engineering and applied sciences experienced in recent years at Harvard, the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences becomes a School. The new name also reflects its progenitor, the Lawrence Scientific School. Founded in 1847, the Lawrence School was Harvard’s first major effort to provide a formal, advanced education in science and engineering. The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, dedicated to basic and application-oriented research, reflects the School’s genesis, builds upon its recent successes, and looks to the future.

OCTOBER 2004: Harvard adopts University-wide Sustainability Principles

Harvard defines its vision for a healthier, more sustainable future

October 2004

Harvard is committed to developing and maintaining an environment that enhances human health and fosters a transition toward sustainability. Sustainability should be advanced through research, analysis, and experience gained over time. The Sustainability Principles have provided a broad framework to guide the implementation of projects throughout campus that support the University’s research and teaching mission by enhancing health and wellness, conserving resources, and improving the efficiency of campus operations.


2004: Harvard Stem Cell Institute created

HSCIUnique collaborative brings together more than 1,000 scientists


To pursue the promise of stem cell and regenerative biology, Harvard creates the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, a novel academic home for researchers and students and a network of stem cell scientists extending from the University to its affiliated hospitals and the biomedical industry. Leveraging this unique environment, Harvard’s program has helped to change the paradigm for biomedical research and education by emphasizing cooperative teams and student participation in cutting-edge science.


IMAGE: The Harvard Stem Cell Institute is a world leader in the exploding field of stem cell biology.

2000: Harvard’s Green Campus Initiative launches

Harvard launches Green Campus Initiative


Harvard’s Green Campus Initiative launches as a faculty/staff initiative, prompting strategies for more sustainable capital projects and campus operations—and greater environmental awareness. The initiative became the Harvard Office for Sustainability in 2008.

1999: Radcliffe College merges with Harvard College

Radcliffe College becomes the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study


Radcliffe College and Harvard College officially merge, thereby establishing the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, where individuals pursue advanced learning at its outermost limits and create new knowledge in every field from poetry to biomimetics. The Institute’s founding dean is Drew Gilpin Faust, current president of Harvard University.

1978: Harvard Kennedy School moves to new campus along the Charles River

HKSConverted rail yards create opportunity for Kennedy School growth and development


The John F. Kennedy School of Government, which was renamed in honor of the slain U.S. president in 1966, moves into its new home along the Charles River to accommodate its growth and development. The Kennedy School campus, public park, and mixed-use development were created on former MBTA rail yards.


IMAGE: John F. Kennedy School of Government, ca. 1978

1972: Radcliffe integrates undergraduate housing with Harvard, permanently establishing co-ed Houses

Harvard QuadCo-ed Houses further connect Harvard and Radcliffe


Pforzheimer, Cabot, and Currier Houses join the existing nine undergraduate Houses of Harvard, further connecting Harvard and Radcliffe.


IMAGE: Radcliffe Quadrangle, 2012

1963: Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, designed by Le Corbusier, opens

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Artistic entities of Harvard College come together under one roof


The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the only building on the North American continent designed by the famous Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier, is completed. The five levels of the building function as open and flexible working spaces for painting, drawing, and sculpture, and the ramp through the heart of the building encourages public circulation and provides views into the studios, making the creative process visible through the building design.


IMAGE: Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, ca. 1963

1936: Harvard Graduate School of Design established

GSD 1946Bringing together all disciplines of the built environment


The Harvard Graduate School of Design is founded as a multidisciplinary design school, bringing together architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning, and eventually adding urban design and the advanced studies programs. The School has a holistic focus on the built environment, making the GSD distinct from its peer institutions.

IMAGE: Architecture class in Robinson Hall, 1946

1936: Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration established

LittauerA School to address historic challenges facing the U.S. government


The idea of a school of public affairs at Harvard was born in the midst of the Great Depression and on the eve of World War II. As government grappled with historic challenges both domestic and international, Harvard alumnus Lucius N. Littauer backed his vision of a school for a new professional governing class with an unprecedented $2 million gift. Today, the Kennedy School has evolved into one of the world’s most eminent social science research institutions—housing 15 research centers and institutes and more than 30 Executive Education and degree programs—with worldwide reach and influence. More than 46,000 Kennedy School alumni reside in more than 200 countries and territories and serve in a wide range of positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

IMAGE: Littauer Center, the first home of the Graduate School of Public Administration, 2013

1932: Memorial Church opens in Harvard Yard

Memorial ChurchChurch dedicated in honor of those who died in World War I

November 1932

A gift of the alumni to the University, the Memorial Church was dedicated on Armistice Day 1932 in memory of those who died in World War I. Memorials have been added to remember those who have died in the wars since. The church stands opposite Widener Library as a visible reminder of the historical and spiritual heritage that has sustained Harvard for nearly four centuries.


IMAGE: Memorial Church, ca. 2008

1930: Harvard officially opens the first two undergraduate Houses

Lowell HouseDunster House and Lowell House become first River Houses


In the early 1900s, under the leadership of President Lowell, the House Plan established a model that offers an affordable alternative to more expensive local accommodations for many undergraduates. The first two Houses, Dunster and Lowell, opened in 1930.


IMAGE: Lowell House under construction, 1930

1927: Allston campus for the Graduate School of Business Administration opens

Campus Dedication CeremonyHarvard Business School becomes the first residential business school in the U.S.

June 1927

Speaking at the campus dedication on June 4, 1927, George Fisher Baker, whose $5 million gift funded the construction of the 13 original riverfront buildings, set the tone for the next 100 years of campus development: “It must be remembered always that the standard of excellence which must be maintained comes not simply from the outside of the buildings, but from the work and training on the inside.”


IMAGE: Campus dedication ceremony, June 4, 1927

1920: Harvard Graduate School of Education established

Since its founding in 1920, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) has been training professionals to create environments in which teaching can transform lives. HGSE emerged as a leading institution in education thought and practice under the leadership of its third dean, Francis Keppel, who established the School as a home for leading faculty and attracted top students with an innovative master of arts in teaching program.

1916–20: College acquires dormitories to house undergraduates

Adams HouseBuildings later become Adams House


After earlier asking architect Charles Coolidge to develop a plan for freshman dormitories near the Charles River, the first step toward housing all undergraduates in College buildings, President Lowell acquires private dormitories along the “Gold Coast” of Mount Auburn and Bow Streets for Harvard housing.


IMAGE: Adams House, ca. 1932

1915: Widener Memorial Library opens

Widener LibraryWidener Library continues to serve as the University’s flagship library


Built with a gift from Eleanor Elkins Widener, the library is a memorial to her son Harry, Class of 1907, an enthusiastic young bibliophile who perished aboard the Titanic. It had been Harry’s plan to donate his personal collection to the University once it provided a suitable alternative to the outdated and inadequate library then located in Gore Hall. Mrs. Widener fulfilled her son’s dream by building a facility of monumental proportions, with over 50 miles of shelves and the capacity to hold over three million volumes.


IMAGE: Widener Library, ca. 1914

1913: Harvard School of Public Health established

The School began as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, founded in 1913 as the first professional public health training program in America. In 1922, the School split off from MIT, helped by a sizable grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. From the start, faculty were expected to commit themselves to research as well as teaching. In 1946, no longer affiliated with the Medical School, the School became an independent, degree-granting body. Many of the changes that unfolded in public health over the 20th century trace their origins to the School. Initially, researchers were preoccupied by deadly epidemic infections and by the scourges of unfettered industrialization. During the School’s first 50 years, the public health enterprise matured, drawing on a full range of analytic, scientific, and policy disciplines. Today, the School’s purview extends from the genes to the globe. Its work encompasses not only the basic public health disciplines of biostatistics, epidemiology, and environmental and occupational health, but also molecular biology, quantitative social sciences, policy and management, human rights, and health communications. In recognition of an historic gift from the Morningside Foundation in 2014, the School was renamed the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

1909: Harvard Extension School established

In his first year as president of Harvard University, A. Lawrence Lowell establishes the University Extension at Harvard to provide evening education courses for Boston-area residents not enrolled at the College. The Harvard Board of Overseers approved the plan for a Department of University Extension under the authority of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in February 1910. Hollis Professor of Divinity James Hardy Ropes AB 1889 served as the first dean of University Extension, which began awarding associate in arts degrees with no residence or entrance examination required.

1908: Harvard Business School established

With 59 students, the Graduate School of Business Administration formally opens as a graduate department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

1906: Medical School campus moves to Fenway neighborhood of Boston

Harvard Medical School QuadLongwood begins transformation to a medical research hub


Harvard Medical School moves to Longwood Avenue in Boston, where the five original marble-faced buildings of the quadrangle are still used for classrooms, research laboratories, and administrative offices. At the time of the move, the Fenway was open farm and marshland. The combination of a new medical school and empty land drew hospitals to the neighborhood now known as the Longwood Medical Area.


IMAGE: Harvard Medical School’s Gordon Hall on its Longwood Campus

1903: Harvard Stadium opens

Harvard StadiumFirst concrete football stadium in the U.S. opens for use


Harvard Stadium is one of only four athletics arenas designated as a National Historic Landmark. In addition to Crimson football, it has played host to U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials (1916, 1920), Olympic soccer matches (1984), and a variety of other sports—even ice hockey.


IMAGE: Aerial view of Harvard Stadium, ca. 1907

1895: Fogg Art Museum opens

Fogg Museum


The Fogg Museum opens on the northern edge of Harvard Yard in a modest Beaux-Arts building designed by Richard Morris Hunt. In 1927, the Fogg Museum moved to its home at 32 Quincy Street. Designed by architects Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott of Boston, the joint art museum and teaching facility was the first purpose-built structure in North America for the specialized training of art scholars, conservators, and museum professional.

IMAGE: Fogg Art Museum, ca. 1925–1927

1890: Allston land donated by Major Henry Lee Higginson COL 1855 dedicated as Soldiers Field

The Boston neighborhood of Allston, itself named after artist and Harvard graduate Washington Allston AB 1800, was home to undeveloped land on the south bank of the Charles River. The area is now home to Harvard Business School, athletic facilities, and more.

1872: Arnold Arboretum established

Arnold ArboretumArnold Arboretum blends research and beloved public park


Arnold Arboretum is established in 1872 through a bequest from James Arnold’s estate. The 281-acre estate was originally donated to Harvard in 1842 by Benjamin Bussey. Frederick Law Olmsted planned the Arboretum from 1877 to 1885, and a 1,000-year lease agreement with the Boston Parks Commission was signed in 1882.


IMAGE: Autumn at the Arnold Arboretum

1872: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences established

Harvard’s governing boards create the Graduate Department, establishing the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), which now is composed of over 50 degree-granting departments, divisions, and committees. At that time, the governing boards decreed formal requirements for the AM and more advanced examinations and a dissertation deemed a “contribution to knowledge” for the PhD. William Elwood Byerly AB 1871 received the first Harvard PhD (in mathematics) in 1873.

1870: Construction of Memorial Hall begins

Memorial HallBuilding pays tribute to Harvard’s Union veterans


The Reverend Phillips Brooks AB 1855 lays the cornerstone of Memorial Hall, a building honoring Harvard’s Union dead in the Civil War. Construction was completed in 1878. Sanders Theatre, the auditorium within the hall, continues to host the most popular courses in the College as well as regular concerts and public events.


IMAGE: View of Memorial Hall, ca. 1890

1867: Harvard School of Dental Medicine established

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine becomes the first dental school in the United States to be connected with a university and coordinated to its medical school, thus making the full scholarly and scientific resources of a university available to dental education.

1817: Harvard Law School established

Dane HallThe oldest continuously operating law school in the U.S.


Dane Hall, the Law School’s first new building, was formally dedicated in Harvard Yard in 1832 and served for more than half a century thereafter.


IMAGE: Dane Hall, home of Harvard Law School from 1832 to 1918

1816: Harvard Divinity School established

Harvard Divinity School 1826Harvard Divinity School becomes the country’s first nonsectarian theological school


Harvard was founded in 1636 “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches…” Instruction in divinity was a central element in the curriculum of Harvard College for the first two centuries of its existence. In 1816, Harvard Divinity School was established to “train the student to power of thought and utterance” through the “free investigation” of religion. Unaligned with any sect, HDS was the first divinity school in the United States to welcome students from a variety of denominations.


IMAGE: Divinity Hall, dedicated in 1826, was the first Harvard building outside of the Yard (etching, ca. 1840).

1782: Harvard Medical School established

Holden ChapelThird school of medicine in the Colonies


Harvard Medical School is officially opened as the “Medical Institution of Harvard University.” Its first home was Holden Chapel in Harvard Yard, a building completed in 1745.


IMAGE: Holden Chapel, the first home of Harvard Medical School

1775: Continental soldiers quartered in Harvard buildings

For Harvard, the greatest disruption of the age came shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. On May 1, the Committee of Safety ordered the College to close early as Cambridge turned into an armed camp, with soldiers of the Revolution soon billeted in four Harvard buildings (Holden Chapel, Massachusetts and Hollis Halls, and Old Stoughton College [dismantled in 1781]). General George Washington briefly set up headquarters in Wadsworth House, and a thousand pounds of lead that had once repelled rain and snow on the roof of Harvard Hall were put to deadly new use as bullets repelling British troops in Boston.

1720: Construction of Massachusetts Hall, the oldest building still in operation at Harvard University, is completed

To accommodate the growth of the student body—enrollment had increased from 18 students in the the previous five classes to 37 students in the Class of 1721—Massachusetts Hall is erected to form a courtyard with Harvard Hall and Old Stoughton, which opened to Cambridge Common. In 1870, the Hall was retrofitted to offer teaching space, but after a fire in 1924, the space was again returned to dormitories. Today, it houses University administration, including the president’s office, as well as as a freshman residence hall on the top floor.

1637–38: Overseers purchase the College’s first piece of real estate: a house and an acre of land from Goodman Peyntree

Located on the southern edge of “Cow-yard Row” and soon distinguished as the “College Yard,” this tract became the nucleus of present-day Harvard Yard and remains at the southern end of the Old Yard (the area west of Thayer, University, and Weld Halls).

1636: Harvard College founded

Harvard College 1668Legislature of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes first college in America


The first college in the American colonies is founded when the “Great and General Court of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England” approves £400 for the establishment of “a schoale or colledge” later to be called “Harvard.”


IMAGE: Conjectural view of Harvard College in 1668