Harvard University

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Harvard yard winter 2009

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established in 1636, whose history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.


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  • Harvard has ruined more niggers than bad liquor.
  • I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.
    • William F. Buckley, Jr.; 1963 statement, as quoted in The Quote Verifier : Who Said What, Where, and When (2006) by Ralph Keyes, p. 82
  • The facilities for student dining, athletic activity, and classroom learning that existed 30 years ago at Harvard University were Spartan compared to the opulent facilities that today’s students enjoy. Harvard has no option but to keep ratcheting up its attractiveness and, therefore, its cost structure in order to compete successfully against the likes of Stanford and Yale.
    • Clayton Christiansen, et al. Disrupting College How: Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education. The Center for American Progress, February 2011
  • William F. Buckley, Jr. once made the famous pronouncement that he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phonebook than by the combined faculties of Harvard and MIT. Now that we are ruled by the combined faculties of Harvard and MIT, you can see what he meant.
  • Fair Harvard! we join in thy Jubilee throng,
    And with blessings surrender thee o’er
    By these Festival-rites, from the Age that is past,
    To the Age that is waiting before.
    O Relic and Type of our ancestors’ worth,
    That hast long kept their memory warm,
    First flow’r of their wilderness! Star of their night!
    Calm rising thro’ change and thro’ storm.
    • Samuel Gilman, Harvard Class of 1811, in the first verse of "Fair Harvard", the alma mater of Harvard University, written in 1836 for Harvard's 200th anniversary.
  • Farewell! be thy destinies onward and bright!
    To thy children the lesson still give,
    With freedom to think, and with patience to bear,
    And for Right ever bravely to live.
    Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,
    As the world on Truth’s current glides by,
    Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
    Till the stars in the firmament die.
    • Samuel Gilman, Harvard Class of 1811, in the fourth verse of "Fair Harvard". The final line of the fourth verse originally read "Till the stock of the Puritans die", but was revised in 2017.
  • It takes quite a bit of work (and a lot of luck) to acquire a level of fame. The question that might be worth asking is whether or not that effort is related to the quality of ideas underneath. Harvard has been around for nearly 400 years. That doesn't mean the brand name is worth as much as we might be inclined to believe.
  • Communism in the United States would hardly be identified with the slums of lower Manhattan, the dust bowlers of Kansas, or the miners of Pennsylvania. The word communism rather evokes associations like professors of state colleges with thick lenses in their spectacles, parlor pinks with Harvard accents, bored Park Avenue hostesses, anemic little East Europeans in public libraries, "progressive" and "advanced" psychologists specialized in sexual disorders, and unbearably conceited "foreign" correspondents.
    • Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, writing under the pen name Francis Stewart Campbell (1943), Menace of the Herd, or, Procrustes at Large, Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, p. 294
  • Punishment for uttering politically incorrect ideas, often with little regard for fair procedure, has plagued Harvard students, faculty members, and even, in the eyes of some, one now-former Harvard president over the past two decades. The disgraceful action taken against Professor Swamy is par for the course.
  • What I disliked most about Harvard was was that smug assumptions were too often treated as substitutes for evidence or logic. The idea seemed to be that if we bright and good fellows all believed something, it must be true.
    • Thomas Sowell, on his undergraduate studies at Harvard, in 'A Personal Odyssey (2000) The Free Press, p. 122
  • Ivy League universities are becoming in the eyes of the new Asian upper class the ultimate status luxury good. Harvard is like a Vuitton bag and a Cartier watch.
  • The heuristic here would be to use education in reverse: hire, conditional on an equal set of skills, the person with the least label-oriented education. It means that the person had to succeed in spite of the credentialization of his competitors and overcome more serious hurdles. In addition, people who didn’t go to Harvard are easier to deal with in real life.
  • Have you heard the latest wisecrack about Harvard? People are calling it a hedge fund with a university attached. They have a point—Harvard stands at the troubling intersection between higher education and high finance, with over 15 percent of its massive $38 billion endowment invested in hedge funds.
  • Harvard University students can take “Marxist Concepts of Racism,” which examines “the role of capitalist development and expansion in creating racial inequality.” You can bet there’s no mention of the genocide in Africa and former communist regimes like Yugoslavia.
    • Walter E. Williams, Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism (2008, Stanford University Press), p. 36
  • The ambience of Harvard University comes not so much from its profusion of museums and libraries, or the rat's maze of its narrow streets, but from its compression of time and space that speak centuries of history.

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