Hello again from Boston! We’ve had a busy first week, but the exhaustion has been well worth it. Today we visited Harvard University and took an historic tour of its legendary campus. After a brief pronunciation lesson (“Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd”), we made our way from Harvard Square onto campus. Our students were excited to see and learn about America’s oldest college. Here are some fun facts we picked up along the way:
Harvard was founded by the Massachusetts Bay Colony and originally named “New College” before it was renamed for one of its early benefactors, John Harvard.
The university does not officially recognize or affiliate with any fraternities or sororities; because fraternities only accept male students and sororities only female, they violate the university’s anti-discrimination policy.
Though the John Harvard statue is said to be the third most-photographed statue in the U.S., it’s also known as the statue of three lies: Lie Number One – There are no photographs of John Harvard, so the man depicted is someone else. Lie Number Two – The plaque reads “Founder” under John Harvard’s name, but he was in fact only an early financial contributor. Lie Number Three – The plaque also reads “1638” when Harvard was actually founded in 1636.
An urban legend surrounding Johnston Gate (the “main” entrance to Harvard) says that a person will only pass through the gate twice in his or her lifetime: once to commence one’s education after official acceptance and a final time after graduation. If you pass through the gate before you apply, it is said you will not be accepted. Spooky stuff…
After our campus tour, we hopped on the T and headed over to the MIT Museum. There we explored exhibits featuring photography, holography, robotics, gestural sculptures, the history of Polaroid, everyday things we take for granted, and more! Everyone seemed to find at least one thing that interested them (and maybe a few more things in the excellent gift shop).
That’s all for today, but stay tuned, for tomorrow we tour Salem!