Friday, February 13, 2009

HARVARD University and the Three Lies about the John Harvard Statue

Everyone would know that Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and a member of the Ivy League, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A, but very few would know about the origin of the name Harvard.

I was privileged to visit Harvard University last February 12-14, 2009 as the venue for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society conference. We were toured around the historic Harvard and have taken pictures at the John Harvard statue prominently located at the Harvard Square. On the Statue, the following words are inscribed: John Harvard, Founder, 1637. We were later informed that none of the three inscriptions are true. As the farthest delegation, the Philippine chapter attendees (Comm. Roy Almoro, Atty. Zaniah Siton, Atty. Maricel Sulit, Atty. Kinggay Tandan and myself) were given a tour of the campus by Harvard law students Christian Robinsons and Joshua, and we were told of the Three Lies about the Statue: it was not John Harvard (but the son of the Mr. Hoar), John Harvard was not the founder and that the establishment of Harvard University was not in 1637. The truth is this: initially called "New College" or "the college at New Towne", the institution was named Harvard College on March 13, 1639, after a young clergyman named John Harvard, who bequeathed the College his library of four hundred books and £779 (which was half of his estate). When asked why no one made the effort to change the inscriptions, they just said "just so they could tell about the three lies about the John Harvard statue"..haha.

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