In my younger days, I always wanted to study at Harvard. However, that wasn’t meant to be. So I guess somehow in subconcious protest, I never even visited Boston. This all changed a few weeks ago when I had to go to Cambridge for a business trip. I was in town for 3 days that promised to be full of work. Much to my surprise, one of the days there was a power outage in the area, shutting down the office, and giving me a free afternoon to explore the town. The office was at the edge of MIT’s campus, but I a very eager to see Harvard. I had read that the students at Harvard give one of the best tours of the campus. So with my unplanned free afternoon I made my was to Harvard square to take the tour.
The tour was amazing, taking us through Harvard Yard and many of the historic buildings and monuments. Our tour guide was anenthusiastic senior, majoring in literature. She provided so much insight into the history of the University and also sharing personal stories about her experiences.
The last stop on our tour was very fascinating. It was the statue of John Harvard designed by the same person that designed the Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial. If you compare it to the Lincoln statue you will see a lot of similarites in the way the subject is sitting. While this is suppose to be the Harvard symbol of truth, it’s known as the Statue of 3 Lies, which are displayed in the inscription around the statue.
1 – This is not John Harvard, but modeled after a student named Sherman Hoar, who was the son of an early benefactor. John Harvard passed away at a young age, and no one is exactly sure what he looked like, so this was a close assumption.
2 – John Harvard was not the founder of the university, but one of the first benefactors. Harvard was intitally a public college named New College, started by the Massachusetts BayColony. On his death bed Harvard donated half his estate and his 400 books to the University that now bears his name.
3 – The date the university was founded is listed as 1838. This was the year John Harvard has made is donation to the university. However, this is incorrect. New College existed since 1836 before the donatation from Harvard.