Governance of the University
The University has two governing boards. The Harvard Corporation - known formally as the President and Fellows of Harvard College - is the University's executive board. The oldest corporation in the Western Hemisphere, the seven-member board is responsible for the day-to-day management of the University's finances and business affairs.
The Corporation members are Lawrence H. Summers, President; D. Ronald Daniel, University Treasurer, and Director, McKinsey & Co.; Hanna Holborn Gray, President Emerita and Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor of History, The University of Chicago; Conrad K. Harper, Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; James R. Houghton, Chairman of the Board Emeritus, Corning Inc.;
Robert G. Stone Jr., Chairman Emeritus/Director, Kirby Corp.; and Herbert S. Winokur Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Capricorn Holdings Inc. Significant matters of educational and institutional policy are also brought before the President and Fellows by the President and Deans. The Board of Overseers consists of 30 members who are elected at large by graduates of Harvard and Radcliffe.
Through its Standing and Visiting Committees, the Board is informed about educational policies and practices of the University and provides advice to, and approves important actions of, the Corporation. Both the Corporation and Overseers must approve major teaching and administrative appointments.
Students at Harvard University
Visitors often ask: Who is the typical Harvard student? The answer is that there is no such person. Each student is a unique individual, and the student body is incredibly diverse. Harvard men and women represent an array of ethnic groups, religious traditions, and political persuasions. They come from every region of the United States and more than 100 other countries. They include undergraduates and graduate, continuing education, and Summer School students. They range from pre-teens to octogenarians; in 1997, Mary Fasano became the oldest person ever to earn a Harvard degree when she graduated from the Extension School at the age of 89.
Harvard College students have a remarkable range of backgrounds and academic and extracurricular interests. Two-thirds come from public schools, and about two-thirds receive some form of financial aid. Despite their diversity, Harvard students as a group do seem to share a few characteristics.
1. Academic excellence. In 1999, Harvard led the nation in Marshall Scholars, with six seniors being chosen, along with a recent graduate. And for seven out of the last nine years, Harvard led the nation in Rhodes Scholars (tying with the University of Chicago in 1998). The application process for the Harvard College Class of 2004 marked the ninth time in the past decade that applications for admission had risen.
By all the standard measures of academic talent, including test scores and academic performance in school, the group is impressive. For example, more than 56 percent of the candidates averaged 1,400 or higher on their SATs, almost 2,000 scored a perfect 800 on their SAT II English, over 2,500 scored 800 on their SAT II math, and almost 3,000 were valedictorians of their high schools.
2. Harvard students display their talents in a wide array of extracurricular activities - including music, dance, theater, sports, journalism, and public service. Sukanya Lahiri '00 has a dream of peace for the Middle East. But she doesn't just dream about it; she's tried actively to help bring it about. At Harvard, through a program called Seeds of Peace, Lahiri worked with students from embattled areas of the world, including Bosnia, the Middle East, and the inner cities of the United States.
"We instill conflict resolution and mediation skills into young people and hope that they'll take those skills home with them," she said. In 1997, Lahiri won a National Conference of Christians and Jews Youth Humanitarian Award. A joint concentrator in sociology and economics, Lahiri also worked as a volunteer research assistant for Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School. "I am a great believer in the power of young people to create major transformation," Kanter said. "With her combination of skills, motivation, and dedication, I have no doubt Sukanya can have a big impact."
3. Harvard students show a real knack for taking what they've learned – in school and in life – and applying it to solve problems.
During her four years at Harvard, Gloria Bruce '00 spent some time every week tutoring children in an after-school enrichment program in Boston. Alongside other volunteers, Bruce, a history concentrator, worked one-on-one with a group of 6- to 12-year-olds, helping them with homework, honing their math and reading skills, and leading them in creative learning projects. Bruce ended up co-director of the program.
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