7 things you don't know about Harvard University


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Given its world-renowned reputation and prestigious alumni list, it’s no surprise that there are countless interesting anecdotes and little-known facts associated with Harvard University. In this article, we will delve into seven lesser-known tidbits about the iconic institution.

The Pioneering Abolitionist Speech

In 1836, Charles Follen Adams became the first person to deliver an abolitionist speech at Harvard. Held in front of several hundred students and faculty members, Adams’ speech marked a significant milestone in the fight against slavery. The event effectively kick-started a political discussion at the university, eventually leading to the formation of numerous anti-slavery societies on campus.

Harvard’s “Secret Satanic Panic” Scandal

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, a series of accusations concerning alleged satanic abuse rituals was leveled against various institutions across the United States, including Harvard. Ultimately, the allegations were proven to be unfounded, but they had lasting consequences for the individuals involved. To this day, some still refer to these incidents as the “Satanic Panic.”

A Nobel Prize Factory

With an impressive count of 165 Nobel laureates among past and present affiliates, Harvard is often referred to as a “Nobel Prize factory.” In fact, Sandra Orellana, a report writer for The Harvard Crimson, discovered that if the Ivy League school were a country, it would rank fourth in total Nobel Prize winners trailing only the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.

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Recently, in 2023, Harvard’s William G. Kaelin Jr. received the Nobel Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, exemplifying the sustained brilliance emanating from the esteemed institution.

Harvard’s Connection with Denmark’s Royal Family

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the future king after Queen Margrethe II’s surprise abdication, is known to have a close connection with Harvard University. The royal figure completed his studies at John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2000. This further solidifies the institution’s reputation as an international destination for leaders from all over the world.

Emotional Intelligence Research Beginnings

The concept of emotional intelligence (EI), wherein individuals can perceive and evaluate emotions accurately in themselves and others, took root at Harvard University. Through pioneering research conducted by psychologists like Howard Gardner and Daniel Goleman, our understanding of EI within organizational contexts has been significantly enhanced.

A Prescription for Walking?

Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once described walking as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.” In fact, various medical centers, including Harvard-affiliated hospitals, are increasingly recommending walking as part of treatment plans for their patients. From general fitness to mental health, the simple act of walking is hailed as a powerful tool for well-being that should not be underestimated.

The Age-Old Ivy Rivalry

No mention of Harvard would be complete without addressing its longstanding rivalry with another esteemed Ivy League institution, Yale University. While this competitive spirit has created plenty of memorable events on the sports fields, it has also benefited students in numerous academic realms. The two universities often collaborate on research projects, helping students on both sides learn from one another and enhance their intellectual abilities.

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In conclusion, Harvard University’s rich history and exceptional standing make it an indisputably iconic institution. The above seven lesser-known facts provide just a small glimpse into what makes this university so unique and interesting. With a constant focus on academic excellence, cutting-edge research, and worldwide impact, Harvard will undoubtedly continue to shape the world for generations to come.

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