New England Puritans believed that every person should read sufficiently well to comprehend the Bible. In 1636, the Great and General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay authorized creation of a college to be located at Newtown (renamed Cambridge in 1638). The college was to emphasize divinity studies, and its purpose was to train ministers for Congregational parishes in the colony. The school was named Harvard in 1638 when John Harvard, a young clergyman, bequeathed his library and one-half of his estate to the fledgling institution. Following the appointment of Henry Dunster as president in 1640, Harvard added a library and two other buildings. After the execution of Charles II in January 1649, the General Court authorized Harvard to offer degrees in 1650, ignoring the established English practice of obtaining royal permission to grant college degrees. This was one of the early examples of the colonies exercising independent initiatives in contravention to established practices of the mother country. The curriculum at Harvard, modeled after curricula in English and European universities, was designed to turn out learned clergymen and gentlemen. Latin and Greek were at the core of the four-year course of study, while rhetoric, logic, mathematics, and philosophy (which included natural physics, astronomy, mental ethics, economics, and political science) were the attendant subjects required of all students. Harvard began with four students and one teacher. During the seventeenth century, the school enrolled an average of twenty to fifty students per year, most from New England, although the college also accepted students from Virginia, New Netherland, and Bermuda. William and Mary The more open plantation structure of Southern society, and the frequent troubles with the native peoples, were two of many reasons that Southern colonists failed, after several attempts, to establish an early college in the South. In February 1693, however, Governor Sir Edmund Andros obtained a charter from the Crown to establish a college in Virginia, named the College of William and Mary after the reigning king and queen. The Reverend James B. Carr, the Anglican commissary for Virginia and conveyor of the charter to the colony, was named the first president of the new college. It was located on a remote tract of land between the James and York Rivers known as the Middle Plantation, later to be renamed Williamsburg. The mission of the college was to prepare ministers in the Anglican tradition, following the model established in Scottish universities, with a two-year bachelor’s degree program and a four-year master’s degree, with courses in divinity, philosophy, languages, and other good arts and sciences, as directed by the charter. The Christopher Wren Building (named for its architect) at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is the oldest academic building in continuous use in the United States. It was completed in 1699. (Brown Brothers, Sterling, Pennsylvania) The construction of the main edifice designed by Christopher Wren and, since the early twentieth century, known as the Wren Building began in 1695. Recurring fires and other mishaps, along with the unfortunate appointment of a disinterested faculty, delayed the firm establishment of the college as a viable institution of learning until 1726. Welcome to Harvard Alumni Student Life Harvard University Harvard Recreation

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