As Harvard students drove away last month, their rear-view mirrors gave them one last glimpse of a campus that had housed yet another creative and spirited school year. The nine months from 2016–2017 brought a presidential election, scientific discoveries, artistic expression, and academic achievement. Here are some of the events that helped shape this passionate, vibrant community — and helped define the role that Harvard continues to play in the wider world.

Freshmen Dominic Chung (from left), Emily Shen, Dominique Cantave, Eddie Nesmith, and Simi Ogunnowo greet each other in the Yard during Freshman Move-In Day. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

On Aug. 23, 2016, new students and their families flocked into Harvard Yard to find their freshman-year homes.

The University’s newest students begin their freshman year in Tercentenary Theatre with Convocation and an official welcome from Harvard President Drew Faust. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Freshmen listen to President Faust’s official welcome. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
The Class of 2020 gathers for a picture on the steps of Widener Hall. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Students enter Harvard Hall for classes during shopping period. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Melissa Coles (from left), a student at Harvard Divinity School; the Ven. Professor Changshen Shi Wang, a visiting assistant professor at HDS; and Sara Klingenstein, a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, talk in the courtyard of the Center for the Study of World Religions. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Tajrean Rahman ’20 (from left), Varoun Gulati ’19, and other students participate in Daniel Donoghue’s class “The History of the English Language” in Harvard Hall during shopping period. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

During exam period, students work under the iconic arched ceiling of Widener Library’s Loker Reading Room.

Angela S. Allan, lecturer on history and literature, teaches “American Economic Fictions.” The course considers the culture of American capitalism by examining a range of literary and historical texts. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
During “Foundations of Biological Diversity,” Professor Brian Farrell, director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, teaches an integrated approach to the diversity of life, emphasizing how chemical, physical, genetic, ecological and geologic processes contribute to the origin and maintenance of biological diversity. The class was held inside the Science Center. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Joy Davis teaches “Contemporary Dance: Countertechnique” during shopping period. Sophie Carroll ’17 (from left), Annina Kennedy-Yoon ’20, Davis, and Genevieve Lefevre ’19 gather for a class in the dance studio on Garden Street. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Inside Harvard University Herbaria’s Farlow Library, Hannah Zurier ’17 and Professor Don Pfister discuss an article about Zurier’s discovery of a new truffle fungus at the Arnold Arboretum. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Rowers on the Charles River. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Students dig into “The Archaeology of Harvard Yard,” a collaboration of the Anthropology Department and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
Emily Balskus, the Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, works inside the Edward Mallinckrodt Chemical Laboratory with postdoctoral fellow Matthew Wilson, (right). Balskus is the lead author of a study that gives researchers the first up-close view of how an enzyme called CutC breaks down choline, an essential nutrient in the makeup of cell membranes. Enzymes in the gut break down choline into TMA, which is linked with heart disease and liver disease. Understanding that process may help in the development of drugs to stop the process. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer.
On Science Center Plaza, master pianist George Hu ’20 plays for his delighted friends Jonathan Suh (from left, all ’20), Daniel Inge, Michael Gaba, Arjun Mirani, and Elizabeth Yeoh-Wang, a joint Harvard/New England Conservatory concentrator. Harvard Common Spaces presented the free-to-play public piano as part of “Street Pianos Boston 2016,” in conjunction with Celebrity Series of Boston. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
The Veritas shield on Robinson Gate is framed by foliage on a bright autumn day. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Oliver Hart, Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University (right), and David Laibson, chair of the Department of Economics, smile after Hart won the 2016 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Hart shared the prize with Bengt Holmstršm, a Finnish economist teaching at MIT. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Dean of Students Katherine O’Dair (from left), Devin Clark ’18, and Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman concentrate on a Pac-Man game during a pop-up event at the Science Center. The event was intended to build community during the dining hall strike and featured life-sized versions of Connect Four, Operation, and Guitar Hero. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
Lara Tomholt from the Graduate School of Design (left) explains her robot to local seventh-graders, including Giselle Korn (far right) from the Amigos School. The students were visiting campus to see what it’s like to be in college, as part of Project Teach. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
President Faust (from left) speaks with Rebecca Woo ’89 and Theresa Loong ’94 before making welcoming remarks at the inaugural Harvard Alumni Association’s Women’s Weekend at Spangler Hall. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
Sergey Semenov poses for a portrait in his lab in the Mallinckrodt Chemistry Laboratory. Semenov’s research in complex organic chemical reactions on early Earth has led to new conclusions about the origin of life. Photo by Sarah Silbiger
Members of the Harvard Glee Club and Radcliffe Choral Group rehearse in Sanders Theatre for an upcoming holiday concert. Photo by Sarah Silbiger

A fresh coat of snow covers Tercentenary Theatre during Wintersession, the last week of winter recess before the spring semester begins.

Erica Beade instructs students on the art of drawing animals during a Wintersession offering at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Jenny Huang ’20 (pictured) focuses on her subject as she draws. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Freshmen William Gao and Amanda DiMartini experiment on yeast cells during James Martenson’s class “Genetics of Organelle Function in Budding Yeast.” Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin
Boris Davidov ’19 (front center) and Alannah O’Brien ’19 look over the Pusey Library archives exhibit “To Serve Better Thy Country.” Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
William Frazer (left), a student at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, presents his original artwork to Harvard President Drew Faust. Frazer was among the many students and teachers who met Faust as she visited to discuss pathways to college, the value of higher education, and the importance of educators and mentors helping students consider opportunities after high school. Joe Sherman/Harvard University
The Math Lounge on the fourth floor of the Science Center is open to all the math concentrators. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates was the keynote speaker at “Universities and Slavery: Bound by History,” a daylong conference in the Knafel Center at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. President Faust and Coates spoke after his presentation. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Freshmen — aware of the camera — wait for upperclassmen to arrive with the letters that will assign them to their future House, on Housing Day, March 3. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin
A student from Currier House leaves University Hall bearing letters for freshmen during Housing Day 2017. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin
During her visit to Vietnam, President Faust met with students at the Ap Bac Secondary School, Tan An Hamlet in Cai Lay Town, Tien Giang Province. Faust (from left) asks a question to student Trần Thị Ngọc Hân, with help from translator Ben Wilkinson ’98. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Professor Danielle Allen welcomes people to “A Celebration of Inclusion and Belonging” at Sanders Theatre, a community-wide workshop and opportunity for reflection with students and scholars. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Under the cream-colored columns and ornate arches of the Widener Library Rotunda, Christopher Roman and Jill Johnson silently present “Catalogue (First Edition),” created by and with William Forsythe, their choreographer, teacher, mentor, and friend. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
A magnolia blooms in front of Lehman Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Actor John Lithgow, co-founder of Arts First, receives the Mayor’s Proclamation. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Damian Woetzel teaches the audience George Balanchine’s “Serenade” during “A Celebration of Harvard Artists” at Sanders Theatre. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
Graduating seniors and their families attend Class Day Exercises in Tercentenary Theatre with featured speaker Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president (left) with graduating senior Katherine Wu. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Sheriff of Middlesex County continues a long tradition of bringing Commencement to order on May 25, 2017.

Harvard University celebrates Commencement 2017. Before the Morning Exercises in Tercentenary Theatre, President Faust processes to the stage. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
At the 366th Commencement, Mark Zuckerberg (left) receives his honorary degree from University Vice President Marc Goodheart. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer