Campus & Community

This month in Harvard History

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  • June 1894 – The newly incorporated Radcliffe College holds its first Commencement in the auditorium of Fay House. At the request of President Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, the graduates wear “pretty, simple dresses” instead of caps and gowns, which Agassiz deems excessively masculine and potentially provocative. 
  • June 22, 1903 – Groundbreaking for Harvard Stadium takes place. 
  • June 1904 – Helen Keller, who had lost sight and hearing in early childhood, earns her A.B. (with honors) from Radcliffe. Dorothy Elia Howells recalls the memorable moment in “A Century To Celebrate: Radcliffe College, 1879-1979.””Guided by Anne Sullivan [Keller’s faithful teacher and companion since childhood], she crossed the platform of Sanders Theater [sic]. As [Radcliffe] President [Le Baron Russell] Briggs was about to hand her her diploma he paused and said, ‘This seems to be a veritable fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” ‘ The applause that followed shook the hall, and Helen Keller felt its vibrations. Many students came to Radcliffe afterward because of Helen Keller.”


  • June 16, 1913 – The cornerstone of Widener Library is laid. 
  • June 15, 1954 – The Gordon McKay Laboratory of Applied Science is dedicated. – From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by Marvin Hightower