Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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  • Oct. 7, 1642 – By order of the Great and General Court, a reorganized Board of Overseers becomes a permanent part of College governance.
  • Oct. 25, 1780 – The Massachusetts Constitution goes into effect and officially recognizes Harvard as a university. The first medical instruction given to Harvard students in 1781 and the founding of the Medical School in 1782 make it a university in fact as well as name.
  • October 1784 – Harvard awards an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Maj. Gen. Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette.
  • Oct. 28, 1942 – From the steps of Widener Library, Harvard air-raid wardens watch a demonstration of enemy fire bombs. “A Brockton, Mass., inventor and bomb manufacturer, clad in an asbestos suit, showed new techniques of combating fires set by the explosives,” reports the Harvard Alumni Bulletin. “The fireworks lighted the Yard, and when the last piece, a burning shack, sent flames licking up to the elms, fire apparatus roared into the auto drive and quickly extinguished the blaze.”- From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled byMarvin Hightower