Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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  • March 13, 1943 – Harvard’s undergraduate foreign-language requirement expands. Students could previously fulfill the requirement only by demonstrating a reading knowledge of French or German (with knowledge of both recommended). Now they can also meet the requirement with a reading knowledge of Arabic, Chinese, Ancient Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, or Spanish.

FAS Dean Paul Buck denies that the war has inspired the change, citing instead the scholarly recognition that the additional languages are “sufficiently important for the literature and culture they reflect” to stand with French and German.

The “Harvard Alumni Bulletin” predicts that one stipulation will remain unchanged: “[. . .] certain to be carried in the new catalogue will be the present regulation that a ‘student who has not met this requirement by the end of his fifth term in Harvard College is placed on probation.’ “

  • March 20, 1944 – The University unceremoniously awards 245 degrees by mail. – Marvin Hightower