Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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June 11, 1776 – The Provincial Congress grants the College permission to reoccupy its buildings, and Harvard prepares to return from Concord.

June 12, 1776 – The faculty passes a vote of thanks to the Town of Concord for sheltering the College during the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.

June 21, 1776 – The College reassembles in Cambridge after its eight-month stay in Concord.

June 25, 1825 – After much deliberation and reams of committee reports, the College finally and formally responds to yet another student rebellion (1823) by producing the “Statutes and Laws of the University in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” a 13-chapter document of 153 laws (a.k.a. the Code of 1825).

Among the reforms: (1) a required annual report from the President to the Overseers, (2) stricter supervision of students and the abolition of fines, (3) reorganization of the faculty (so formally named for the first time; previously called the “Immediate Government”) into six departments, (4) some freedom for upperclassmen in electing courses, (5) Law 61, which frees students from the old system of fixed recitations by dividing them instead into sections (“as many divisions as shall be found practicable, and conducive to their improvement”) and allowing them to progress “as rapidly as may be found consistent with a thorough knowledge of the subjects of their studies.”

Marks for academic performance are also introduced. Under President Josiah Quincy, they harden into an onerous “Scale of Merit.”

June 2, 1829 – At Commencement, Josiah Quincy is formally installed as President. For the last time in history (save for a fleeting attempted restoration in 1955), the Governor of the Commonwealth and the President of the University greet each other in Latin.

June 1890 – Thirty-one-year-old Clement Garnett Morgan, Class of 1890, makes national headlines as the first black person chosen to deliver a Harvard senior class oration.

– From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by Marvin Hightower