Harvard Plans to Celebrate 375th

University plans festivities, including parades and House dinner receptions

Planning is underway to celebrate Harvard’s 375th anniversary during the 2011-2012 academic year.

University President Drew G. Faust said that she hopes the anniversary will serve as an opportunity for the University to celebrate its past and reflect on its future.

“We plan to honor Harvard’s rich history and cherished traditions, the great minds that have taught here, and the great minds those teachers have inspired, and we will also focus our energy and attention on the questions that will define our present and our future,” Faust wrote in an email.

Anniversary festivities will culminate in a “birthday party” kick off on Friday Oct. 14 that is slated to be held in Tercentenary Theatre, according to University Marshal Jackie A. O’Neill.

The event will feature parades and special House dinner receptions. O’Neill, whose office is still in discussions with House Masters and Committees, said that she hopes each House will march into Tercentenary Theatre in a display of “House identity” and pride.


At Tercentenary Theatre, revelers will partake in a community dance and enjoy artistic and cultural performances and a dessert buffet.

O’Neill said that this celebratory event—and the others that will occur through the year—will showcase Harvard’s greater diversity and global outlook acquired since its last milestone 25 years ago.

“There’s no question that there’s interest and hunger to mark 375 years of a venerable institution like Harvard and reflect upon the enormous difference between where we are now and where we were at the 350th year benchmark,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill also said that anniversary festivities will help rally Harvard spirit for an upcoming captial campaign that is currently in a planning phase. But she said the event will not signify the kick-off of the University’s campaign, whose official start date has not been announced.

“This is not the launch of our capital campaign, but the [anniversary and campaign] will play into each other,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill added that the University hopes to engage many contingents of the Harvard community with this event, which falls on the same weekend as Freshman Parents Weekend and the Harvard Alumni Association’s fall meeting.

The Alumni Affairs and Development Office similarly hopes that, in addition to students, faculty and staff, many alumni will be involved in the anniversary celebrations, according to Alumni Affairs and Development Vice President Tamara E. Rogers ’74.

“I am excited about the plans for the upcoming anniversary,” Rogers wrote in an email.

In addition to the Oct. 14 celebration, many other events—including a series of academic panels and a president’s forum—will be held throughout the year.  The University plans to launch a website featuring a list of anniversary celebrations this summer.

—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at

—Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at


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