One could argue about whether or not it is true, or about how it may vary depending on the program, but there is no denying that the vast majority of Americans, if asked what is the country’s top college, they will answer “Harvard”.
What is not debatable is that this is in fact America’s oldest institution of learning, est. 1636. The University is responsible for having educated our current President, our second President, our coolest president (Teddy), the signer of our most clichéd signature, and has had over 19 Nobel prize winners and 15 Pulitzer winners as faculty.
The school gave us Emerson, Thoreau, Cummings, Du Bois, Bernstein, Yo Yo Ma, Conan O’Brian, and Good Will Hunting.
The word Harvard drips of smarts and prestige. The place Harvard does the same. Its list of firsts and bests is deep, as is its endowment. It is visited by scholars, dignitaries, and an unusual amount of tourists. It is a punchline, a resume headline, and the object of both awe and resentment.
Of all its accomplishments, of all its firsts, perhaps its finest (maybe you can guess where I’m headed here), is that it built the world’s first concrete football stadium. This school’s early dedication to this divinely inspired game not only provided a nice place to watch the game, but was a prime influence in the creation of the game itself. Once upon a time those who make rules wanted to spread the game out and make the field wider. Harvard’s field could not be widened, so the powers that be scrapped that idea and in stead instituted the forward pass.