Archive for October 1st, 2009

Harvard University

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The ‘Veritas’ About Harvard

by Kevin Carey,

Chronicle of Higher Education, October 1, 2009          

Harvard Boat House

What happens when the gods of high finance dump a gigantic pile of gold on the richest university in the world?

It sounds like the kind of hypothetical one might pose in a smoke-addled dorm room at 2 a.m. But it is, of course, what actually happened to Harvard University, along with a few of its elite competitors, over the last 20 years.

The answer is that the university reveals its true self. It shows the world what it cares about—and what it does not.

In 1990, Harvard had an endowment of about $4.7-billion. That was still a lot of money, about $7.7-billion in today’s dollars. Only five other universities have that much money now. Over the next two decades the pile grew to colossal heights, $36.9-billion by mid-2008.

Harvard spent the money on many things. But not a dollar went to increasing the number of undergraduates it chose to bless with a Harvard education. In 1990 the university welcomed slightly more than 1,600 students to its freshman class. In 2008, $32-billion later, it enrolled slightly more than 1,600 freshmen.        (more…)