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The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.The university is organized into eleven separate academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area: its 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Boston; the business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are in the Longwood Medical Area.Harvard graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century, and during World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard professors to repeat their lectures for women students) began attending Harvard classes alongside men, Harvard's 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, about 3 miles (5 km) west-northwest of downtown Boston, and extends into the surrounding Harvard Square neighborhood.Harvard Yard itself contains the central administrative offices and main libraries of the university, academic buildings including Sever Hall and University Hall, Memorial Church, and the majority of the freshman dormitories.While Eliot was the most crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education, but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions.Derived from William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson, these convictions were focused on the dignity and worth of human nature, the right and ability of each person to perceive truth, and the indwelling God in each person.
Established in 1636 and named for clergyman John Harvard (its first benefactor), its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.
A 1643 publication gave the school's purpose as "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust"; It offered a classic curriculum on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism.
It was never affiliated with any particular denomination, but many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.
Henry Ware was elected to the chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency of Harvard two years later, which signaled the changing of the tide from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas (defined by traditionalists as Unitarian ideas).
In 1846, the natural history lectures of Louis Agassiz were acclaimed both in New York and on the campus at Harvard College.