Kirkland House, Harvard University

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Kirkland House Yard

Kirkland House is one of the 12 undergraduate houses at Harvard University, located near the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was named after John Thornton Kirkland, president of Harvard University from 1810 to 1828. Some of the buildings were built in 1914 but construction was not completed until 1933. Kirkland is one of the smallest Houses at Harvard, but has nevertheless managed to win many intramural and house-spirit contests, most recently the 2012 Straus Cup. Before Harvard opted to use a lottery system to assign housing to upperclassmen, Kirkland was considered the "jock house" because its location near Anderson Bridge and the Soldiers Field made it a desirable home and convenient place to dine for Harvard athletes.

The Kirkland House Boat Club last won the Agassiz Cup in 2003

The first Master of Kirkland House was Edward A. Whitney. Walter Eugene Clark succeeded Whitney as the second Master on September 1, 1935.[1] [2] The current Masters of Kirkland House are Tom and Verena Conley, and the Resident Dean is Cory Way.[3]

Kirkland House boasts many traditions, such as its opening ceremony (complete with Minutemen reenactors playing the drums and fife as they process around the House, followed by the house masters, tutors, and students), Secret Santa week (an in-house-only series of gifts, jokes, and events) -- accompanied by bawdy skits in the dining hall, and a winter dance nicknamed "IncestFest" (a debaucherous dance open only to members of the house).

Kirkland House has also hosted several celebrities and political guests over the years. During the race for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominantion, Kirkland House hosted Richard Gephardt, Joe Lieberman, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, and John Kerry, and held informal symposium with several political experts. The Kirkland House dining hall has hosted luncheons honoring Queen Latifah, George Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Salma Hayek, Laurence Fishburne, and Herbie Hancock among others, during the college's annual diversity celebration, "Cultural Rhythms." Kirkland is also annual host of the Harvard College Democrats' "Leadership Award Dinner," held every spring in Kirkland's dining hall. Recent award winners have been Alabama Congressman Artur Davis (in 2005), former Virginia Governor Mark Warner (in 2006) and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (in 2007).

The Kirkland House Dining Hall

Kirkland House has a gym, lounge, game room, music rooms, and performance and event spaces for students. It also has a wall honoring the history of the Kirkland House Boat Club, which has won Harvard's intramural men's sweeps regatta more often than any other House. Most recently, Christopher D.H. Row, a resident tutor, art history doctoral candidate, and master of divinity student, led the KHBC to five consecutive victories and was awarded the title of "Admiral-for-Life." Among the most recent additions is a brewery, operated and maintained by the Kirkland House Brew Club, which occupies the space once used as the house darkroom.

Kirkland House is located four blocks south of Harvard Yard, adjacent to Eliot House, and across Dunster Street from the Malkin Athletic Center. Sharing a kitchen with Eliot House, the two dining halls are known for the best food on campus[citation needed], and Kirkland's staff is committed to providing exceptional customer service.

The House Seal is a black cross with three silver stars on a red field.

Famous Kirkland alumni include Jeff Bingaman, Charles Murray, Franklin Raines, Kevin Kallaugher, Wallace Shawn, Thomas Sowell, Pat Toomey, Sam Yagan, and Mark Zuckerberg.


  1. ^ "CLARK APPOINTED TO FILL VACANCY LEFT BY WHITNEY". The Harvard Crimson. 14 May 1935. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Ward W. Briggs (1 January 1994). Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-0-313-24560-2. 
  3. ^ House Masters: Tom and Verena Conley. Retrieved 26 June 2013.

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Coordinates: 42°22′15″N 71°07′14″W / 42.37080°N 71.12054°W / 42.37080; -71.12054