Mather House (Harvard University)

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The view of Mather House from across the Charles River.

Mather House is one of the undergraduate residential houses at Harvard University. Built in 1971, its house Co-Masters are Christie McDonald, former chair of Harvard's Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Michael Rosengarten, an adjunct professor of medicine at McGill University.[1] Mather is known for its large suites composed of single rooms and common rooms, as well as its nineteen-story concrete tower built in a Brutalist style. Its blocky concrete architecture reflects the anti-uprising style of the day of its construction and makes it the butt of jokes, such as being known as "the box that Dunster came in." However, Mather residents are guaranteed single bedrooms for all three years of their residency their, whereas it is not uncommon to find seniors sharing rooms in many of Harvard's other Houses. The low-rise which surrounds the courtyard has large suites with common rooms, while the nineteen-story high-rise does not. However, the high-rise has larger bedrooms and views of Boston and Cambridge. Mather is the river house farthest from Harvard Yard, though the school provides shuttle service from its courtyard every ten minutes during weekdays. Mather House was a favorite choice for hard-partying varsity athletes before housing assignments were randomized by the school.

The house is known among students for its social life and a spacious, newly remodeled dining hall with a view of the Charles River.

Mather's sister College is Morse College at Yale University.

History[edit]

Portrait of Increase Mather by Joan van der Spriet. Increase Mather is the namesake of Mather House.

Opened in 1970, Mather House is the latest of Harvard's Houses to be built. It takes its name from Increase Mather, a Harvard alumnus and prominent Puritan minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who served as the University's acting president from 1685 to 1692.[2] The architectural firm that designed Mather House, Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott (now Shepley Bulfinch), is also responsible for the Art Institute of Chicago, the original campus of Stanford University (along with Frederick Law Olmsted), the Ames Building, and the completion of Boston's Trinity Church.[3]

Social life and the Lather[edit]

The High Rise

The open architecture of Mather's common spaces makes it easy to host social events. Mather's Housing Committee hosts happy hours every two weeks. In addition, the House hosts formal dances twice a year, as well as student-faculty dinners once a semester. Most prominent among Mather social gatherings is the Mather Lather, a College-wide foam party that takes place every spring in the dining hall. Since its first run in 2003, the Lather has grown in scope and fame, earning the attention of the Boston media and The New York Times.[4]

The Louie Cup is a year-long Olympics-like tournament of games that takes place in the House. Generally, an event is held every week in which one or more representatives of each team (comprising a group of 4-6, usually roommates) competes. The games include a pancake-eating contest, foosball, a dining hall version of Iron Chef, and hot pepper-eating, as well as a wiffle ball home run derby, ping pong, Wii sports, dodgeball, and boggle. The events are open to the campus but tend to take place in Mather. The tournament is named after Louie's Superette, a convenience store across the street from Mather House, and a large quantity of alcohol is awarded to the winning team at the end of the spring semester.

The house's well-known rivalry with Kirkland House has sparked heated exchanges of practical jokes and pranks. While Mather is generally seen as the instigator and aggressor, the rivalry began when half of a Mather blocking group succeeded in transferring interhouse to Kirkland House. (See [1])

Mather won the Harvard Green Campus Initiative Green Cup in 2006 and 2011 and the Greenest HoCo award in 2008.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′07″N 71°06′55″W / 42.36858°N 71.11514°W / 42.36858; -71.11514