Harvard Tercentenary celebration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In 1936 Harvard University celebrated the 300th anniversary of its founding with elaborate festivities, hosting tens of thousands of alumni, dignitaries (including United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and representatives of institutions of learning and scholarship from around the world.

Responding to the prospect of being nominated for an honorary degree as part of the celebration, George Bernard Shaw wrote:

Dear Sir, I have to thank you for your proposal to present me as a candidate for an honorary degree of D.L.[clarification needed] of Harvard University at its tri-centenary celebration. But I cannot pretend that it would be fair for me to accept university degrees when every public reference of mine to our educational system, and especially to the influence of the universities on it, is fiercely hostile. If Harvard would celebrate its three hundredth anniversary by burning itself to the ground and sowing its site with salt, the ceremony would give me the greatest satisfaction as an example to all the other famous old corrupters of youth, including Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, etc. Under these circumstances I should let you down very heavily if you undertook to sponsor me.

A handwritten postscript read: "I appreciate the friendliness of your attitude." [1]


  1. ^ Bethell, John T. (1998). Harvard Observed: An Illustrated History of the University in the Twentieth Century. Harvard University Press. p. 127. ISBN 9780674377332.