A prominent clergyman and benefactor of Harvard University, John Harvard was born in London, England, in November 1607. He attended school at the Puritan College of Emanuel in the University of Cambridge. Shortly after his graduation in 1637, Harvard was ordained and left England for Massachusetts. While serving as aMassachusetts minister, Harvard compiled a great library of books, for his interest in learning and education was great. Unfortunately, John Harvard's promising career was cut short when he died at the early age of thirty-one. However, before he died, he provided that Newtowne College receive one-half of his entire estate, and some four hundred volumes of literature from his most cherished library collection. This generous gift enabled the college in Newtowne, Massachusetts, to begin immediate operation. On May 2, 1638, the college was renamed Harvard University. Today, Harvard University remains the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
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