Puritans hold first graduation ceremony from college named for John Harvard: 1642 September 23

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Although founded in 1636, Harvard did not hold its first Commencement until September 23, 1642 . In so doing, the College gave the country its first taste of nonreligious European ritual.  Of course, there was the Puritan influence throughout

Charles A. Wagner sets the scene for us in “Harvard: Four Centuries and Freedoms”:

The academic procession on that far distant September morning of 1642 counted the nine “commencers,” four juniorsophisters, and eight or ten freshmen, with a motley audience of visitors from Boston and all the settlements nearby; ministers, Indians, residents, parents, and gloating familiars. The people made it a holiday of annual joy in learning. And there were orations by the commencers in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Then, in the afternoon session, came the series of disputations in Latin between commencers on many of the age-old topics of the theses philosophicae and philologicae.

Until Quincy’s discovery, the hand-drawn sketch (from records of an Overseers meeting on Jan. 6, 1644) had been filed away and forgotten. It became the basis of the seal officially adopted by the Corporation in 1843 and still informs the version used today.

Our rowers are wearing the crimson scarves.

Crimson was officially designated as Harvard’s color by a vote of the Harvard Corporation in 1910. But why crimson? A pair of rowers, Charles W. Eliot, Class of 1853, and Benjamin W. Crowninshield, Class of 1858, provided crimson scarves to their teammates so that spectators could differentiate Harvard’s crew team from other teams during a regatta in 1858. Eliot became Harvard’s 21st president in 1869 and served until 1909; the Corporation vote to make the color of Eliot’s bandannas the official color came soon after he stepped down.

Are you really sure about the color?

But before the official vote by the Harvard Corporation, students’ color of choice had at one point wavered between crimson and magenta – probably because the idea of using colors to represent universities was still new in the latter part of the 19th century. Pushed by popular debate to decide, Harvard undergraduates held a plebiscite on May 6, 1875, on the University’s color, and crimson won by a wide margin. The student newspaper – which had been called The Magenta – changed its name with the very next issue.

A Latin Ceremony:

Early in the afternoon of Sept. 23, 1642 — the first Commencement at Harvard College — all nine graduates lined up in front of President Henry Dunster. He conferred degrees on the group in order of their parents’ prominence, which made Benjamin Woodbridge Harvard’s first graduate. After delivering an address in Latin, Dunster handed each new scholar “a Booke of Arts,” wrote one witness. But after the ceremony, Harvard took each book back.

Diploma? What diploma?

It was not until 1813 that Harvard College graduates received something at Commencement they could keep: a uniformly sized, textually common diploma in Latin. (Medical diplomas were first given out in 1817, and law diplomas in 1827.) Before the era of printed diplomas, any graduate who needed a document attesting to a Harvard degree (usually for travel overseas) hired a local calligrapher to pen an inscription on parchment. Then he — always “he” in those days — paid the Harvard president to sign it. When it came to 17th- and 18th-century diplomas, you “rolled your own,” wrote historian Samuel Eliot Morison.

Go Team. Go Pilgrims!

The Harvard sports teams may go by the nickname “Crimson” but the mascot of Harvard University was an historical figure, the college benefactor John Harvard, the Pilgrim.

It is not Harvard, he was not the founder, and it was not in 1638.

The famous statue of John Harvard is located in front of University Hall, on the campus of Harvard University. The bronze sculpture was created by Daniel Chester French, was given to the college by Samuel James Bridge, and dedicated on October 15, 1884. It now sits in front of University Hall in historic Harvard Yard.

The statue is famous for several reasons. Traditionally, it is supposed to bring you luck if you rub John Harvard’s left shoe. It is also known as the “statue of three lies”. The statue has a three line inscription on the granite base. Every line is false.

JOHN HARVARD

FOUNDER

1638

  1. The sculpture does not depict John Harvard. There is no known image of John Harvard. So, when Daniel Chester French needed a model for the statue. Sherman Hoar, class of 1882, believed to be the most handsome student at Harvard, was selected.
  2. John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard. He was its earliest benefactor. John Harvard was a clergyman who bequeathing £780 as well as his 400 library of books to the New College. The college then renamed Harvard College in his honor.
  3. Harvard College was not founded in 1638 but in 1636. Sixteen thirty-eight was the year John Harvard died.

Walk right in…but not through there.

Harvard is full of other gates open around the clock (anyone can go to the territory on working days). But the Johnston Gate, the main gate of the campus, is closed most of the year.All because Harvard students have to go through them only twice. The first time –  when they are first-year students on campus, and the second time – as it is easy to guess – when they leave Harvard as graduates. It is considered a bad omen if students pass through the gate more than twice.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing (1969 July 20th)

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An event which brought the world together on another world.

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EAGLE HAS LANDED ON KRNN, 7/20:  “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  The journey continues as we step toward moon blues music to which you are invited on WTBA, 7/20 at 5 pm.

July 20, 1969 – At 1:47 p.m. EDT Armstrong and Aldrin, in the lunar module Eagle, separate from the command module. Collins remains onboard the Columbia orbiting the moon.

– 4:17 p.m. EDT – The Eagle lands.

– 4:18 p.m. EDT – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong reports. When the lunar module lands on the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility, it has less than 40 seconds of fuel left.

– 10:56 p.m. EDT – Armstrong says, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon.

– 11:15 p.m. EDT (approx.) – Buzz Aldrin joins Armstrong on the moon. The men read from a plaque signed by the three crew members and the president, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

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  1. STAND BACK:  The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.

  2. POCKET ROCKET COMPUTER:  The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.

  3. FIZZY WATER:  Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11’s hydrogen-gas filters didn’t work, making every drink bubbly. “The drinking water is laced with hydrogen bubbles (a consequence of fuel-cell technology which demonstrates that H2 and O join imperfectly to form H2O),” wrote Michael Collins in a 2001 memoir. “These bubbles produced gross flatulence in the lower bowel, resulting in a not-so-subtle and pervasive aroma which reminds me of a mixture of wet dog and marsh gas.”

  4. MISSED IT: When Apollo 11’s lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn’t fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module’s landing four miles off-target.

  5. LIGHT UP:  Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash. Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved: His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.

  6. GAINT STEP: The “one small step for man” wasn’t actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn’t compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle’s ladder to the surface.

  7. NO KEY:  When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle’s door because there was no outer handle.

  8. TOUCHY FLAG: The toughest moonwalk task? Planting the flag. NASA’s studies suggested that the lunar soil was soft, but Armstrong and Aldrin found the surface to be a thin wisp of dust over hard rock. They managed to drive the flagpole a few inches into the ground and film it for broadcast, and then took care not to accidentally knock it over.

  9. HOME MADE:  The flag was made by Sears, but NASA refused to acknowledge this because they didn’t want “another Tang.

  10.      WRIGHT STUFF.  The first recorded flight was achieved by the Wright Brothers in 1903, 66 years before the first manned lunar mission. Thus, Neil Armstrong saw it fit to take with him pieces of wood from the pioneering Wright plane as well as a piece of fabric from the plane to symbolize the great progress made in aviation. Armstrong held these in his “personal preference kit” (PPK). The Wright Brothers, like Neil, were from the state of Ohio. The artefacts now sit in the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C.

  11. PAPER WORK:  On their return to Earth, the three astronauts were brought back via Hawaii. On their entry, they had to be processed like any other traveller, filling out customs declarations. In the “Departure From” field, they simply wrote “Moon,” and declared the “moon dust” and “moon rock” they were bringing into America.  In 2015, Buzz Aldrin tweeted a “travel voucher” that outlined the nature of expenses incurred from his trip out of the atmosphere, just like somebody would for a trip of a more Earthly nature. In addition, he revealed that the astronauts were required to sign customs forms upon their return to Earth, upon which they declared to be carrying “moon rock and moon dust samples”

Happy Canada Day, July 1st 1867

 

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Canada Day, observed on July 1st, is a national holiday paying tribute to the anniversary of Confederation in 1867, when the British North America Act came into effect. It was initially known as Dominion Day until it was renamed in 1982.

Origins and Legal Status

The British North America Act enacted on 1 July 1867, created the country of Canada with its initial four provinces of Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In June 1868, Governor General Charles Stanley Monck called for a celebration of the anniversary of Confederation on 1 July 1868.  The legal status of Dominion Day as a public holiday was uncertain with only a few celebrations. In May 1869, a bill to make Dominion Day a public holiday was considered in the House of Commons.  It was withdrawn after several members of Parliament registered their objections. A more successful effort, presented by Senator Robert Carrall of British Columbia, passed through Parliament in 1879, creating Dominion Day a public holiday.

In the decades following the Second World War, several private members’ and government-sponsored bills were proposed to change the name of Dominion Day, but none succeeded. In July 1982, a private member’s bill to change the name to Canada Day was proposed by Vaudreuil MP Hal Herbert. The bill quickly passed through the House of Commons, and was ratified by the Senate in the fall.

Early Observance

For the first decade following Confederation, some provinces, including Ontario, Québec and Nova Scotia, observed Dominion Day as a de facto holiday. Celebrations were planned at the local or municipal level, and included a wide array of activities, including bonfires, picnics, sporting events, parades and pageants. Fireworks were often the highlight of the evening.

Dominion Day provided a chance for communities to express their visions of Canadian identity, and the place of their community within the country. Newspaper editorials published on July 1st frequently publicized the country’s history, its place in the world and its prospects for the future. They could also, as was often the case in British Columbia, express concerns about the treatment of individual provinces within Confederation. Locally organized events sometimes afforded opportunities for members of marginalized communities to demonstrate their belonging to Canada, while also asserting their community identities. In British Columbia, members of the Chinese and Japanese communities in the early 20th century contributed floats to Dominion Day parades, and members of Indigenous communities participated in sporting events and musical performances.

Celebrated overseas, Dominion Day was a way for Canadians to commenorate their national identity and assert their uniqueness within the British Empire. During the First World War, Canadian soldiers stationed in the United Kingdom took part in events such as log-rolling exhibitions and baseball games, asserting a rugged Canadian masculinity.

In the mid-1920s, members of British Columbia’s Chinese communities organized Chinese Humiliation Day as a counterpoint to Dominion Day to protest the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act that blocked most Chinese immigration to Canada. Members of the community wore badges reading “Remember the Humiliation,” organized speeches and distributed leaflets.

In the aftermath of the 1980 Québec referendum, the federal government shifted its focus and financial supports to emphasize observance of July 1st at the local level. Although still organizing concerts and formal events for Parliament Hill, the main focus was to stimulate community-based celebrations. A national committee for Canada Day (as the holiday was called after 1982) provided seed funding to communities to organize Canada Day events. It also suggested activities to link communities together, such as noonday singings of “O Canada” (adopted as the national anthem in 1980), and annual themes such as explorers, transportation or young achievers that were featured in activity books produced for children.

Source: Encyclopedia Canada

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CANADA DAY ON KRNN, 7/01:  The British North America Act came into effect on 1 July 1867, creating the country of Canada.  You are invited to join in the Canada Day festivities with a playlist of the best new bands from Canada on Crosscurrents, 7/01 at 8 am.

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For most Canadians, July 1 is just one day in a long weekend; a day that, when it falls on a Sunday, magically triggers a statutory holiday on Monday; a day to barbecue and to get in or on or near the water; to kick back and enjoy the start of a Canadian summer that never comes early enough and always ends too soon; a day to take the kids to the fireworks, which are happening on this day because, um, well, oh … Canada?

This is not a country that gets overly sentimental about history, or pretentious about its place in it. It’s the national day, but most of us don’t make too big a deal about the whys or the wherefores. You’re giving us the day off? We’re taking the day off.

Other countries have national holidays that mark The Big Moment they made a violent break with the past. The Americans have Independence Day, the day the Thirteen Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, began a war to separate from Great Britain and created a new country. The French have Bastille Day, the day the French Revolution started and the monarchy started ending.

For many people, those histories seem more clear and vivid than ours. They certainly make for more dramatic TV and movie adaptations. The days the French and Americans are celebrating were the start of abrupt, radical and bloody – extremely bloody – rejections of the past. Change came through the barrel of a gun.

July 1, 1867 was nothing like that. It wasn’t a revolution, it was an evolution. It wasn’t vicious, it was peaceful. Something new was accepted without something old being rejected. A group of statesmen who differed on many things nevertheless, through compromise and cooperation, made a deal. It was an agreement about incremental change and improvement. Nobody was died. Nobody went to the guillotine and lost their head.

The Constitution created in 1867 contains no inspirational words, just a lot of sensible ideas. The American constitution begins with a impressive “We the People”; the Declaration of Independence ends with its signatories promising to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” The first word of the British North America Act? “Whereas.”

Instead of being the all-caps Day When Everything Violently Changed, July 1 was instead the day when something very Canadian happened: It was the beginning of a process. In fact, Confederation wasn’t even the beginning, since Canada already existed before 1867. And it wasn’t the end, since the process continued, and continues today.

Source: Thee Globe And Mail  PUBLISHED JUNE 29, 2018 UPDATED JULY 1, 2018