by Philip N. Alexander, Research Associate in Comparative Media Studies/Writing program at MIT and author of A Widening Sphere, Evolving Cultures at MIT.
William Barton Rogers debates Harvard’s Louis Agassiz on the subject of Darwin’s theory of evolution; Rogers, defending Darwin against Agassiz’s creationist perspective, is widely proclaimed the victor
Harvard is proposed by Mass. governor John Andrew as sole recipient, with other educational institutions in the state—MIT included—administered by Harvard and receiving funds doled out at Harvard’s discretion
MIT holds first classes; students are drawn to a curriculum more useful in an increasingly industrial age than what Harvard has to offer
One student observes, with respect to friendly MIT-Harvard competition in crew, that “a very pleasant association has grown up between the two institutions”
MIT’s student body proves more socially diverse than Harvard’s, less dependent on feeder prep schools like Exeter and Andover