Now that you may have submitted your application for admission to HDS, you may be tempted to visit Harvard Divinity School. In fact, January is a wonderful time to visit our campus for an official campus tour with one of our Graduate Assistants in the Office of Admissions! However, we understand that some applicants may not be able to visit Cambridge during this time. For those who are unable to visit, we’d love to give you a sneak peek at what a tour at HDS is like, especially this time of year, when our campus is decorated under a quiet bed of snow and chilly temperatures invite breaks into our Rockefeller Café for hot chocolate.
Join our current Graduate Assistants, Samm and Sujay, as they show you around some of their favorite stops on the campus tour! We hope you’ll accompany us virtually, and visit our campus for an in-person tour soon!
Sujay: Hi, I’m Sujay, and I’m a first-year MTS I’d love to show you around our campus with the help of my fellow GA, Samm. Divinity Hall (Div Hall, for short) is our first stop. This building was built in 1826 and is the oldest building at HDS. This building is also the first to be constructed outside of the Harvard Yard. While it originally housed the entire Divinity School, and it later became a dormitory, today, Divinity Hall provides multi-purpose spaces including: classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, student resources center, a student lounge and Divinity Chapel – this is where Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of HDS’ most famous alumni, gave his Divinity School Address entitled “Acquaint Thyself at First Hand with Deity,” to the graduating class on July 15th, 1838. Look out for the cool plaque commemorating his speech in the Divinity Hall Chapel (right above the yoga cushions)! This building is also the location for the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. At one point, the office of our Admissions Director was Ralph Waldo Emerson’s bedroom. We hope you’ll stop by and say “hello,” when you visit campus. Right now, Div Hall’s student lounge also has portions of the “Faces of Divinity” exhibit – part of a year-long, campus wide exhibit- that celebrates the 200 year anniversary of HDS. Be sure to check it out!
Andover Theological Library:
Samm: Hi all, I am currently a first-year MDiv student. Sujay highlights the “Faces of Divinity” exhibit, and you can see more of this exhibit in the Andover-Harvard Theological Library. The Andover-Harvard Theological Library was founded in 1836, built in 1910, and renovated in 2001. This is the perfect place to curl up by the large windows and watch the snow fall, as you dive into one of the more than half a million books. In addition to all the journals and periodicals, our library has over 30,000 rare books (including 22 that were published before 1525). Now, that’s a lot of winter reading! But even if you work your way through the Divinity School library, don’t worry. As a student, you will also have access Harvard’s entire library system, comprised of 73 libraries and with access to over 18 million volumes (and growing). As the largest university library system and private library system in the
world, you will surely never run out of reading material. When you need to be inspired, take a trip up to the third floor in the Divinity School’s library to check out special exhibits, or walk into the stacks and pretend you’re in an old, mythical library straight out of a fantasy novel.
Andover Hall & Andover Chapel:
Sujay: Yes, Samm, our library stacks do resemble a fantasy novel. Speaking of mythical libraries, the next stop is Andover Hall. Built in 1910, Andover Hall is the only example of collegiate gothic architecture at Harvard. This means that it is the building most likely to represent your Harry Potter fantasies! Additionally, Andover Hall houses HDS’s largest lecture room (The Sperry Room), faculty offices, classrooms, administrative offices, the Office of Ministry Studies, denominational counselors, the Braun Room and Andover Chapel. I have many of my classes in Andover Hall this semester, and I look forward to learning in small, seminar classrooms that look out
towards the green trees on campus.
If you have a chance to join us on campus, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the Braun Room during Community Tea on Tuesday afternoons. Community Tea offers a time for the community to connect with one another. As a visitor, you’ll likely have the opportunity to chat with current students and other members of the community that attend Community Tea. After Community Tea, be sure to stop by the Office of Ministry Studies to learn about Field Education (Field Ed) opportunities. Students have completed their Field Ed at a plethora of sites locally throughout Boston and all over the world. The Office of Ministry Studies assists in ensuring that students find Field Ed placements that meet their diverse needs and interests. Samm, please tell us more about Andover Chapel.
Andover Chapel in Andover Hall:
Samm: Sure, Sujay! Andover Chapel is my favorite place for quiet contemplation, or to attend the weekly Noon Service events. Noon Service is a weekly event that takes place every Wednesday in Andover Chapel. Hosted by a different group each week, it’s an opportunity for all in the HDS community to pray with our companions across the boundaries of our many respective traditions. Noon Service is dedicated to creating a safe and respectful environment for diverse student-run groups at HDS. We aim to support and advance the genuine religious pluralism of the School, engaging and honoring the many religious perspectives, commitments, and experiences among us. If you visit campus on a Wednesday, be sure to check out Noon Service. Andover Chapel is one of the most serene and beautiful places on campus. Look for the stunning stained windows and brass organ! But, Sujay, now I’m starting to get hungry; all this walking is making me crave a cookie.
Rockefeller Hall/Rockefeller Café:
Sujay: Okay, Samm, I’m ready for a snack, too. Let’s visit Rockefeller Hall, which houses the Rockefeller Café (also known as “The Rock”). This building is adjacent to Andover Hall and has administrative offices, classrooms and the lively café. During the school year, you’ll find students conversing with each other, doing course work, or just relaxing on the comfy couches. You can also stop by to pick up a treat to eat; the Rock serves both hot and cold entrees. I recommend the chocolate chip cookies! This is the perfect place to take a break on the tour, load up on Divinity School swag, and get ready for the last two stops on the tour. Incidentially, I’ve also have classes here in Rockefeller Hall. Last semester, I studied the ancient, Buddhist language called Pali in this building. Samm, what’s next on our tour?
Samm: Now let’s look at our last two stops. Here’s the first: Jewett House. Jewett House is home to Dean David N. Hempton and his wife, Louanne. Their stunning home is right across from Andover Hall, and they graciously open the doors of their home to current students during Orientation each year! Next door to the Jewett House is the Center for the Study of World Religions. Be sure to wave “hello” to Dean Hempton, if you see him walking around campus.
Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR):
Samm: Next to the Jewett House, you’ll find the Center for the Center for the Study of World Religions, where a number of students reside during the academic year. The CSWR also offers various events and speakers throughout the year. If you are on campus, be sure to take a walk through the halls to see the unique artwork hanging throughout the center. From the CSWR, you can see the backyard of the Jewett House the HDS Community Garden, and the Carriage House, which houses offices for the visiting fellows of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program (WSRP). On your way out, you’ll take a walk through the beautiful garden of the CSWR, where you may find residents playing Frisbee or soccer with their kids, students meditating, or enjoying tea and conversation.
Samm: Thanks for accompanying us on this virtual tour of the Harvard Divinity School Campus. We hope you will visit in-person soon and see more of what our campus has to offer. Sujay, would you tell us what students may expect to see in the Spring?
Sujay: Sure, Samm! We hope you visit us this spring. Our classes will be in session, and you can expect to see students attending a variety of events including: a symposium on Religion in Humanitarian Action, the annual Greeley Lecture for Peace and Social Justice, the Ingersoll Lecture with novelist Marilynne Robinson, and a lecture by Haitian novelist, Edwidge Danticat on the art of Doris Salecedo, just to a name a few. We look forward to welcoming you to our campus!