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Yale Daily News Historical Archive

The Yale Daily News, founded on January 28, 1878, is the oldest college daily newspaper published in the United States. The Yale Daily News Historical Archive provides access to digitized versions of printed issues of the Yale Daily News. The full text of these issues is indexed and searchable through the web interface. The historical archive is open to the world and includes over 140 years of YDN reporting. Issues were scanned from print volumes held by the Yale Library and, for more recent issues, collected in PDF format from the Yale Daily News. In some cases, issues were missing from Yale’s collection. We were able to fill in some but not all missing issues through the cooperation of the Yale Club of New York City.

In 2021, an anonymous Yale College alumnus made a significant gift to the Yale University Library in support of the Yale Daily News Historical Archive project. This generous gift facilitated the migration of the Archive to a new and more user-friendly platform, facilitated the addition of issues from 1996 to the present, and will help ensure the Archive’s ongoing maintenance and preservation.

For more than 130 years, the Yale Daily News has been the primary source of news and debate at Yale. Typically published every weekday when the University is in session, the newspaper is the oldest college daily in the United States. Many of the paper’s student editors, writers, and contributors have gone on to prominent careers in journalism and public life, including William F. Buckley, Lan Samantha Chang, John Hersey, Joseph Lieberman, Samantha Power, Sargent Shriver, Paul Steiger, Strobe Talbott, Calvin Trillin, Garry Trudeau, Jacob Weisberg, and Daniel Yergin.

Browse the Collection by Date

Permitted Use

Unauthorized reproduction of Yale Daily News content appearing on this site is NOT permitted in any form. For permission to reproduce Yale Daily News content, please consult the YDN Rights and Permissions site.

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Yale Daily News November 4, 1968. Front page showing an image from the Vladimer Horowitz concert. The headline is about

College paper since 1878  Crossword Clue

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50 Best College Newspapers

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Updated January 19, 2023

CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The best college newspapers in the U.S. are those that not only cover campus events and school news, but also delve into world and philosophical issues that reflect the interest of students. As proof of the relevance of school papers, a recent survey noted that 76% of all students have read their school’s student newspaper in the past 30 days. This figure tops 92% at schools that publish their paper daily M-F.

But the best papers also are "must reads" for those residents who live near campus. If you live in New Haven, you’d want to read the Yale Daily News. In Boston, the Harvard Crimson. What follows are 50 of the best college newspapers, as judged by the Princeton Review and journalismdegree.org.

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50. The Bucknellian, Bucknell University

The Bucknellian is the student newspaper of Bucknell University, a highly regarded, small liberal college in Central Pennsylvania. Founded in 1896, the student paper currently has a circulation of 4,500 and is one of the oldest student activities at the university.

For the latest edition, go to http://bucknellian.blogs.bucknell.edu/

49. The Pitt News, University of Pittsburgh

Established in 1910, the Pitt News has been the student news source for the University of Pittsburgh. They list as their circulation over 13,000 print issues a day, with readership of 9 out of 10 students.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.pittnews.com/

48. The John Hopkins News-Letter, John Hopkins University

The John Hopkins News-Letter is an in-depth publication serving the John Hopkins University student body since 1896. Circulation is estimated around 5,200 and it is released weekly. It is one of the oldest student-run newspapers in the country.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.jhunewsletter.com/

47. Iowa State Daily, Iowa State University

The Iowa State Daily has been in print since 1890. It currently employees over 200 student writers reporting on campus news, as well as state and national news.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.www.iowastatedaily.com/

46. The Minnesota Daily, University of Minnesota

Minnesota Daily is the paper serving the University of Minnesota campus, along with the surrounding area. It is completely student-run and has been active since 1877, being renamed to its current moniker in 1900.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.mndaily.com/

45. The Commonwealth Times, Virginia Commonwealth University

In 2011, the Society of Professional Journalists awarded the Commonwealth Times first place in Breaking News photography and awards in editorial cartooning. Print issues are distributed on campus, as well as at local businesses and restaurants.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.commonwealthtimes.org/

44. The Los Angeles Loyolan, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Loyolan has been awarded numerous accolades in recent years and is the official paper of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The paper has great coverage of news, opinions, along with dense content on arts and entertainment. They also feature a section highlighting Loyolan blogs.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.laloyolan.com/

43. The Argonaut, University of Idaho

The Argonaut is the student newspaper of the University of Idaho and provides a wealth of interesting articles, along with radio and blog sections. The student media tab also highlights the radio full color magazine that are run in conjunction with the paper.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.uiargonaut.com/

42. The Exponent, Purdue University

The Exponent was founded in 1889 and has been run by students since that time. Approximately 150 students staff the paper to bring Purdue University news and opinion pieces.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.purdueexponent.org/

41. The Red and Black, University of Georgia

First: a confession. This is my alma mater and I worked at this paper (which I loved doing). Background: This paper first began in 1893 as a tabloid. Jump ahead over a century: On August 15, 2011, The Red & Black released a special edition announcing what it called "a media revolution." The student paper announced that it would primarily focus on its online content, to better keep up with demand for mobile news access.

The paper now publishes a three-sectioned print version, which focuses on in-depth coverage. The website contains all of the features and articles previously found in the Monday-to-Friday paper, plus audio clips, videos, and other multimedia extras.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.redandblack.com/

40. The Daily Mississippian, University of Mississippi

The Daily Mississippian, better known as the DM, is the very cool, much read student newspaper of UM. Like many other top rated college papers, the DM is an independent student-run newspaper, and is the only college newspaper in the state that is published five times a week: Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters, and twice a week during the June and July summer terms.

With a daily circulation of 12,000 during fall and spring, it is one of the larger college newspapers in the country. It is also the only college newspaper in Mississippi to be a full member of the state press association, and it competes in the Mississippi Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest against professional daily newspapers. How’s that for relevance?

For the latest edition, go to http://thedmonline.com/

39. Washington Square News, NYU

As a New Yorker, I keep up with the city not by always reading the Post, the News or The Times, but The Washington Square News, the daily student paper of NYU. Where better to get news about the university, Greenwich Village and the East Village?

WSN, has a circulation of 10,000 and an estimated 65,000 readers online. I’m one of those (and you should be too). It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional issues published in the summer. One more thing of note: WSN is editorially independent from the university and is solely responsible in selling advertisements to fund its production.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.nyunews.com/

38. The Kentucky Kernel, University of Kentucky

Talk about a large collegiate (and beyond) readership. Those in love with Big Blue will flock to The Kentucky Kernel, the independent daily, student-run publication of the University of Kentucky with a circulation of 17,000 and a readership of more than 30,000.

The paper is issued during the weekdays during the spring and fall semesters and weekly during the summer term, roughly 150 days in the calendar year. It is one of the largest-circulating newspapers in Kentucky.

For the latest edition, go to http://kykernel.com/

37. The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University

The Daily Princetonian, nicknamed the "Prince," (what else?) was the second college newspaper in America to publish daily. Founded in 1876 as a biweekly publication named The Princetonian, it became The Daily Princetonian in 1892.

The "Prince" has a daily print circulation of 2,000 and its website receives roughly 30,000 hits every day. The "Prince" is fully independent from Princeton University. It is directed by a graduate board of trustees, consisting of former editors and business staffers. The paper supports itself financially and does not receive financial support from the university or from alumni donations.

For the latest edition, go to http://dailyprincetonian.com/

36. The Daily, University of Washington

The Daily has been the newspaper for the University of Washington since 1891. Features all breaking news, sports and culture features, and includes a special sections for gaming and Greek life.

It was founded as The Pacific Wave and ran under that title until June 5, 1908. The newspaper became a daily with its September 15, 1908 issue and changed its name to The Pacific Daily Wave. This name lasted until May 21, 1909, and the paper became The University of Washington Daily when the 1909-1910 school year began. Here is something cool: In 2010, The Daily created a half-hour television companion show called The Daily's Double Shot.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailyuw.com/

35. The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University

The Harvard Crimson was founded in 1873 and includes an impressive list of past editors. The Harvard Crimson is also published every morning and is the only "breakfast-table" newspaper in Cambridge, Mass. They produce a magazine section every Thursday.

Two pretty well known former staffers were John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thecrimson.com/

34. The Columbia Spectator, Columbia University

The Columbia Daily Spectator was founded in 1877 and is one of the oldest running college newspapers in the country. Independent from the university since 1962, the paper has a circulation of about 8,000 people.

It circulates not just on campus but on areas around Columbia University, Morningside Heights, West Harlem, and beyond. The newspaper is published five days per week during the academic year, and offers news, arts, commentary, sports coverage, and photos from around campus and New York City, in conjunction with our blog, Spectrum, and our weekly arts and features magazine, The Eye. The Spectator is the second-oldest college daily paper in the country and have been financially independent from the University since 1962.

For the latest edition, go to http://columbiaspectator.com/

33. The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan

The Michigan Daily is the campus newspaper of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and was first published in 1890. The paper is printed daily during fall and winter terms and then weekly during the spring and summer.

The newspaper is financially and editorially independent of the University's administration and other student groups

For the latest edition, go to http://www.michigandaily.com/

32. The Tech Online Edition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Tech, established in 1881, is MIT’s oldest and largest newspaper, and first newspaper published on the web. Their staff consists mostly of students and faculty, but occasionally finds contributions from alumni.

The Tech publishes on Thursdays during the regular school year, on Wednesdays during the month of January, and monthly during the summer. The Tech is also financially independent of MIT; we are supported only by advertising revenues and donations.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.tech.mit.edu/

31. The Stanford Daily, Stanford University

Since 1892, The Stanford Daily has been found on campus. A print version is published every Monday through Thursday and they publish several special issues throughout the year, including the orientation issue, Big Game issue, and commencement issue.

The paper began as a small publication known to locals as The Daily Palo Alto and has grown to its current status as one of the finest college newspapers in the country.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.stanforddaily.com/

30. The Daily Pennsylvanian, University of Pennsylvania

The Daily Pennsylvanian is the independent student newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania. About 116 mornings each school year, Penn students, faculty and staff turn to the DP as their source of campus and city news and sports coverage. The DP exists to inform the Penn community of relevant news and opinion while providing a training vehicle for students.

First published in 1885, under the name The Pennsylvanian, the DP is perennially recognized as one of the top college newspapers in the country. The paper has been published daily since 1894 (except from May 1943 to November 1945, when it was not published because of World War II). In 1962, the DP broke away from the student government and became independent. At the same time, the paper merged with the Pennsylvania News, the university's women's newspaper. In 1984, The Daily Pennsylvanian became a corporation, formally completing the separation of any editorial or financial control by the University of Pennsylvania. One last note: a good friend was on staff.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thedp.com/

29. The Brown Daily Herald, Brown University

The Brown Daily Herald is the 2nd oldest daily-published student newspaper, having been founded in 1866. Circulation is approximately 4,000 and has many notable alumnus.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.browndailyherald.com/

28. The Daily Trojan, University of Southern California

The first issue of the Daily Trojan was printed in 1912. For the past 97 years, students have run and represented the news, opinions, and other features of the paper. A Los Angeles fixture, and the best place to find news about USC.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailytrojan.com/

27. The Daily Texan, University of Texas

The Daily Texan has been serving the Austin community since 1900. Their news section includes local legislation and they have grown to include a podcast for news broadcasting as well.

Back in 1900 two privately owned weekly newspapers were distributed on campus — the Calendar and the Ranger. In 1904 the two papers were taken over by the student council and merged. In 1913, the student body voted to publish the paper each weekday, and The Daily Texan was born on September 24, 1913.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailytexanonline.com/

26. The Daily Californian, University of California, Berkeley

Founded in 1871, The Daily Californian is one of the oldest papers on the West Coast and one of the oldest college newspapers. It is also completely independent from the university it covers, supporting itself with ad revenue.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailycal.org/

25. The Chronicle, Duke University

The Chronicle, the student-run newspaper of the Duke community, is older than Duke University itself.Students at Duke's predecessor, Trinity College, founded the newspaper in 1905, and the first issue published on Dec. 19 featured articles about a campus debate and a speech by a Charlotte businessman. The paper was created by members of the Hesperian and Columbian literary societies but eventually moved beyond those roots.

In 1968, after years of being published two or three times a week, the paper began five-day-a-week publication during the academic year. Later, in an important step toward independence, the paper stopped taking student fees. And in 1993, The Chronicle incorporated as the Duke Student Publishing Company, breaking formal ties with Duke.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dukechronicle.com/

24. The Colorado Daily, University of Colorado

Colorado Daily is reportedly the longest running free newspaper in the country and has been in print since 1892. The paper typically covers issues around the University of Colorado and has won awards for investigative journalism stemming from events at the turn of the century.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.coloradodaily.com/

23. The Minaret, University of Tampa

Established in 1933, The Minaret is the independent news source for the University of Tampa and surrounding area. The newspaper won nearly 20 awards between 2007 and 2011 and publishes a weekly newspaper as well as a quarterly magazine.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.theminaretonline.com/

22. The Lantern, Ohio State University

The Lantern, the esteemed student paper from The Ohio State University, has a circulation of over 15,000 and is printed daily. At the height of print, The Lantern had circulation of 28,000 with readership pushing 75,000 people.

The paper was chartered in 1881 and became an integral part of the School of Journalism in 1914. At one time in the past, it was the third largest college newspaper in the country. Student reporters, most of whom contribute through the Lantern practicum class, are not paid.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thelantern.com/

21. The Daily Iowan, University of Iowa

Founded in 1868 and awarded numerous National Pacemaker Awards, The Daily Iowan is a highly regarded student paper serving The University of Iowa. George Gallup, creator of the Gallup poll, served as editor of The Daily Iowan in the early 1920s. The newspaper's publisher is William Casey, who has served in the post since 1976. He is credited with starting the newspaper's scholarship program for talented future journalists.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailyiowan.com/

20. The Dartmouth, Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth is the student newspaper of Dartmouth College and was founded in 1799. It’s the oldest student newspaper in America and is published daily, Monday through Friday during the school year and twice a week during the summer.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thedartmouth.com/

19. The Vermont Cynic, University of Vermont

The Vermont Cynic was founded in 1883 to be an independent student voice for The University of Vermont and also provide valuable to news to the Burlington community. Editorial and business operations are run by students and it reaches over 6,000 people weekly.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.vtcynic.com/

18. The Heights, Boston College

The Heights is the independent student newspaper of Boston College and was established in 1919. It is printed twice a week and has been selected many times over the past decade as an ACP Pacemaker Finalist.

The Heights has been both editorially and financially independent from the University since 1971. The Heights serves the students, faculty, and staff of the Boston College community, as well as our neighbors in Chestnut Hill, Newton, and the Allston-Brighton area.

The Heights is is printed on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the academic year. All print-edition content is posted at www.bcheights.com; the website is also updated with online-only and breaking stories throughout the week.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.bcheights.com/

17. The Hilltop, Howard University

The Hilltop was co-founded by acclaimed author and Howard alumna Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston never actually wrote for the newspaper, but provided guidance for student journalists.

The first issue of The Hilltop was published January 22, 1924. The front page of the first issue covered a timeless and sensitive Howard issue: registration follies. The paper was brief, chronicling events that took place the semester before, and touching on a few upcoming campus events. By 1929, the newspaper was published bi-monthly. A year later, in 1930, The Hilltop became a weekly newspaper and remained so for 71 years. Within that time, the paper progressed steadily as a forum for African American writers to hone their journalistic skills.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thehilltoponline.com/

16. The Bona Venture, St. Bonaventure University

The Bona Venture has been reporting campus news since 1926. They are committed to open and honest perspectives and providing stories "you won’t find anywhere else."

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thebvnewspaper.com/

15. The Wagnerian, Wagner College

The Wagnerian publishes an issue every two weeks - about six issues per semester. Aside from the standard six issues, we also publish a "Campus Guide" at the beginning of the fall semester and a "Commencement Issue" at the close of the academic year in May.

The Wagnerian focuses primarily on Wagner students, addressing their issues and concerns. It is The Wagnerian's mission to serve, inform, listen, and entertain, and to encourage a free exchange of ideas. Stories in The Wagnerian help Wagner students make useful decisions that will enhance the quality of their lives. The paper’s news-gathering process and presentation is balanced, thorough, sensitive, and accurate. We offer our readers information they can find nowhere else.

There are five different sections in The Wagnerian, including: Campus News, Opinions, Life & Style, Arts and Entertainment, and Sports. We also integrate elements of creative page design on our back page, known as "The Slice of Life."

For the latest edition, go to http://wagner.edu/english/the-wagnerian/

14. The Daily Gamecock, University of South Carolina

The Daily Gamecock was founded in 1908 and is an editorially independent newspaper that serves the University of South Carolina. The newspaper is renowned for quality content and in 2011 was featured by the Princeton Review as a "Top 20 School Newspaper."

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailygamecock.com/

13. The Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida

The Alligator was founded in 1906 as The University News, which was an independent, student-owned newspaper created to serve the University of Florida when it opened in Gainesville. In 1912, the newspaper became a part of the University of Florida administration, and was renamed the Florida Alligator.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.alligator.org/

h2>12. The Daily Kansan, University of Kansas

The University Daily Kansan is an editorially and financially independent student paper serving the University of Kansas. It was founded in 1904. Its distribution is currently only within the university's campus. It is published daily during the spring and fall semesters and weekly during the summer months. Its circulation is about 12,000.The Kansan also includes a weekly lifestyle magazine named Jayplay.

Its online counterpart, Kansan.com, began operation on the Web in Fall 1996. Originally called the UDKi (for interactive) it adopted the naming convention of its parent publication three years later.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.kansan.com/

11-10 (tie) The Daily Cardinal, University of Wisconsin, Madison

In print since 1892, the Daily Cardinal has been a source of news for the University of Wisconsin-Madison students. From the tragic and personal news of a student death to the national opinion coverage of gun control, the Daily Cardinal reports on it.

For the latest edition, go to http://host.madison.com/daily-cardinal/

10-11 (tie The Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin, Madison

The Badger Herald was founded in 1969 by a group of four students seeking a conservative alternative to the UW–Madison's primary student newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, which editorialized against the Vietnam Ware and had close ties to leaders of the radical campus protest movement.

The Daily Cardinal would later become more moderate in response to pressure from local media, the UW Board of Regents, staff members leaving, declining advertising revenue, and the radicalism of the 1960s and early 1970s dying down around the country.

For the latest edition, go to https://badgerherald.com/

9. The Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Launched in 1893, The Daily Tar Heel noq circulates 18,000 free copies to more than 200 distribution locations throughout campus and in the surrounding community – Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham. Its estimated print readership of 38,000 makes it the largest community newspaper in Orange County.

The student journalists are solely responsible for all content under the direction of the student editor-in-chief. The 2014-16 editor is Jenny Surane. A new editor is selected each spring and serves for one year.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.dailytarheel.com/

8. The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University

The Daily Athenaeum is West Virginia University’s award winning daily newspaper. For 127 years, The Daily Athenaeum has been the voice of the Mountaineers. It is published Monday-Friday and is the 11th largest circulation newspaper in the state of West Virginia.

This newspaper is staffed entirely by students with supervision from a set of six full-time staff employees.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.thedaonline.com/

7. The Tufts Daily, Tufts University

The Tufts Daily, known on campus simply as The Daily, was first published on February 25, 1980. The paper covers news, arts and sports both on campus and in the Boston area and allows members of the Tufts community to submit op-ed pieces about any campus or global issue.

Unlike other student organizations and publications at Tufts, the Daily is financially self-sustaining, and does not receive funding from the student activities fee. During the Daily's first two decades, it was engaged in competition with a weekly campus newspaper, the Tufts Observer. The two newspapers co-existed until 2001, when the Observer changed to a biweekly newsmagazine format.

For the latest edition, go to http://tuftsdaily.com/

6. The Daily Collegian, Penn State University

Forgive my prejudice, but half the writers I know either worked at the Daily Pennsylvanian (U. of Penn) or The Daily Collegian, a student-operated newspaper that is published independently at Penn State University. The newspaper is printed on weekdays during the Fall, Spring, and second Summer semesters. It is distributed for free on campus. As of 2010, the off-campus cost for a copy of the newspaper is 30 cents.

The mission statement of Collegian Inc. is "to publish a quality campus newspaper and to provide a rewarding educational experience for the student staff members."

For the latest edition, go to http://www.collegian.psu.edu/

5. The Maroon, Loyola University New Orleans

Since 1923, the publications of the Loyola Student Media have worked to serve "A Greater Loyola." That was the mission laid out by founding editor Harold A Dempsey, and that is the goal of the student journalists who work long hours and late nights producing The Maroon, The Wolf, The Maroon Minute and The Maroon Online.

Student-run, student-produced and student-managed, the publications within the Loyola Student Media serve both as a community news outlet for Loyola University, and as a learning laboratory for aspiring young media professionals.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.loyolamaroon.com/

4. The Daily Bruin, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

A great college newspaper. When classes are in session, the Bruin is published Monday through Friday during the school year, twice a week during finals week, and once a week on Mondays in the summer quarter. The Bruin's staff also publishes Prime, a quarterly lifestyle magazine.

The DB is overseen by the ASUCLA Communications Board, which sets policies for the newspaper and other campus communications media. The Daily Bruin editorial team has 13 editorial departments: news writing, sports writing, arts & entertainment writing, opinion writing, news radio, graphics reporting, blogging, online development, video journalism, copy editing, photojournalism, page design, and cartoon and illustration.

For the latest edition, go to http://dailybruin.com/

3. The Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell University

The Cornell Daily Sun was founded in 1880 and is independent from the university. Kurt Vonnegut was the associate editor in 1944 and the paper is published Monday through Friday.

For the latest edition, go to http://cornellsun.com/

2. The Daily Orange, Syracuse University

A fertile ground for some of the best journalists in America. This newspaper began in 1903 and went independent in 1971. They have a readerships of 20,000 and publish 117 issues a year.

For the latest edition, go to http://dailyorange.com/

1. The Yale Daily News, Yale University

Founded January 28, 1878, the Yale Daily News is the nation’s oldest college daily newspaper. The News now publishes Monday through Friday during the academic year and serves the communities of Yale University and New Haven, Connecticut. In addition to the daily newspaper, the News publishes WEEKEND, a Friday supplement with reviews and articles about arts and culture, and Sports Monday, a Monday section providing expanded, in-depth sports coverage. The News also publishes several special-occasion issues every year, including the Parent’s Weekend issue, the Harvard-Yale Game issue, the Freshman issue and the Commencement issue. The News is produced by a very dedicated, all-volunteer undergraduate staff. Most reporters are freshmen and sophomores, while the editorial board is mainly comprised of juniors.

The News is the primary division of the Yale Daily News Publishing Co., which is headed by the News’ editor in chief and its publisher. In addition to the daily newspaper, the YDN Publishing Co. produces the monthly Yale Daily News Magazine and the Insider’s Guide to the Colleges.

For the latest edition, go to http://www.yaledailynews.com/

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1878-1899: Education: Overview

Changing Economy, Changing Schools. The period from 1878 to 1899 was marked by major changes in the American way of life. In the early 1870s the United States was predominantly a nation of farmers, with 83.9 percent of the population living in rural areas or small towns of fewer than eight thousand inhabitants. Immigration and industrialization changed this picture of American life. In 1882 a record number of European immigrants further swelled the ranks of city dwellers. By the 1890s many rural Americans had begun drifting into the cities and nearly one-third of the population was classified as urban. Americans living in this increasingly industrial world were convinced that their era was a bridge between a traditional agrarian America of independent yeomen and a future dependent on cooperative activities in large-scale industries and vast urban areas, a change much like the one Great Britain had experienced a generation earlier. The changes from small-scale to large-scale industrial production, from domestic to factory organization, and from hand- to power-driven machine manufacturing were accompanied by fundamental changes in society. Instead of every man working independently for himself to scratch out a living, the new image of America was of a corporate state in which each worker was to do a specialized task in cooperation with the entire social system. Even in the Midwest where agriculture was still the heart of the economy, improvements in transportation and farm machinery turned farming into a much more sophisticated business. The South, however, was not experiencing this industrial expansion. As Reconstruction — that “ hideous orgy of anarchy, violence, and unrestrained corruption ” — came to an end with the withdrawal of federal troops in 1877, the afflictions of poverty, racial enmity, and resentment of northerners stunted any significant economic development until the early years of the twentieth century. Elsewhere in the United States , however, the rapidly increasing complexity of economic and social conditions called for significant changes in schooling.

Influences from Europe . Americans soon realized that the schools that had served the populace in the mid nineteenth century were not sufficient for the new era of industrial expansion. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, therefore, significant reforms were introduced. Improvements came as a result of the scientific study of the elementary, secondary, and college curricula, and of the methods of teaching and learning. The impetus for these early reforms was from European educators, since there were no graduate programs of education in the United States to inspire American thinkers and practitioners. More than any other educational reformer, Johann Heinrich Pestalozz, who conducted experimental schools in Switzerland , laid the foundation for the modern elementary school and helped to reform elementary school practice. Pestalozzi, a strong advocate of universal education, insisted that teachers use the environment and experience of the child as the most valuable means and material of his or her instruction. The curriculum he advocated valued observation and investigation over memorizing, and thinking over reciting. These principles, popularized by American educators who traveled to Switzerland or who read reports in the earliest educational journals, had a wide influence on industrial education and the teaching of arithmetic, geography, reading, and elementary science.

Changing Education for Young Children. European influences that helped to change elementary school educational theory and practice came from two of Pestalozzi ’ s disciples, Johann Friedrich Herbart and Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel . Herbart maintained that interest was the most important element in good teaching, and he elaborated a five-step formal teaching method that emphasized student interest, the adaptation of instruction to the past experiences of the pupil, and the unification of the subjects. In the United States a fervid enthusiasm for Herbartian principles developed during the late 1880s and the 1890s. Many American converts wrote articles for teachers and lectured to educators, slowly dispensing the reformist theories throughout this country. In 1892 the publication of Illinois Normal School professor Charles McMurray ’ s “ how-to ” book on Herbartian principles called The General Method popularized the ideas so widely that significant changes began to appear in elementary schools nationwide. Another enthusiastic follower of Pestalozzi, Froebel, directly contributed one of the most important reforms of the late nineteenth century — the kindergarten. Froebel, who emphasized the importance of social development and self-expression in education, inspired the earliest and most influential American educational reformers, Col. Francis Parker and John Dewey .

The High Schools. The American high school was born in the nineteenth century, and although there were high schools as early as the 1820s and 1830s, these schools existed primarily for a small segment of the population. At the end of the century adolescents and their families faced the unsettling consequences of the early commercial and industrial revolution, urban growth, and immigration — all of which rendered familiar strategies for personal mobility obsolete. In response, political activists and school reformers redefined the educational experiences of high school students, investing more money and reshaping existing secondary schools to confront the dilemmas of this new age. By the 1880s, especially in the Northeast, the free public high school was no longer an anomaly. Social reformers had eliminated most alternative forms of secondary instruction, such as tuition academies, seminaries, and other private institutions. Without a national ministry of education to dictate policy and implement reform, Americans built high schools through local initiative. Educators and activists shared ideas across state boundaries about how to create, shape, and administer high schools, producing some common features to educational systems across the nation. However, high schools still varied enormously in the nineteenth century. Most pupils studied what was called “ the higher branches ” in modest, ungraded country schools; others in more elaborate “ union graded ” schools in villages and towns; and a privileged minority in ostentatious architectural facilities that conservatives called “ palaces ” in many American cities.

Questioning the Collegiate Curriculum. Colleges, too, were struggling to adjust to the changing social and economic conditions of the industrial age. Defining what a liberal arts education should be had been problematic since, earlier in the century, the classical curriculum of Greek, Latin, mathematics, philosophy, science, and English had come under attack by both faculty and students. In the 1860s and 1870s scientific studies of evolution, beginning with Charles Darwin ’ s On the Origin of Species (1859), further strained the limits of the traditional course of study as the range of courses gradually became wider and wider. Innovative educators intent upon establishing a more modern college education had to define what criteria would mark educated men and, since they were entering higher education in significant numbers for the first time, women. At major American colleges and universities both monumental and incrementai changes in the curriculum were effected during the late 1880s and 1890s. Under Charles William Eliot ’ s leadership, Harvard ’ s approach was the most radical, allowing students to choose all of their courses under an elective system. Few other universities went that far, but Stanford, Columbia, and Cornell carne close.

The Rise of the Research University. Institutions of higher learning grew rapidly in number, endowment, and quality of instruction, but one of the most significant changes in the colleges was American scholars ’ attempts to increase the world ’ s store of knowledge. In order to accomplish this new mission, it became necessary to provide the opportunities for postgraduate instruction in this country that had been available only in Europe, most notably Germany . During the 1880s more than two thousand Americans studied in German universities, twice as many as in the preceding ten years. When these young scholars returned home with their doctorates they were determined to provide opportunities for, as historian Arthur M. Schlesinger said, “ the truth born of knowledge, for the eagerness to learn to do a few things supremely well instead of many things well enough, and perhaps an unconscious withdrawal from the soliciting materialism which characterized the ethics of the great captains of industry. ” For the first time in the American economy, the broad diffusion of worldly goods made it possible for middle-class young men to take advantage of opportunities for advanced studies that previously had been restricted to the wealthy few. The returning American scholars made their influence felt in many universities. At Johns Hopkins University, which had opened in Baltimore in 1876 primarily for graduate study, nearly every faculty member had a doctorate from Germany. In 1878 only four hundred Americans pursued nonprofessional graduate study; by 1898 nearly four thousand doctorates were awarded. By the end of the 1880s the University of Chicago , Harvard, and Yale all enrolled more graduate students than Johns Hopkins . It was no longer necessary for talented students to seek graduate training in Europe, for America offered rich opportunities at many different institutions of higher learning.

Technical and Professional Schools. By the 1890s most Americans realized that many new types of schools — trade, manual training, technical, commercial, corporate, agricultural, and evening schools — had to be developed to provide adequate vocational preparation for the new realities of industrialization. After 1880 immigration to the northern and midwestern United States from southern and eastern Europe and from the American South rose significantly. The percentage of illiteracy among these new immigrants, combined with the policy of labor unions ’ limiting the number of apprentices they would train, created a need for industrial training for adults. In 1885 a state law was passed by New Jersey providing subsidies to encourage cities to offer manual training in their courses, and three years later manual training became a part of the course in the elementary schools of Boston and New York . The trend toward more vocational study influenced higher education as well. Noteworthy higher institutions that combined serious study of industrial subjects with liberal arts courses include Tuskegee Institute (1881), Pratt Institute in Brooklyn (1887), Drexel Institute of Philadelphia (1891), and Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago (1893). A system of commercial education was begun in the 1880s, and the Wharton School in Philadelphia (1892) served as an important model for other business institutions. Schools for education in high technology also opened to serve an increasingly industrial society . Although the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been opened in 1865, its enrollment and stature grew significantly during this era, and the Georgia School of Technology (1888), the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (reorganized in 1889), and the Carnegie Institute (1895) gave future engineers and scientists more options for higher education.

The Feminization of Education. The period following Reconstruction was marked by women becoming schoolteachers in greater numbers. Hundreds of black and thousands of northern white women had been drawn into the desolate rural areas of the South during Reconstruction. Additionally, accelerated immigration and the settlement of the West created a demand for more schoolteachers. Since few women were able to afford a full liberal arts education, more and more female students demanded intermediate institutions offering vocational or professional training. The founding in 1884 of the exclusively white Mississippi State Normal and Industrial School initiated a pattern soon followed by Georgia , North Carolina , South Carolina , Oklahoma , and Texas . These schools offered a briefer and less expensive course of study than did colleges. By 1890 more girls than boys were being graduated from high schools, and this credential alone allowed students to begin teaching school. Communities unwilling to overtax themselves to support education soon came to appreciate the fact that these women worked at lower wages than their male counterparts. In 1880, for example, male teachers worked for an average monthly wage of $42.68; women teachers made $33.95 for the same jobs. Although Americans in the latter part of the nineteenth century demanded more and better schools, they were not eager to pay teachers for their expanded roles. For both men and women, the average monthly salaries for teaching more and more of America ’ s students increased by only $11 between 1870 and 1908. Despite some financial setbacks for teachers, the period from 1878 to 1899 saw a revival of public interest in education for all citizens. By the late 1890s the forces of change were at work, and American education was at the beginning of a period of fundamental reform.

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The catalogue of the College of New-Jersey, just issued for the academic year 1878-9, is full of valuable information to all those seeking a collegiate education. Following up the line of improvement marked out some time since by President McCosh, Princeton steadily continues to strengthen her teaching capacity by applying the principle of the division of labor. View Full Article in Timesmachine »

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Harvard College Curriculum, 1640-1880: Overview

One of the earliest known descriptions of the life and mission of Harvard College, a promotional pamphlet printed in England in 1643 and entitled “New Englands (sic) First Fruits,” justifies the establishment of the College “to advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministery to the Churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust.”  Outlining the college curriculum, complete with the time and order of studies, the missive provides invaluable detail regarding academic life and studies at seventeenth century Harvard.

Much of what is known about the early Harvard College curriculum comes from “New Englands First Fruits” and from student and faculty notebooks and personal diaries, college textbooks and other books known to have been part of the College Library collection and/or owned by students, Commencement theses and quaestiones, examination papers, and the printed College Laws.

During its early years, the College offered a classic academic course based on the English university model, but consistent with the Puritan philosophy of the first colonists.  The mission of the College, according to the 1650 Charter, was:  “the advancement of all good literature, artes, and Sciences.”  Latin was the language of instruction (although the Latin speaking requirement was not renewed in the College Laws of 1692).  Students were expected to arrive at Harvard well-versed in Latin grammar and, once enrolled, followed a prescribed course of studies in Latin, Greek and Hebrew; the examination of classical languages through histories and drama providing the base for scholarly pursuits.  Other disciplines included Rhetoric and Logic, Ethics and Politics, Arithmetic and Geometry, and later, Algebra, Astronomy, Physics, Metaphysics and Theology (although Harvard College never functioned strictly as a divinity school).

Early records of the Harvard College faculty, especially the Faculty Minutes, as well as the records of the College Steward and Butler, and the Disorders Papers, are important sources for information relating to specific students, as individual student files, including admission records, grade reports and transcripts, were not established at Harvard until the nineteenth century.  The system of ordering or ranking student names in the College catalogues by “seniority,” from 1642-1772, has been a source of speculation.   It is not known whether the rankings were accorded for social rank, merit, or other criteria.  The practice was discontinued in 1773 in favor of an alphabetical arrangement. 

The collected papers of Harvard’s seventeenth and eighteenth century presidents, as well as tutors and professors, provide further insight, as academic reforms instituted by successive Harvard administrations contributed steadily to the development of the University.  Each of the seventeenth and eighteenth century Harvard College presidents, from Henry Dunster (1640-1654) to Joseph Willard (1781-1804), influenced the academic landscape according to his interests.  Reflected in numerous ways, including thesis disputation topics, teaching staff appointments and lectures, presidential leadership affected the expanding colonial Harvard curriculum.

The formal naming of Harvard as a university in 1780, the founding of Harvard Medical School in 1782 and the establishment, early in the nineteenth century, of Harvard Law School (1817) and Harvard Divinity School (1819) broadened the overall curriculum, advanced Harvard from a provincial seat of learning and secured its reputation as a national university.

Primary Sources

Charter of 1650 . Harvard University.

Laws and statutes of Harvard, 1665-1890 .

Commencement Theses, Quaestiones and Orders of Exercises, 1642-1818.

Diary of Henry Flynt, 1723-1747 . Henry Flynt earned his Harvard AB in 1693.  He became a fixture of 18th-century Harvard life, and in his later years was referred to as “Father Flynt.”  He was a Tutor from 1699 to 1754. See also: a transcribed published version .

Early Faculty Minutes, 1725-1806 . This collection contains the official minutes of Harvard University Faculty meetings held from 1725 to 1806. These early minutes predate the existence of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (established in 1890) and were taken at meetings of what was then simply called "the Faculty."

Early Records of the Steward, 1649-1812 .

Harvard University Corporation records: minutes, 1643-1989 . 1643-1827 available online .

Laws and Statutes of Harvard, 1655-1890 .

Laws of Harvard College .  Boston:  Printed by Samuel Hall, 1790. (Full-text available online free with Harvard ID and PIN.)  

Laws of Harvard College .   Boston:  Printed by John and Thomas Fleet, 1798.  College Laws include descriptions of required courses and texts. (Full-text available online free with Harvard ID and PIN.)

Mathematical theses, 1782-1839.

“New Englands (sic) First Fruits,” ca.1640 .  See Chapter 2.

Notebook of Obadiah Ayer, 1708-1716 contains academic texts on logic, geometry, metaphysics and geography copied by Ayer while he was a student at Harvard, and after his graduation in 1710. There is a general index to the included texts at the end of the volume.

Records of the Board of Overseers, Formal Meeting Minutes, 1707-1932 . Records of Overseers’ meetings, votes and committees.

Records of the Faculty relating to disorders, 1768-circa 1880s.

Records of the Harvard Corporation.  Minutes, correspondence and reports relating to all aspects of college affairs.  Series include Charter Papers, Donation Papers, College Laws, Presidents’ Papers and Professorship Papers.

Student mathematical textbook of James Freeman, 1774 contains portions of text copied from Nicholas Saunderson’s Elements of algebra, Nicholas Hammond’s The elements of algebra, and John Ward’s The young mathematician’s guide.

Student mathematical notebook of Ebenezer Hill, 1785 contains rules, definitions, problems, drawings, and tables on arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, calculating distances, and dialing. Some of the exercises are illustrated by hand-drawn diagrams, including some of buildings and trees.

Tolman Index to University Records, 1636-1870 . A name and subject index to official University records refers the researcher to individuals and topics recorded in the course of University business.  Examples of curriculum-related subject headings include: “Degrees,” “Laws,” “Tutors,” “Professors,” “Studies.”  Also available as a card index located in the Harvard University Archives reading room.

Secondary Sources

“Academic Seniority in Colonial Harvard” (Find It @ Harvard) by Samuel Eliot Morison. Harvard Alumni Bulletin , 35 (March 3, 1933), 576-578.

The Apparatus of Science at Harvard, 1765-1800 (Find It @ Harvard) by David Wheatland. Cambridge:  Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, 1968.

Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Find It @ Harvard) by John Langdon Sibley and others. Cambridge, [Mass.]: Charles William Sever, University Bookstore, 1873 - ; Eighteen volumes, various authors and publishers, covering the Harvard College Classes of 1642 to 1774. The first three volumes of this work are available online:

Volume I (Harvard College Classes of 1642-1658)   Volume II (Harvard College Classes of 1659-1677)   Volume III (Harvard College Classes of 1678-1689)   

A Collection of College Words and Customs by Benjamin Homer Hall.  Cambridge:  John Bartlett, 1856. Explains the genesis and usage of common college words and phrases, many originating at Harvard.

Cotton Mather:  The Young Life of the Lord’s Remembrancer, 1663-1703 (Find It @ Harvard) by David Levin. Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1978.

The First 350 Years of the Harvard University Library: Description of an Exhibition (Find It @ Harvard) by Kenneth Carpenter.  Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1986. 

The Founding of Harvard College (Find It @ Harvard) by Samuel Eliot Morison. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1935.

Glimpses of the Harvard Past (Find It @ Harvard) by Bernard Bailyn, et al. Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1986.

The Harvard Book; a series of historical, biographical, and descriptive sketches by various authors edited by F.O. Vaille and Henry Clark.  Boston, Houghton, Osgood and Co., 1878. 

Harvard College in the Seventeenth Century (Find It @ Harvard) by Samuel Eliot Morison.  2 vols. Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1936. Includes detailed chapters on all aspects of the curriculum, including subjects taught and “The Student and His Day.”

Harvard College Records (1636-1750) (Find It @ Harvard) .  Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts , vols. 15, 16, 31, 49, 50.  Boston:  The Colonial Society, 1925-1975.  Comprehensive index found in Volume 16 may be searched for relevant keywords, e.g. Apparatus, Degrees, Lectures, Library and subject areas such as Astronomy and Theology.  See also Hathi Trust Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and volume 15 , volume 16 , volume 31 , volume 49 , and volume 50 .

Harvard:  Four Centuries and Freedoms (Find It @ Harvard) by Charles Abraham Wagner.  New York:  Dutton, 1950.

Harvard Library Bulletin .  Cambridge:  Harvard University Library. Series. 1947-present.  See especially:

  • Metcalf, Keyes D., “The Undergraduate and Harvard Library, 1765-1877,” HLB , I (Winter 1947).
  • Metcalf, Keyes D., “Spatial Growth in the Harvard Library, 1638-1947,” HLB , II (Winter 1948).
  • Robinson, Fred, “Thomas Hollis, Founder of Harvard’s Celtic Collection,” HLB , II (Spring 1948).
  • Lovett, Robert W., “Harvard College and the Supply of Textbooks,” HLB , IV (Winter 1950).
  • Lovett, Robert W., “The Pennoyer Scholarship at Harvard,” HLB , IV (Spring 1950).
  • Robbins, Caroline, “Library of Liberty – Assembled by Thomas Hollis,” HLB , V (Winter 1951).
  • Robbins, Caroline, “Library of Liberty – Assembled for Harvard College by Thomas Hollis of Lincoln’s Inn,” HLB (Spring 1951).
  • Cadbury, Henry J., “Religious Books at Harvard,” HLB , V (Spring 1951).
  • Cadbury, Henry J., “Bishop Berkeley’s Gifts to the Harvard Library,” HLB , VII (Winter 1953).
  • Cadbury, Henry J., “Bishop Berkeley’s Gifts to the Harvard Library:  II. A Further Gift in 1748,” HLB , VII (Spring 1953).
  • Fiering, Norman S., “Solomon Stoddard’s Library at Harvard in 1664,” HLB , XX (July 1972).
  • Knapton, Ernest John, “Pitt Clarke’s Harvard Diary, 1786-1791,” HLB , XXI (April 1973).
  • Elliott, Clark A., “Sources for the History of Science in the Harvard University Archives,” HLB , XXII (January 1974).
  • Kaiser, Leo M., “The Inaugural Address of Edward Wigglesworth as First Hollis Professor of Divinity,” HLB , XXVII (July 1979).
  • Leonard, David C., “Harvard’s First Science Professor:  A Sketch of Isaac Greenwood’s Life and Work,” HLB , XXIX (April 1981).
  • Graffam, Gray, “A Discovery of Seventeenth-Century Printing Types in Harvard Yard,” HLB , XXX (April 1982).
  • Olsen, Mark and Louis-Georges Harvey, “Reading in Revolutionary Times: Book Borrowing from the Harvard College Library, 1773-1782,” HLB , New Series 4 (Fall 1993).
  • Gomes, Peter J, “Thomas Hollis of London and His Gifts:  Two Hundred Seventy-Five Years of Piety and Philanthropy at Harvard, HLB , New Series 13 (Summer 2002).
  • Accardo, Peter X., “The Library of the Hollis Professor of Divinity to 1778:  A Checklist,” HLB , New Series 13 (Summer 2002).

“Harvard Textbooks and Reference Books of the Seventeenth Century,” (Find It @ Harvard) by Arthur O. Norton. Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts , XXVIII (1935), 361-438.

Harvard University History of Named Chairs:  Sketches of Donors and Donations, 1721-1991 (Find It @ Harvard) by William Bentinck-Smith. Harvard .  Cambridge:  Secretary to the University, 1991.

Historical Register of Harvard University, 1636-1936 (Find It @ Harvard). Cambridge:  Harvard University, 1937.  (HU 137.572)  Alphabetical list of Harvard faculty and officers.

The History of Harvard University by Josiah Quincy. 2 vols.  Cambridge:  Published by John Owen, 1840.  Largely chronological account of the first two centuries, with references to the major individuals, decisions and influences in the development of the college.  See especially:  Vol. I, Chapter IX, p. 188-194, for 17 th century course of studies; Vol. I, Chapter XIX, p. 439, for description of academic studies in the time of Presidents Leverett and Wadsworth (1707-1737); and  Vol. II, Chapter XXVI, p. 123, for 18 th century exhibitions and curricular improvements.

“Liberal Education in Seventeenth-Century Harvard” (Find It @ Harvard) by Edward Kennard Rand. New England Quarterly , 6 (1933).

Mathematical Theses of Junior and Senior Classes, 1782-1839 by Henry Badger. Cambridge:  Library of Harvard University, 1888.

Medicine at Harvard:  The First Three Hundred Years (Find It @ Harvard) by Henry K. Beecher and Mark D. Altschule.  Hanover, NH:  University Press of New England, 1977.  

Moral Philosophy at Seventeenth Century Harvard:  A Discipline in Transition (Find It @ Harvard) by Norman Fiering.  Chapel Hill:  Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture. Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press, 1981.

“Out of Smalle Beginnings…”  An Economic History of Harvard College in the Puritan Period, 1636 to 1712 (Find It @ Harvard) by Margery Somers Foster. Cambridge:  Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1962.

Student Notebooks at Colonial Harvard:  Manuscripts and Educational Practice, 1650-1740 (Find It @ Harvard) by Thomas Knoles, Rick Kennedy and Lucia Zaucha Knoles.  Worcester:  American Antiquarian Society, 2003. 

"Student Records: The Harvard Experience"  by Harley P. Holden. The American Archivist, Vol. 39, No. 4 (October 1976): pp. 461-467.

Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936 (Find It @ Harvard) by Samuel Eliot Morison. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1936.

Dissertations

Governance and Curriculum at Harvard College in the 18 th Century by Thomas Jay Siegel. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1990. (Full-text available online free with Harvard ID and PIN.)  

Puritan Town and Gown: Harvard College and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1636-1800   by John D. Burton. A dissertation presented at the College of William and Mary, 1996, c1997. (Full-text available online free with Harvard ID and PIN.) Includes chapters on the historical background of Harvard, English models and Harvard faculty.

Faculty Papers

Diaries of Benjamin Guild, 1776, 1778 .  Benjamin Guild (A.B. 1769, A.M. 1772) was a Latin tutor at Harvard College from 1776-1780 and a prominent bookseller.  His diaries from 1776 and 1778 refer to his lectures at Harvard and to the examination of students.

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1878 class book, document type, publication date.

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Prevalence of Mental Distress and Associated Factors among Samara University Students, Northeast Ethiopia

Robel tesfaye kelemu.

1 Afar Regional Health Bureau, Afar National and Regional, PO Box: 28, Semera, Ethiopia

Alemayehu Bayray Kahsay

2 School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

Kedir Y. Ahmed

3 Department of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Science, Samara University, PO Box: 132, Samara, Ethiopia

4 Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Campbelltown Campus, NSW, Australia

Associated Data

The data set will not be shared in order to protect the participants' identities.

Empirical findings have indicated that higher institution students experience a higher prevalence of mental distress compared to the general population. Understanding the magnitude and associated factors of mental distress in university students would be helpful to practitioners and policymakers in Ethiopia. The aim of the present study was to examine the prevalence and associated factors of mental distress among Samara university students, Northeast Ethiopia.

Institution based cross-sectional study design was conducted in Samara university from December to June 2018. A simple random sampling technique was employed to select the study participants. Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 (SRQ-20) was used to measure the mental distress of students. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to examine the association between sociodemographic and psychosocial factors with the mental distress of students.

The proportion of students with mental distress were found to be 53.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 48.0%, 58.0%). Female students were more likely to be mentally distressed compared to male students (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 4.66; 95% CI: 2.81, 7.71). Ever khat use (AOR: 3.09; 95% CI: 1.74, 5.50) and poor sleep quality (AOR: 2.23; 95% CI: 1.12, 3.66) were significantly associated with mental distress of students.

Our study indicates that the proportion of mental distress was found to be higher among Samara university students as compared to previously published studies in Ethiopia. Female students, ever khat users and those with poor sleep quality were associated with mental distress. There is a need for evidence-based interventional strategies such as self-help measures, sleep hygiene and peer support, as well as professional mental health services as part of student health services that would be helpful to reduce the burden of mental distress of students.

1. Background

Mental distress is a syndrome characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in cognition, emotion regulation, or behaviour accompanied by psychological, biological, or developmental processes dysfunction [ 1 , 2 ]. Empirical findings have indicated that students experience a higher prevalence of mental disorders than the general population [ 3 ]. This is, even more, higher among students of higher institutions. There are several possible explanations for the increased mental distress of university students. First, students have to make significant adjustments to college life. Second, because of the pressure of studies, there is strain placed on interpersonal relationships. Third, housing arrangements and changes in lifestyle also contribute to the stress experienced by college/university students. Furthermore, students in college experience stress related to academic requirements, support systems, and ineffective coping mechanisms [ 4 , 5 ].

Mental distress can lead to temporary effects as well as consequences that affect the individual in the long term. Common consequence of college students mental distress are a feeling of being overwhelmed [ 4 , 5 ]; inability to concentrate and to focus the attention on a certain task which can result in being unable to answer questions in an exam [ 4 , 6 , 7 ], and finally may result in withdrawal from their college or university. In the long term, if mental distress is perceived as negative and excessive, it can result in physical and psychological impairment [ 8 ]. Studies showed that excessive stress is associated with both sleep problems and substance use, and mental health symptoms in young adolescents [ 6 , 7 ].

In Ethiopia, however, despite more than one-third of the university students affected by mental distress at least once during their campus life, mental health has been one of the most disadvantaged health programs in higher institutions, both in terms of facilities and trained manpower [ 9 – 12 ]. To institutionalize policies and strategies for intervention and control of the mental distress of students, understanding the magnitude and predictors of mental distress in university students would be helpful to practitioners and policymakers in Ethiopia. Moreover, Samara university is located in one of the hottest areas in the country which might exacerbate the living condition of students. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and associated factors of mental distress among Samara university students in Ethiopia.

2.1. Study Design and Study Setting

Institution based cross-sectional study design was used to assess the prevalence and associated factors of mental distress among Samara University students from February to March 2018. The study was conducted in Samara university, which is found at Semera-Logia town of Afar National and Regional State (ANRS). Semera-Logia town of Afar National and Regional State (ANRS) is located 583 km away from the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. In the 2017/2018 academic year, a total of 8,777 students were enrolled in regular, extension, the summer and post-graduate programs [ 13 ].

2.2. Source and Study Population

All regular Samara university students who were registered during the 2017/2018 academic year were the source population. Students selected by simple random sampling technique were the study population. Students who are unable to see and were out of the campus during the data collection period were excluded from the study.

2.3. Sample Size Determination and Sampling Procedure

A single population proportion formula assuming 95% confidence interval (CI), 5% margin of error, and 49.1% proportion of mental distress [ 14 ] was used to calculate the sample size. Considering a non-response rate of 10%, the final sample size of the study was found to be 422. After we select one department from each college, we used simple random sampling technique (table of random number) to select students from each department.

2.4. Data Collection

The data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire with four parts. First, a socio-demographic characteristic of students was asked. Second, the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ 20 ) was used to measure the prevalence of mental distress. SRQ 20 is originally developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) [ 15 ] designed to indicate common mental disorders or mental distress. The tool was validated in low and middle-income countries (including Ethiopia) [ 15 ]. In this study, students who are found to have eight or more symptoms of SRQ 20 questions in the last four weeks were considered as having mental distress. This cutoff point was used based on a validation study of the questionnaire which gave the highest sensitivity and specificity [ 9 ]. Third, ever and current substance use (i.e. Alcohol, khat, and cigarette) were asked. The last part of the questionnaire measured sleep quality and patterns of students using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The PSQI is an effective instrument used to measure the quality and patterns of sleep in adults. It differentiates “poor” from “good” sleep by measuring seven areas (components) : subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, use of sleeping medications, and daytime dysfunction over the last month [ 10 ].

One Psychologist as a supervisor and three diploma nurses as data collector participated in the data collection process. The distribution of the questionnaire was conducted to students while they were in the classroom.

2.5. Data Quality Control

Training was provided for the data collection team on the objective and overall data collection procedures on a day before the pretest. The pretest was also conducted on 10% of students of Samara university from non-selected departments. The daily meeting was conducted among the principal investigator, supervisor and data collectors to check completeness and clarity of the questionnaire and to resolve unanticipated problems.

2.6. Operational Definitions

Mental distress: Having eight or more symptoms of the 20 SRQ 20 questions in the last four weeks. Current substance use: a history of substance use (for non-medical purposes) in the last four weeks. Ever substance use: using the specified substance (for non-medical purposes) even once in their lifetime. Students who scored >5 for PSQI were categorized under poor sleep quality otherwise they were catagorized under good sleep quality [ 10 ].

2.7. Data Processing and Analysis

After checking the consistency and completeness of the questionnaires, the data were entered into Epi info version 7.1.1.14, and then exported to SPSS version 20 for further analysis. Frequency, mean, and standard deviation were employed for descriptive analysis. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to examine the relationship between sociodemographic and psychosocial factors with the mental distress of students. Adjusted Odds Ratio with a 95% confidence interval was used as a measure of association. A P -value of <0.05 was used to declare statistical significance.

2.8. Ethical Consideration

Ethical clearance was obtained from the Samara university College of Medical and Health Sciences Ethical Review Committee. Voluntary informed consent was also obtained from each study participant after the purpose and importance of the study was communicated. The name of the participant and any personal identifier were omitted from the questionnaire to ensure confidentiality.

3.1. Socio-Demographic and Academic Characteristics

Out of 404 respondents, 230 (56.9%) of them were male, and 255 (63.1%) of them were less than or equal to 21 years of age. The majority of the students were single in their marital status [380 (94.1%)], and 219 (54.2%) of them were originated from urban areas. A family history of mental illness was reported in 99 (24.5%) of students. About 97 (24.0%) of them were from the College of Engineering and Technology and 152 (37.6%) of them were second-year students ( Table 1 ).

Socio-demographic and academic characteristics of Samara university students, Northeast Ethiopia, 2018 ( n = 404).

CGPA: Cumulative grade point average.

3.2. Psycho-Social Characteristics

The current use of khat, alcohol, and tobacco was reported in 64 (15.4%), 86 (21.3%) and 16 (4%) of students ( Table 2 ). The majority (77.2%) of them reported the sleeping duration of fewer than six hours. One hundred sixty-nine (41.8%) of students reported sleep latency and day time dysfunction of less than once in a week. Sleep medication was reported by 45 (11.1%) of students. Overall, 319 (79%) of students were classified as having poor sleep quality (total PSQI score >5) ( Table 2 ).

Distribution of psychosocial factors in Samara university students, Northeast Ethiopia, 2018 ( n = 404).

3.3. Prevalence of Mental Distress

Prevalence of mental distress among students was found to be 53.2% [95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.48, 0.58]. About 58.1% and 41.7% of female and male students had mental distress respectively.

3.4. Factors Associated with Mental Distress

In multivariable logistic regression, female sex, ever use of khat, and sleep quality were associated with a higher odds of mental distress among students. The P -value of the Hosmer and Lemshow model fitness test was 0.93. The odds of mental distress of female students was significantly higher (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 4.67; 95% CI: 2.81, 7.71) as compared to male students. Students who reported ever use of khat had higher odds (AOR: 3.09; 95% CI: 1.74, 5.50) of mental distress compared to their counterparts. The prevalence of mental distress was significantly higher (AOR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.12, 3.66) among students with poor sleep quality than those who had poor sleep quality ( Table 3 ).

Factors associated with mental distress of Samara university Students, Northeast Ethiopia, 2018 ( n = 404).

ORs = Odds ratio. The bold values indicate statistical significance.

4. Discussion

The present study investigated the prevalence and associated factors of mental distress among Samara University students. Our findings showed that the prevalence of mental distress among Samara University students was found to be 53.2%, indicating the higher magnitude of mental distress among higher education students in Ethiopia. The proportion of mental distress found to be higher than previously published studies conducted among university students from Adama, Gondar, and Hawassa [ 12 , 16 , 17 ]. The possible explanation for the difference with the above studies can be that Samara University is located in one of the hottest areas of the country which increases student's risk of heat exhaustion and heat stress [ 18 ]. Additionally, poor infrastructure and lack of recreational facilities either inside or outside of the campus could also probably explain the observed difference in the magnitude of mental distress. The proportion of mental distress was also higher than studies conducted in higher-income countries such as France (25.7%) [ 19 ], Norway (22.9%) [ 20 ], Iceland (22.5%) [ 21 ] and Australia (19.2%) [ 22 ]. The findings of this study suggested the need for interventions targeted to reduce the mental distress of Samara University students in Ethiopia.

International evidence indicates that the magnitude of mental distress is higher in female students than male students [ 19 , 20 ]. Consistent with this evidence, our study showed that the odds of mental distress was found to be higher among female students compared to male students. This finding was also supported by previously published studies in Australia [ 22 , 23 ], France [ 24 ], Norway [ 20 ] and Turkey [ 25 ]. The susceptibility to stressors due to domestic violence and hormonal changes during menstruation could probably explain the higher prevalence of mental distress among female students [ 26 ]. Additionally, the structural determinants of mental health such as income and social roles and rank of women may explain the observed relationship between female students and mental distress. There is a need for a public health primary prevention approach and gender-specific interventions that address gender-specific risk factors in Ethiopia.

Researchers have indicated the bi-directional relationships between substance use and common mental disorders of students [ 27 , 28 ]. Our study also supported this relationship which showed the positive association between ever use of khat and mental distress of students. Similarly, previously published studies in Ethiopia also reported that substance use was associated with increased risk to mental distress of students [ 12 , 29 ]. This result may be explained by the fact that people may use psychoactive substances as a self-regulation strategy to alleviate the distressful experience [ 28 ]. Another possible explanation for the observed association between substance use and mental distress could be that people with substance use and mental disorder may have an overlapping genetic susceptibility to both disorders [ 30 ]. The evidence from this study suggests that it is imperative that practitioners and policymakers work collaboratively to establish multi-pronged strategies to reduce the co-occurring substance use and mental distress of students.

The present study demonstrated that students who had poor sleep quality were more likely to experience mental distress as compared to those who had good sleep quality. This finding was supported by similar studies conducted among university students [ 31 – 33 ]. The relationship between poor sleep quality and mental distress can be explained by that students with sleep disturbances are more likely to complain a high level of stress, which might, in turn, be changed to mental distress [ 34 ]. There are, however, other possible explanations. The sleeping disturbance can be either a cause or a symptom of mental distress or simply co-morbidity [ 32 ]. We recommend high-quality longitudinal studies that might be helpful to investigate the relationship between mental distress and sleep quality of university students.

This study has some important limitations that should be kept in mind when interpreting the results. First, the cross-sectional nature of the study design may not allow confirming a definitive cause and effect relationship. Second, it is important to bear in mind that SRQ 20 is a screening instrument in measuring the mental distress of students. Nevertheless, the findings of this study can be used as a first step to understand the current situation of mental distress among university students. Third, the scope of this study was limited in terms of measuring the distressful experience of students. We recommend for qualitative investigations that explore the experience and perception of students towards the distressful experience. Last, the study may be prone to recall bias since the data were collected based on self-reported information. Despite the above limitation, the use of a validated standardized instrument can be considered as a potential strength of this study.

5. Conclusion

The result of the present study shows that more than half of Samara university students were mentally distressed. This proportion was higher as compared to similar studies conducted in Adama, Gondar and Hawassa university students. Being female in sex, ever use of khat and poor sleep quality were independent predictors of student's mental distress. We recommended that students mental distress needs due attention and remedial action from both government and non-governmental organizations and any program aimed at preventing mental distress of students. For example, evidence-based interventional strategies such as self-help measures, sleep hygiene, and peer support, as well as professional mental health services as part of student health services, would be helpful to reduce the burden of mental distress of students.

Acknowledgments

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude and sincere appreciations to all data Collectors and study participants in this study; without them, this research wouldn't have been possible. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the dedicated staff working in Samara university student service as they have provided us the relevant data and information related to our research work. We would like to express our deeper thanks to Samara university, College of Medical and Health Sciences for facilitating the research work.

Abbreviations

Data availability, ethical approval.

The study was reviewed and approved by the Ethical review committee of Samara university, College of Medical and Health Science. All participants were pre-informed of the aim of the study and their full right to withdraw or refuse to participate before their verbal consent was obtained.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Authors' Contributions

Robel Tesfaye Kelemu conceived and designed the study, performed analysis and interpretation of data and drafted the manuscript. Alemayehu Bayray Kahsay and Kedir Y. Ahmed supervised the design, conception, analysis, interpretation of data and made critical comments at each step of research. All authors read and approved the final Manuscript.

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Statistical Analysis of Financial Saving Habit of Employees at Samara University in Case of College of Science

Abdu Hailu Shibeshi, Getnet Mamo Habtie, Kassaye Getaneh Argie

Department of Statistics, College of Natural and Computational Science, Samara University, Afar, Ethiopia

Savings is one of the most decisive factors for successful economic and personal growth. People desire to save although they tend to postpone saving until they have some stability in their lives. The purpose of this study has been to assess saving habits and identify factors that influence the saving habits of employees at Samara University at the college of science. Of 156 all workers, 111 workers were selected from employees working at Samara University at the college of science. The sampling was based on stratified random sampling and then follows simple random sampling from each group. The analysis was done using binary logistic regression with SPSS version 25.0 statistical software. The results indicate that 64.9% of employees had no saving experience and 35.1% of the respondents have been involved in saving part of their income. The results obtained from the analysis of binary logistic regression indicate that educational level and extra income can significantly affect the saving habits of employees. Furthermore, age, sex, marital status, extra income, cost of expenditures, the habit of saving, method of saving, member of saving association plan to detect extra income and housing status are found to be important factors affecting the saving habits of employees.

Saving Habit, Employees, Binary Logistic Regression, Samara University

Rahman, N.I.A.; Lam, C.L.; Sulaiman, N.; Abdullah, N.A.H.; Nordin, F.; Ariffin, S.H.Z.; Yazid, M.D. PAX7, A Key for Myogenesis Modulation in Muscular Dystrophies through Multiple Signaling Pathways: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24, 13051. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241713051

Abdu Hailu Shibeshi, Getnet Mamo Habtie, Kassaye Getaneh Argie. (2022). Statistical Analysis of Financial Saving Habit of Employees at Samara University in Case of College of Science. International Journal of Statistical Distributions and Applications , 8 (3), 47-54. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijsd.20220803.12

Abdu Hailu Shibeshi; Getnet Mamo Habtie; Kassaye Getaneh Argie. Statistical Analysis of Financial Saving Habit of Employees at Samara University in Case of College of Science. Int. J. Stat. Distrib. Appl. 2022 , 8 (3), 47-54. doi: 10.11648/j.ijsd.20220803.12

Abdu Hailu Shibeshi, Getnet Mamo Habtie, Kassaye Getaneh Argie. Statistical Analysis of Financial Saving Habit of Employees at Samara University in Case of College of Science. Int J Stat Distrib Appl . 2022;8(3):47-54. doi: 10.11648/j.ijsd.20220803.12

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