Over 650 members of the largest Freshman class in three centuries of Harvard history will register in Memorial Hall on June 25.
They will join 1800 returning undergraduates and 1200 special Summer School students, not to mention an approximate 1500 Army and Navy technical officers who are in Cambridge for training in physics and electronics.
They are entering at a time when the entire University is undergoing precedent-shattering changes to meet the exigencies of war, when new developments occur so fast that no one official can keep track of them.
Another 650 men of '46 are scheduled to report next September, but the way things are happening now it is impossible to tell whether that number will be halved or doubled. As the figures stand at press time, almost 1300 Yardlings are expected to have entered by fall, which is about 200 higher than the previous record of 1117 established by the Class of 1936.
The new class will probably follow preceding generations of students in distribution, with the bulk of the men coming from Massachusetts and New England. Around 100 transfers are expected, as well as a smaller number of dropped Freshmen. There will presumably again be Freshmen from all 48 states, and in the past a number of foreign countries have also been represented.
Yard Will Be Beehive
The Yard this summer will lack the usual atmosphere of powder-puff lethargy and will be even more crowded than it is during regular term-time. Transients from Smith, Vassar, and other girls' colleges, as well as school-teachers from everywhere, will make Harvard as near co-ed as it could possibly be without a revolution.
But the Yard itself will no longer be the traditional dwelling-place of wide-eyed first-year men, and the Union will no longer reverberate with the inane chatter of the Yardlings. Instead, men in uniform will eat at its tables, and the Freshmen will live and board in the Houses.
Even Harvard's education will be a speeded-up affair, and the old days of quiet bull-sessions over a glass of ale and frequent evenings spent in Boston have probably disappeared for the duration if not forever.
The first few weeks of exposure to Harvard, always bewildering in any year, will be complicated this summer because of the immediate deluge of work. Generally, it has been possible to take things easy for a while, but with classes coming five times a week instead of three, and 30 weeks reading compressed into 12, the problem of adjustment will be tremendously increased