John Harvard – Summer, 1636

Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.

It’s a beautiful summer afternoon in 1636. I’m at the home of Puritan preacher John Harvard. I’ve been told he’s starting a very ambitious project.

JG: “Pastor Harvard, is it true? You’re starting a college?”

JH: “John, I’m donating my entire library to start a college devoted to the glory of God. The precept I want every student to learn is that the main end of life and study is to know God and Jesus Christ.”

In 1639, shortly after John’s death, Harvard College was founded with the intent to carry out his vision and values, but education today has drifted far from the core beliefs of our nation’s founders.

“After God had carried us safe to New-England, and wee had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, rear’d convenient places for Gods worship, and setled the Civill Government: One of the next things we longed for, and looked after was 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. And as we were thinking and consulting how to effect this great work, it pleased God to stir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard (a godly gentleman and a lover of learning; then living amongst us) to give one-half of his estate (it being in all about £1,700) towards the erecting of a Colledge, and all his library. After him, another gave £300; others after them cast in more; and the public hand of the State added the rest. The Colledge was by common consent appointed to be at Cambridge (a place very pleasant and accommodate), and is called (according to the name of the first founder) Harvard Colledge.” – New England’s First Fruits (the first publication to mention Harvard College), 1643

John Gillespie and his wife, Jan, are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; have fostered 381 teenagers; and have assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.

Leave a Reply