Is Harvard Kennedy School Part Of Harvard University? Studying The Leader Forger

Is Harvard Kennedy School Part Of Harvard University

Many often question, “Is Harvard Kennedy School Part of Harvard University?” The intuitions share a name, so indeed, they have a relationship. 

The Harvard Kennedy School has made a lot of headlines owing to its success, and many attribute this to Harvard.

But what is HKS about, and what does it offer to make it stand out from other institutions? With an endowment of $1.7 billion, many expect a lot from the University, and this is the best place to get all the information on the topic. So, what is HKS all about? 

Is Harvard Kennedy School Part Of Harvard University? 

Yes, the John F Kennedy School was created in Harvard in 1936 and later adopted the name Harvard Kennedy School in honor of the late president. 

The School was started to improve leadership quality, which was all possible because of a $2 million donation from Harvard Alumni. The School is still a part of Harvard and shares many of its programs and prestige.

Getting To Know Harvard Kennedy School

When looking at the names of prestigious institutions with high success rates, HKS will be one of those institutions. We need to learn about this outstanding institution that has produced numerous public leaders and heads of state. 

Its official name is John F. Kennedy School Of Government, but most people know it as Havard Kennedy School. It is a sister school to Harvard University, focusing on teaching government and public policy, which is why it has produced so many leaders.

It was established in 1936 in honor of President John F. Kennedy, with Harvard University as its Parent institution. It has an academic staff of 250, with the current Dean being Douglas Elmendorf. 

Havard Kennedy School has public administration, public policy, and international development courses. It conducts extensive research in economics, government, politics, and international affairs.

HKS was endowed with 1.7 billion dollars as of 2021, and it is a member of APSIA, a global union of schools that offer leadership education in international matters. Their motto is, “Ask what you can do, ” reflecting their goal to train people to serve others.

The main campus for HKS is in Cambridge along John F. Kennedy Street. The main campus buildings are on the southwestern side of Harvard and overlook the Charles River. It is adjacent to John F. Kennedy Memorial Park and has undoubtedly made its mark worldwide.

HKS has produced many successful alums, including 18 heads of state, more than any other institution. It has made generals, politicians, business people, and other government officials from over 63,000 alumni.

Some notable examples of heads of state from HKS are Felipe Calderon, Abdiweli Gaas, Lee Hsien Loong, Juan Manuel Santos, Pierre Trudeau, Donald Tsang, and Jamil Mahuad Witt. HKS is an institution that has proven its worth and quality of education in the past. 

Havard Kennedy School has 14 centers, each specializing in different areas. These include the Carr Center for Human Rights, the Center for International Development, the Institute of Politics, and the Joint Center of Housing Studies.

Most centers give students opportunities to research numerous topics, and they can create projects on these topics. These projects are shared with the student body and are often used in government and public research.

The History Of Harvard Kennedy School

Havard Kennedy School has a long and exciting history that shows how it adopted its current belief and policy system. HKS was launched in 1936 as the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration through a donation of two million dollars from Lucius Littauer. 

This amount is roughly $43 million in today’s economy, and it was the largest donation made to the institution at the time.

The School’s shield was supposed to showcase its purpose for the nation, so it was designed to resemble the US shield. 

It was formed after the great depression and was supposed to help mold leaders that would allow the United States to get past these difficult times.

HKS got its first faculty members from Harvard’s economics and politics departments when it started admissions in 1937. The School was initially positioned in the Littauer Center, Harvard’s economics department today.

The first class was called the Littauer Fellows in honor of the donor who created the University. HKS started developing its current public policy degree in the 1960s, carving a path to the modern-day institution.

The School was renamed in 1966 after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated to honor him since he was an alumnus of the institution. 

The Harvard Institute of Politics was launched in the same year and Richard Neustadt was the founding director. 

The Institute of Politics has been hosted in the School since 1978, and it holds many programs, speeches, study groups, and programs for Harvard students. It also holds the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum in the Littauer Building at Harvard Kennedy School.

The School got its building and moved in October of 1978 to hold its programs while maintaining a connection to Harvard. It announced in 2007 that it would change its brand to Harvard Kennedy School but would maintain its official name.

This change was to help make its connection to Harvard more apparent and reduce confusion since many institutions had Kennedy in their titles. Both Caroline Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy supported the change.

Havard Kennedy School started a fundraising campaign to raise $500 million, which was supposed to help expand the School. 

The expansion was to add 91,000 square feet to the School, including study spaces, lounges, dining areas, classrooms, offices, kitchens, and meeting spaces.

The campaign was successful, and the expansion began in May of 2015 and took two years. The new campus was opened in December 2017, allowing HKS to admit more students and leave a more meaningful impact.

The more recent deans for the institution were David Ellwood and Douglas Elmendorf. David was dean between 2004 and 2015 and was previously an official in Clinton’s government in the Department of Health.

His successor, Elmendorf, was previously director of the Congressional Budget Office, and he is the current dean. He has had a successful term and still has a long way to go, so people have high expectations of him. 

Controversies Involving Havard Kennedy School 

For all the positive media attention that HKS has received since its founding, it has not missed out on controversies and scandals. Political climates shift, and the University has sometimes made choices that made it look bad in the public eye. 

Dean Elmendorf’s management tried to focus its education across all political sides, which brought much backlash to the University. The worst criticism came in October of 2017 when the School offered a fellowship to Chelsea Manning.

Chelsea Manning is an American whistle-blower who was court-marshaled in July 2013. She was an American soldier who violated the Espionage Act by leaking over 750,000 classified and sensitive diplomatic and military documents. 

She was imprisoned in 2010, but Obama commuted her sentence in 2017, much to the disappointment of many people. 

The fellowship was met with much backlash to the point where Mike Pompeo, the then CIA director, canceled a speech he was to give at HKS.

He also sent a letter to the School to condemn them for offering Chelsea the fellowship, and HKS canceled it two days after making the offer. HKS would get in trouble again in 2021 because of its climate centers.

An investigation by Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, a student group, found that most climate initiatives in the centers’ were funded by fossil fuel companies. This seemed suspicious since the centers were supposed to be working against the use of fossil fuels. 

The situation worsened because most centers tried to hide evidence of this association, and many people thought the school administration was involved.

In 2022, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy invited Kenneth Roth as the institution’s senior fellow, which would be problematic. 

Kenneth Roth was the previous executive director of the Human Rights Watch, which is a global human rights organization.

It was later discovered that Human Rights Watch had inaccurately investigated the Israel-Palestinian conflict and concluded that Israel committed “crimes of apartheid.” This inaccurate conclusion led to public backlash for Kenneth Roth and the Human Rights Watch.

The fellowship was condemned by faculty, the American Civil Liberties Union, and students, and eventually, Dead Elmendorf reversed the fellowship. Despite these few mishaps, Havard Kennedy School has maintained a good reputation.


Harvard Kennedy School is a Part of Harvard University, and they share many traditions, faculty, and resources. Both institutions are wildly successful with impressive records, and Harvard Kennedy has produced more heads of state than any other institution worldwide.

It has gotten this impressive track record by taking up the most intelligent and outstanding leaders to educate. 

It has many programs that guide and mold future leaders in business, the military, and government. It is one of the best ways to remember John F. Kennedy; his legacy will endure


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