fbpx History | Harvard Kennedy School

A new kind of institution

The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University was established in 1936. At the time, the United States was recovering from the Great Depression, and the government was grappling with historic domestic and international challenges. Seeing a need for improved, professionalized public service, Harvard alumnus Lucius N. Littauer funded the Graduate School of Public Administration at Harvard with an unprecedented $2 million gift. At the time, it was the largest single gift from an individual donor given to a university.

Since then, HKS has stayed faithful to its mission to improve public policy and leadership so people can live in safer, freer, more just, and more prosperous societies.

Now more than ever

Our work to advance the common good has never been more important. In the United States and around the world, many people have lost confidence in their leaders and their governments because of problems in politics, economics, security, and other aspects of our societies. To preserve the gains of the postwar order and enable further improvements in the lives of all people, the passion and skills of the Kennedy School community can make a crucial difference.

Each week, host Thoko Moyo speaks with leading experts in public policy, media, and international affairs about their experiences confronting the world's most pressing public problems.