Harvard University Branches Out

by Vault Education Editors | August 07, 2009

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Harvard University lost about 25 percent of its endowment in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, leaving a $220 million budget deficit in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the university's biggest division. Massive layoffs, canceled classes and halted construction are some of the ways the university is cutting costs. But besides tuition, how is it making money these days? By diversifying.

The Harvard Trademark Program is buying up the copyrights to some common Harvard and not-really-so-Harvard terms and phrases. Although the program's original purpose is to protect the Harvard brand and is in charge of Harvard references in print, movies and TV stories. Now, the program seems to have moved beyond movies like Harvard Man and Stealing Harvard to owning something you might accidentally say on the street. "Ask what you can do," "Lessons learned" and "Hahvahd" are now all owned by the university. So watch what you say, or you might owe Harvard some cash.

And the university didn't stop there. This week, Harvard announced that it has licensed its name to a preppy clothing line. Says Fashionista, "We're not talking crimson sweatshirts stamped with the white Harvard brand, but khaki pants and dress coats, striped knits and plaid jackets to emulate the Harvard prep lifestyle." The line, Harvard Yard, hits stores in 2010.

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