Harvard Prize Book Program


Introduce talented young people to the opportunities available at Harvard, and recognize their scholastic and personal achievements through the Harvard Prize Book program.  Prize Books are presented annually in more than 1,000 high schools around the world to outstanding students in the next-to-graduating class who demonstrate excellence in scholarship and achievement in other nonacademic areas. The award is often given at the school’s graduation exercises, sometimes with appropriate remarks by a local alum. The Prize Book may also be awarded to outstanding high school teachers who inspire curiosity and excellence in their students.


To establish a Prize Book award, a Harvard Club/SIG or Club/SIG member need only contribute the cost of one book. Participating Clubs and SIGs should contact the local high school principal and guidance counselor to introduce the program and to arrange for a student to be selected by the high school to receive the award. Most Clubs and SIGs choose from the designated titles through the Harvard Coop, although Clubs and SIGs may choose other books not on this list.


The Prize Book options for 2024 are forthcoming! During 2023, we featured the following books with the following prices:

Around the World in 80 Books, by David Damrosch, is inspired by the hero of Jules Verne’s famous 1872 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Countering a pandemic’s restrictions on travel, the book explores how eighty exceptional literary works from around the globe have shaped our idea of the world. The book’s global exploration engenders broad intellectual appeal, and the inclusion of contemporary works would resonate with Prize Book readers while (re)introducing them to classics. Price $25.00

 The Harvard Book, edited by the late William Bentinck-Smith AB '36, is a historical collection of passages and quotations about Harvard dating from 1636 through 1981.  Contributing writers include John Updike, Theodore H. White, Erich Segal, David Halberstam, Barbara Ward, Jackson Bate, Charles Dickens, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas Wolfe, Cleveland Amory, Alistair Cooke, and Archibald MacLeish. Forty years on from its last update, The Harvard Book is rich in historical perspectives but is missing the dynamic and diverse voices of the last several decades of Harvard alumni and community members.  It is recommended that Clubs and SIGs select one of the other great options available as their Prize Book.  Price: $25.00       
Harvard A-Z, by John T. Bethell AB’54 et al., offers an alphabetical compendium of short, but substantial, essays about Harvard University.  The book contains more than two hundred entries written by three Harvard veterans who bring to the task more than 125 years of experience within the University. The entries range from essential facts to no less interesting ephemerafrom the Arnold Arboretum designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to the peculiar medical specimens of the Warren Museum; from Arts and Athletics to Towers and Tuition;  from the very real environs (Cambridge, Charles River, Quincy Street) to the Harvard of Hollywood and fiction. Price $24.00 PB Pic  
Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds, by Richard J. Light PhD ’69, offers concrete advice from his 10 years of interviews with Harvard seniors.  Professor Light answers fundamental questions: How do you choose classes wisely? What is the best way to study? Why do some professors inspire you while others leave you cold? How can you connect what you’re learning in the classroom with the rest of your life? Filled with practical advice, illuminated with stories of real students’ self-doubts, failures, discoveries, and hopes, the book is a handbook for academic and personal success. Price $20.00  


Shipping & Ordering
More information for Prize Book will be added in early 2024!


To learn more about the Prize Book program, contact the HAA Clubs and Shared Interest Groups Office at (800) 654-6494 or email clubs@harvard.edu.