Susan and Cory '90 Thabit Lettersweater Program
One of the oldest and greatest traditions in college athletics is the Harvard Varsity Club awarding a lettersweater to each Harvard athlete who earns a Major H in any of Harvard’s 42 varsity programs. Over time, most other colleges followed our lead and now have similar traditions, but Harvard’s is unique due to its history and the quality of the sweater itself. The Harvard Varsity Club has an exclusive partnership with Polo Ralph Lauren, so you can be assured that no other athlete in the country has a lettersweater made of the highest quality merino wool. We like to think of it as just one more reason to be proud of your athletic accomplishments at Harvard and your association with the Harvard Varsity Club, 'Your Team for Life'!
The tradition of the Harvard lettersweater dates back to the early 1880s when crew adopted a white sweater with a crimson “H” as their team uniform. As football, baseball, and track began to compete on an intercollegiate level during the 1880s, there became a need for official Harvard athletic attire. Accordingly, in 1896, the Athletic Committee that oversaw undergraduate sports met to discuss the options for outfitting Harvard’s athletes. After deliberation, the Committee decided to prescribe each team a sweater that used a unique color scheme of crimson, black, and white.
Unique lettersweaters for each sport remained until 1957 when the number of varsity sports (10) and minor h colors was beginning to outnumber the possible permutations of colors in the lettersweaters. After receiving a recommendation from the Undergraduate Athletic Council, the Faculty Committee on Athletic Sports agreed to standardize the lettersweaters for all major sports. The hockey color combination was chosen, and the classic black sweater with a crimson “H” bordered in white became the official lettersweater for all Harvard Major H recipients.
Harvard Varsity Club History
The Harvard Varsity Club (HVC) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which supports a vibrant community of over 30,000 current and alumni Harvard student-athletes, parents, and friends. Since 1886 we have operated under the mission of preserving the traditions, fostering the ideals, and advancing the interests of Harvard Athletics. We do this by sponsoring a Career Services program for current and alumni student-athletes, bringing our community together through events such as the Senior Letterwinners' Dinner, annual Golf Tournament, and All-Sport Receptions across the country, celebrating Harvard Athletics’ finest with induction into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame, providing fundraising, stewardship, volunteer and event management, and communications support for Harvard’s Friends groups, and carrying on one of the greatest traditions in college athletics with the Susan and Cory ’90 Thabit Varsity Lettersweater Program.