A simile is a figure of speech in which the subject is compared to another subject.
The overuse of a certain simile is annoying me lately. Case in point, saying that school X is a great academic institute is not enough anymore. However, if you claim: "this is the Harvard of...." then people instantly go: "AAAAAHHHH, must be a good school, Ivy-league like materials eh ?"
It is slowly becoming the most overused phrase that is coined upon a school aspiring to be recognized as a decent place for learning. A (not so) quick search gave me the following results for Harvard's simile(s). It may come in handy at your next cocktail party if the topic of attending a great school in Kazhakstan (hello Borat) ever comes up :). This is most definitely not a complete list so if you feel like I have overlooked some schools, feel free to add them in.
So here are the place who are known as Harvard "similes" as found on the web (What is plural form of simile anyway ? similae, simili ?) or who claim to be the Harvard of someplace ( I surely cannot tell you if they indeed are deserving of such "title")
Harvard of the North: McGill U. or Queen's U. To Canada's credit, they have shirts that say: Harvard= America's McGill. You got to love the Canadians sense of humor. :)
Harvard of the West: Stanford (although they hate that terminology).
Harvard of the South: The South is evidently suffering form Ivy League envy because no less that 10 schools have claimed that title. Of note, there are: Rice U. , U of Florida and Tulane U. Oh you knew I had to mention Tulane U. :)
Harvard of the Midwest: Truman State U. (Missouri) I am so glad Purdue U. did not throw its hat into the fray. Although there is a somewhat of a Purdue tie with Harvard here.
Harvard of Europe: INSEAD ( Go Frenchies :) ) or Karolinska U. (Sweden)
Harvard of the UK: Oxford or Cambridge. if one is Harvard, then the other one is Yale. Although both would claim (rightfully so) that they are much better than either Harvard or Yale. :)
Harvard of the East (Asia): Asian Institute of Management (Philippines)
Harvard of India: the Manipal Institute of Technology
Harvard of Haredin (Israel): Brisk U.
Black Harvard: Howard U. (DC) or Morehouse College (Georgia). Yep, in the US, there is such a thing as a Black University. It was born out of the segregation period and the schools just kept their past demographic. Extremely competitive schools, I might add.
Harvard of Africa: Univ. of Bergen, Uganda or the International School of Tanganyika in tanzania.
Harvard of Latin America: INCAE, Costa Rica.
I don't know of any Harvard of Madagascar, Zambia, Switzerland or Tunisia yet. One name that is already claimed is the "Harvard of Ivandry". No, not the "lycee Clairefontaine" where I could almost attend classes from my bedroom, but the "American School of Antananarivo". Yep, it's just like Harvard: strict admission policy (good luck if you are Malagasy), outrageous tution fees ($11,000) at least by Malagasy standard (especially for a high school diploma) and still nowhere to park your car :)
OK, I did not mean to make fun of this educational facility. After all, their goal was to attend to the need of US children in Madagascar. Still, $11,000 tution fees per student is got to be a slap in the face of the educational system back home and all the other schools around. How do you tell a teacher that the manner in which she teaches her subject is worth 1000 times less than the one in the class next door ?