IN his annual report before the Board of Overseers President Eliot discusses very thoroughly the advantages of scholarships to the College, the recipients, and the public, and takes his usual ground in favor of the present system. He next speaks of the healthfulness of the College during the past year.
"Four deaths occurred in 1877-78 among the students resident in Cambridge, - three in the College and one in the Scientific School. Two died of brain disease, one of pneumonia, and one of anaemia. In no one of the cases could the fatal disease be attributed to any exposure or over-exertion incident to student life or to residence in Cambridge. The general healthiness of the University dormitories is remarkable. There has been no epidemic therein of fever, diphtheria, dysentery, or any zymotic disease for many years, and malaria (except in imported cases) is unknown."
In regard to the new method of examination the President say; that the new method is in all respects better than the old, and the latter will not be maintained after 1880.
The number of candidates at the preliminary examination last year was slightly smaller than in 1877 or 1876.
"This diminution may have been caused by the dropping, in 1878, of the September preliminary examination, or by the new requisition of the teacher's certificate that the candidate is prepared in the subjects he presents; or it may be that the hardness of the times is diminishing the number of boys who are preparing for the college."
The President refers to the privilege of voluntary attendance, and expresses the opinion that it will soon be extended to all classes.
He next speaks of the success of the Dining Hall.
"The debt of the Dining Hall Association was, on the 31st of August last, $41,900.91, - a serious burden, which it will require many years to remove. The prevailing high price of board at private houses is mainly due to the greater demands made by students who are accustomed to live luxuriously at home."
Of the University debt he says:-
"The deficit of $6.374.65 in the combined accounts called University, College, and Library, is to be regretted, but it is ascribed to certain exceptional expenditures of the year 1877-78. Thus, more than $3,000 were spent in that year upon improvements in Boylston Hall and the Mineral Museum, and more than $3,000 were also paid for furniture and fitting in the Library during the same year."
In conclusion he says of the College proper:-
"The growth, which was rapid from 1866 to 1876, has been arrested for two years past. In short, the University, like all institutions of education, religion, or charity, feels the pressure of the times. At present, however, the Corporation sees no good reason to fear that it will become necessary to reduce salaries, diminish the number of teachers, or to impair to any appreciable degree the activity and usefulness of the institution."