The university is helped by the success of its graduates in their respective callings. Some years ago an eminent lawyer from the West, not himself a college-bred man, and having no affiliations with Harvard, placed his son in the university. When I asked him why he had selected Harvard as the place for his son's education, he replied: "In my practice I have observed that a large number of men, whose principles I respected, whose manners I liked, and whose idea of professional honor and public duty commended themselves to me, were graduates of Harvard."
A young man who had independently prepared himself in sixteen months, and who came to Cambridge with a capital of $10 and passed the examinations, told me the reason he selected Harvard out of the four hundred colleges of the country: "I got by accident an old dictionary of American biography and read it through, and it seemed to me that most famous Americans had been educated at Harvard."
The Harvard Club of New York has increased the proportion of students from that city nearly six-fold since 1866. The large and zealous Harvard Club of San Francisco has greatly contributed to produce the increased resort of young Californians to Cambridge. I am sure that this club can influence young men from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin to go to Harvard. There are hundreds of colleges scattered over the country in which much faithful work is done, but which have not the resources in books, collections, and money which Harvard has accumulated in her 244 years of continuous life. For advanced teaching in a wide range of subjects a university must have a large library, great collections, and numerous teachers. The small colleges cannot be expected to possess these advantages, yet thousands of desirable students do excellent work in them, up to the limit of such college's power. Harvard makes this year a new offer to the graduates of other colleges - namely: access by competition, to scholarships.
Finally, gentlemen, I am not urging you to an impossible work, but to one already well begun. The resort to Harvard grows more and more national, in spite of the extraordinary multiplication of colleges. It is today less of a Massachusetts university, more of a Middle State and Western State university, than it ever was before. This excellent result your zeal will further. That not only Harvard, but several other strong universities East and West, North and South, should have a truly national representation of the people of the United States, is an object which every patriot must earnestly desire, for in the common character of large bodies of students drawn from the whole country will be found a strong bond of national unity. [Applause.