THE McKAY BEQUEST AND APPLIED SCIENCE.
Perhaps because the Graduate School of Applied Science is so near to us that we cannot see it in proper perspective, we hear little about the McKay endowment which made possible the continuance of that branch of the University as a strictly graduate department. Mr. McKay's original gift of $500,000 on the expiration of certain annuities will as a conservative estimate accumulate to twelve million dollars. It is now rendering an annual income of about $200,000. Mr. McKay's purpose, as stated in his will, was to further a study of all the sciences useful to man, and it seems probable that the generosity of his gift will render it possible to carry out his proposal along these broad lines.
The Graduate School of Applied Science, the recipient of Mr. McKay's gift, has two main aims, the selection of students and the selection of teachers. Its object is to encourage the best students in order that the most able, on entering the school, shall encounter only men of their own calibre. For, as in every institution of learning, the character of the teaching depends as much on the ability of those who learn as on the excellence of those who teach. The second aim, made far more feasible by the growing McKay fund, is to accept as professors only men of real note. Harvard University was the first in America to take up applied science. It had the first professor of engineering. Today, beyond question, especially as exponents of the professional side of Applied Science, the staff is extraordinarily strong. The Engineering School, like the Law School and the Medical School, is almost universally regarded as standing extremely high.
The cumulative gift of Mr. McKay, in making permanent a school of intensive scientific study for mature students, and in giving the opportunity for a faculty composed only of men of the very highest ability, has helped to put one more branch of Harvard University on an unquestionably favorable footing with similar institutions all over the world.