President Eliot is quietly celebrating his 85th birthday in his home in Cambridge today. As in other years, he will pass the day without any special program.
President Eliot has devoted almost all of his life to the interests of the University. He was its President for forty years, from 1869-1909. On May 19, 1909, he retired from public life, and has held the honorary office of President Emeritus since that time.
Few undergraduates realize how great President Eliot's contribution to the University has been. It was he who was responsible for the development of the College into the University, by bringing the Graduate Schools into closer connection with each other and with the College. He also advocated the granting of the degree of A.B. in three years to all students who should satisfactorily complete the required number of courses in that time. This was in order to encourage more men to attend the graduate schools.
Believes in Freedom as Educator.
The value of freedom as the great educator of man has always been one of President Eliot's beliefs. For this reason, he introduced the free elective system to allow every student to choose the subjects for which he felt a natural inclination. He realized that no work could be done happily and well which did not really interest the worker.