ADVOCATES AUDITORIUM BUILDING AS WAR MEMORIAL
Professor Winter Points to Lack of Proper Facilities for University and Public Gatherings--Theatre Would Be Feature.
The suggestion by the CRIMSON that the memorial to Harvard soldiers take the form of a great auditorium building seems to me a very happy one. To the request that I offer some thoughts concerning this idea, I am glad to respond. The need of a place for public or great University gatherings has been of late years, so keenly felt as to be a problem. The Stadium is doubtless a fitting place for a part of the Class Day exercises but for Commencement it is in every way unsuited. No other place is at present adequate. So great has been the exclusion from recent Commencements that few know what the exercises consist of. Parents, graduates and undergraduates might be brought closer together in academic feeling by the unifying effect of great assemblages representing all branches of a great University. Such gatherings should be possible at any time in the year. Men at times visit the University whom all wish to see and hear. Such great gatherings are inspiring to greater work. Shared in by young men they become memories of lasting effect. They are the influences of great educational value. If, then, a memorial is to be created, such a one might be not only dignified, appropriate, and beautiful, but very definitely and continuously useful.
Theatre Could Form Part of Building.
It has been said in a discussion of such a building from an architectural point of view, that a part of it might be arranged as a theatre, for the dramatic activities of the University. This feature of the question will doubtless be discussed by those primarily interested. It would seem fitting also that attention be called to the needs of the allied activity that is of very extensive student interest. Practice in public speaking, interest in oral English,--so called,--instruction in speech with a worthy technical proficiency, an approach to a scientific study of the principles involved in masterful speaking, are receiving today, in many universities and colleges a consideration which looks towards the placing of this branch of study on a plane with others of the humanities. That a building dedicated to the memory of our soldiers, to be used as a place for public gatherings should be in part devoted to the training of men in the art of speaking properly seems perhaps very natural. The part that the human voice has played in this great war appears very striking at a moment's thought. The drama brought cheer and esprit to men in the camps and in the field. Public speech was largely the means by which patriotism was aroused, and Liberty Loans were effected. In legislatures, in general assembly places, in the theatres, on the streets, and in the camps, the country over, spirit was aroused and business was done through the medium of public speech. Speech served largely toward the making, the training and the material support of our armies. It would not seem unfitting therefore that this powerful agency in this world work should be promoted in the future by an adequate provision for the work of instruction and practice at a university which ought to be among the leaders in this as in other branches of instruction. For fifteen years past, there have been from four hundred to five hundred students, in the University at large, receiving regular instruction in public speaking. Suitable rooms have been greatly needed; one large auditorium and several small practice-rooms--a laboratory--centrally located, removed from noisy streets, and suitably fitted. All the interests wherein speech is practised, drama, public speaking, and debating, student clubs for speaking, and acting--could have a home and a work shop for carrying on regular instruction, coaching, and practice. Thus a need would be met which has been sorely felt for many years, and one that is worthy of thought on the part of those who may consider a memorial building.
If, however, such a practical use as has been indicated could not be provided for, the suggestion of the great hall for large assemblages on ceremonial and other occasions could hardly be bettered. It may well be hoped that the CRIMSON will find quick and numerous responses to their admirable proposal.