STATISTICS AND OTHERWISE

Statistics, it has often been asserted, can be made to show anything. For instance, as the Alumni Bulletin of last week points out, less than eight percent of this year's awards at the Law School have gone to graduates of Harvard College, although these graduates form eighteen percent of the Law School's enrollment. In addition, all twelve of the higher awards went to men of other colleges.

On the other hand, in the same number of the Bulletin is a set of figures, equally interesting, which show that forty Harvard men are now presidents of American colleges. In the State of Maine every college has at its head a Harvard man. The list could be made more impressive by including graduates of the University who have been college presidents but have retired, and by adding the names of former members of the Harvard faculty now serving as executives of other colleges.

Coming, as they do, close together, these two sets of statistics give rise to all sorts of tempting, generalities. Is Harvard abandoning the Law School to the Philistine and sending forth its alumni to conquer the field of education? Or is the undergraduate section of the College going back to the days of the "nil admirari", when education meant refinement and polish and a carefully aurtured lack of interest in anything that meant applied study? Either conclusion can be derived from these facts.

But it is always dangerous to play with generalities. It is more within the bounds of moderation to regard the triumphs of the "alien" in the Law School as a temporary phase, rather than a fundamental weakness in the College as a nursery for lawyers in rompers. As for the college presidents, there is satisfaction enough in congratulating them and the University on their careers, without going on to lay claim to the heirship of every educational throne in America.