"Public schools have never done, and can never be expected to do, the pioneering work in education", declared President Eliot in speaking yesterday morning at the inauguration of Dr. S. W. Stration as President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Symphony Hall. President Eliot gave his address of greeting on behalf of the founders of Technology, since he was one of the 11 original members of the faculty. He served as professor of Analytical Chemistry during the years 1865-1869.
It was in connection with his account of the founding of Technology that President Eliot emphasized the necessity for private initiative and support in the pioneering work of education. He traced the history of the early years of M. I. T. to show that the entire success of the then struggling institution was due to the thought and work of two private individuals--Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Rogers.
"Mr. Rogers", President Eliot continued, "had a distinct prophetic vision of the part which the new school of applied science was to play in American democracy. Mrs. Rogers, through her large field of acquaintances in Boston, was able to bring just the right people together to support the project."
School's History is Significant
President Eliot then recounted experiences in selecting the faculty, in securing a charter from the state legislature, and in getting the school started in its cramped quarters in the old Commercial Building on Summer Street. From this story of Technology's early days, he went on to explain, certain "inferences should be drawn in regard to American education. The example of this institution", he continued, "is a striking one. The idea of such a school originated in the mind of one man, and since that time the governing body of Technology has been composed of private citizens. This example teaches that all pioneering work in education must be done by private persons and private institutions."
The Reverend G. A. Gordon '81 opened the ceremonies with an invocation, and Mr. Wallace Goodrich gave three numbers on the organ during the course of the exercises. The first of the principal speeches was made by Mr. L. C. Meriam. President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, after which Dr. Stratton delivered his inaugural address.
In preparation for the exercise the Senior class of Technology marched as an escort for the new president from his home in Cambridge to Horticultural Hall, where the delegates from other colleges and members of the faculty were forming. On the stroke of 11 the procession started across Massachusetts Avenue to the front entrance of Symphony Hall. The guests, who numbered more than 200, then marched up the aisles to the stage. Since all were attired in academic dress, the procession made a striking spectacle, with the red, yellow, blue, and green hoods-contrasting brilliantly with the black caps and gowns. Against such a background there stood out in an even more startling manner the delegates from numerous foreign learned societies, whose gowns were bright red from head to foot. The entire assemblage rose to its feet and applauded for several minutes when Dr. Stratton and the speakers stepped onto the stage.