"Get that breadth of knowledge which you will never again have a chance to acquire," was the advice given to 500 members of the University by President E. M. Hopkins of Dartmouth in the Living Room of the Union last night. He was speaking on the subject of "The Relation of a Man's College Education to His Life Work."
Condemns Vocational Training
"The man who concentrates on the things farthest removed from his contemplated business or profession will make the most of his college career", said Professor Hopkins. Later in his speech he condemned the man who attended college to increase his earning capacity, saying, I have no sympathy with the idea that you will be able to earn more money through going to college."
Colleges Should Teach Service
President Hopkins emphasized the idea that the purpose of college education is to inculate the principle of service in young people, and to give them the habit of purposeful thought. "Many students in college have never had the experience of sitting down and thinking until a result is achieved", he said, prefacing this remark with a statement that some students might consider college the best practice in the world for taking life easily.
Fundamentalism and Bolshevism were characterized as attempts on the part of lazy-minded people to avoid hard thinking and find an easy way out of the modern problems in religion and economics.
The speaker said that the scientific method was just as applicable to the social as to the natural sciences and that in applying this principle the college should give young men open minds with the habit of independent investigation of religious and political problems. "Is the college going to produce the attitude which shall make us humble in the presence of new facts and make us weigh them carefully?" he asked.
"The world is waiting for leaders as never before", President Hopkins said, "not a swashbuckling hero on horseback, but a man of quiet influence and of thoroughly grounded intellectual capacities." He attacked the idea that civilization is slowly disintegrating and in this connection made the statement that "There are enough men in this room tonight to save civilization if they are properly qualified for the task."
This statement contrasted strongly with a statement in the early part of the address to the effect that the average college man nowadays is not of unusual attainments or capacity. President Hopkins said that there are 602,000 men in the colleges of the United States today, a number which is 70 percent of the total number of men graduated from American colleges since their beginning. To this condition he attributed the fact that college men are no longer acknowledged leaders in their communities merely because of their college education.
"Conditions have changed more in the past ten years than in any other such period since the birth of Christ," he said, "and each change brings about closer contact with our fellow men at the other ends of the earth." He stated that on this account there is a greater need for sympathy among peoples, which might be founded on the broadening type of education.
"The world is changing so rapidly", President Hopkins said, "that we cannot adhere to any rigid thought or fixed system of belief." The modern period was called a period of greater intolerance than any period of the past.
Dean C. N. Greenough '98 introduced the speaker and announced from the platform that men wishing conferences with representative business or professional men should consult with him or with Assistant Dean Delmar Leighton '19 in University Hall. President Hopkins was speaking under the auspices of the Committee on the Choice of Vocations, of which Dean Greenough is chairman