Wilfred B. Shaw, former alumni secretary of the University of Michigan, in an article in the current Scribners finds that the college alumni of this country are wrongly criticized in showing interest only in football games. He lays the fault for this restriction of interest squarely upon the colleges themselves. In the past, athletics and endowment drives have been the only connections by which the colleges have attempted to keep in touch with their alumni. In the future, be predicts, the colleges will make a definite attempt to keep up academic relations with their graduates. giving them the opportunity to continue their college work, and to keep in touch with the educational world.
Lest this new movement sound far too idealistic to be of practical importance, it is of importance to note that the theory of alumni education has already been adopted in one form or another at several colleges in this country. and with the most gratifying results. Such contacts have taken the form of reading lists as at. Dartmouth, and alumni short term sessions as at Lafayette, and in every case the response by the alumni to such efforts on the part of the college has shown that alumni education is a field which is pregnant with possibilities, but which has been far too long neglected. To make such a scheme of adult education an assured success involves changing the view, that the college has fulfilled its purpose in the four brief years of academic life.
The experience of those colleges which have made a start in cultivating an academical relationship with their alumni has proved that this belief is quite false. A real concern for study and education can be reinstilled in those who have been cut off from such activities for years; and with it, a man's relationship to his university becomes something more than the sporadic interest of the usual alumnus.