South, Mid-West, West Coast Distort University

Envy of Harvard's Prestige Leads To Many Public Misconceptions

Hanuahvuhd, ch?" chuckled the corner druggist, and the youth in the grey flannels and button-down shirt winced visably. "Too good for the old state U?"

Behind such conversation as this slice of banter recorded in a Pierre, South Dakota, pharmacy lies the reason that Harvard is today the most maligned and misconstrued institution of higher learning in the nation.

The World Almanac lists 864 of these "state U's" and other colleges in the United States. When University of California president Robert Gordon Sproul recently assorted that. "American faculties overwhelmingly agree that Harvard is the first institution of the land," he simply poured salt in the wounds of the student had alumni, subway as well as actual, of every last one of the other 863.

Yet, to be found is the backer of any school from Dropsie, with a total enrollment of 27, to California, with over 20,000 students-who does not consider his own favorite, on of the top ten institutions in America. and who will not fight at the drop of an unfluting adjective.

Breeding Pays Off

Not long ago, a young at the University of Arizona chin and proclaimed that Arizona of the toughest colleges in the University. "Why, do you know they have the best animal husbandry major world down there," she announced .

Trouble national student supporters of schools all attempt to fit choice into the top ten. This is which the invention of the stretch has failed to alleviate.

Just as naturally, transtration of this mathematical impossibility cads to concerted resentment of Harvard, since men in the know, although they should know better, consists the Cambridge university number. This not only removes the other 863 from a chance at main billing, but also forces them into nine intended, of then ranks.

The outcome of these prevalent anti-Harvard sentiments is the development of popular and unfavorable misconceptions of the University to salve the wounded pride of the ever-loyal matriculant, past, present, and future.

Every June, students in Cambridge, Massachusetts, disband and, returning to native pastures for the summer vacation, are fronted by the most unusual and diverse of their university in the minds of the town folks.

Distance Helps Fallacies

If the individual scholar's thin a 300-mile radins of Boston, toward Harvard which he meets almost entirely upon the particular and economic environment of his iding so close to the University of its activities to of a general misconception.

But once the Harvard the Appalachian Mountains -Dixon Line to reach his domicile he must also don his armor to deferent fellow students from popular and united sparagement.

A recent survey of Harvard students from every state and every sizeable city in the South, Mid-West, and Far West proves, moreover, that, in spite of a good deal of overlapping, various misconceptions may be classified quite successfully along the above geographic lines. The prime mode of belittling the Harvard man links itself with such rare consistency to the general area of the nation that it cannot be overlooked.

South Sees Reds

Most Southerner consider Harvard a hotbed of dangerous radical thought. Some would go so far as to say that when a Southern gentleman allows his young'uns to go to Cambridge, it's the South's gift to Joe Stalin. Crimson, to them, is not merely a school color.

While the "School for Communism" theme dominates their interpretation of the University, Southerners also firmly believe that every student is backed by a huge parental fortune. The combination of these two ideas then leads directly to the supposition that Harvard men are either "crack-pots" or misled idealists. What sensible man with money would want anything but capitalism?

From Natchez to Mobile, from Memphis to St. Joe, and even into Texas "People think Harvard is as red as the bricks it is built on" - as one Texan phrases it. "Before I left home, my daddy warned me to look out for those Reds," adds a student from Athens, Georgia.

Virginia Shares Wealth

At the Virginia-Harvard football game in Charlottesville this fall, two Virginia students were overheard discussing a nearby Harvard man. "He doesn't look like a communist at all," said one, "except for his share-the - wealth policy toward our whiskey and women-folk."

More united in its opinion than any other section of the country, the Mid-West first, last, and always looks upon the Cambridge student as a wealthy, superficial aesthete, effeminate to the point of perversion in the lower circles of intellect.

When a native son leaves for Harvard, the folks back home are in constant fear that he will return with the above characteristics plus the additional herrer of a proper Bostonian accent. Of course, he never does adopt any of these features for he knows it would mean complete social ostracism.

No matter how hard the Mid-Western student works, he finds it difficult to overcome this fallacy concerning his fellow scholars.

One Minnesota student, hitch-hiking home last summer, was picked up by a salesman from Iowa.

"Harvard, huh?" said the salesman. "Sure got a lot of fruits out there."

It's an Uphill Fight

For 250 miles the student explained why the driver was wrong and the salesman nodded at polite intervals. Five hours later, the salesman let the student out and drove off with a wave of the hand and a "Say hello to those fruits for me."

In contrast to the South's convictions, Mid-Westerners consider all Harvard men rock-ribbed reactionaries. Tied in with this political conception is the belief that the average Cambridge Scholar is the epitome of the social snob. One student from Indian discovered he had not been invited to several parties at the state university simply because beer was to be the beverage of the day. Harvard men, the local boys felt, would quaff nothing but the more expensive and refined scotch.

Beyond the Rockies Harvard is a "brain factory," only to the equalled by the University of Chicago. Hybe word "factory", West Coast residents indieste to the production of great intellect, write to a single thought to the development of than able to get along in the world.

Groton, the Incuberer

"The average Far thinks that Harvard men come from other Boston or Long Island, by way of Greton," says a student from California.

"They all think we to go all the way across the continue for an education when there are so many colleges on the Coast," adds another from .

Although each section to differ on the specific means of , the West Coast would agree with South and Mid-West that Harvard man, but you ."

Despite all those , the true, underlying attitude American people toward Harvard is the statement of a Milwaukee matron the parents of a local boy studying at Harvard.

"I never thought your son Peter would make much of himself. And now look at him, a junior at Harvard."