The annual reports of the president and treasurer of Harvard College have reached this office, and a careful perusal of them reveals much interesting information. The first part of President Eliot's report describes the manner of entering college by the new method and the care taken by the college to introduce into the preparatory schools a study useful for training in observation and inductive reasoning. Requirements in elementary and advanced physics and advanced chemistry are now being tried with fair success.
President Eliot reports that the religious interest among the students has undoubtedly increased with the abandonment of prescribed attendance at chapel, and the serious-minded students have now the wholesome feeling that they are themselves partly responsible for maintaining and enlarging religious influences at the University.
Last May Prof. G. H. Palmer obtained reports of their expenses while in college from 219 members of the senior class. It clearly appears from these reports that the ordinary college expenses have not increased during the past ten years, and that all the advantages of college life, physical and social, and intellectual, can certainly be had for not more than $800 a year, and that $500 will cover all absolutely necessary expenses. While the expenses have not increased, the resources of the University for aiding poor students have increased greatly.
The table which exhibits the choice of studies made by freshmen, for four years beginning with 1884-85, indicates roughly that Greek is losing a little ground, that Latin and French are holding their own, and that German, history, mathematics and the sciences are gaining ground. The graduate department has been growing rapidly and increase in the amount of tuition fees is our evidence of its solid growth. In 1872-73 the amount received from tuition fees of graduates was $493-34, while in 1886-87 the amount was $6238.33.
The proposal of the medical faculty to the Academic Council, that the first year studies of the Medical School be counted, under certain conditions, for the degree of A. B.- a proposal in which the law faculty concurred-had for its object the shortening of the college course by one year for students who should pursue their professional studies to the full limit in the Harvard schools. This proposal was discussed at the December meeting of the council in 1886, and the whole subject is still under advisement.
The Divinity School has obtained a new handsome and substantial library building during the year, and the school has had a prosperous year.
During the last year the Law School has been very prosperous. The admission examination tends to keep uneducated persons out of the school and admits to the regular course every year a few men without collegiate training, among whom are sometimes found very successful students.
The Medical School is completely protected by its admission examination against uneducated students; because the faculty does not admit special students, except in peculiar cases. Between twenty and thirty persons are often admitted to the Medical School in June through the examinations, and as many more in September.
The Dental School has a debt of $6,601.43, but is gaining slowly. The school has been conducted in a spirit thoroughly creditable to the University, and numbers among its graduates some of the leading young dentists of Boston.
The Dean of the Lawrence Scientific School expresses a preference for the plan of concentrating the resources and work of the school on the one subject of engineering.
The report of the Librarian is full of interesting evidences of the growth of the library.
The Chemical and Physical Laboratories have been very busy during the past year, both in teaching science and in advancing scientific knowledge. The Observatory is now sufficiently endowed to make its future secure as a permanent establishment for astronomical research. The one need of the observatory is a fire-proof building to contain the valuable records of unpublished observations and records.
The Museum of Comparative Zoology has been active in three branches during the past year-first, in providing rooms and materials for the elementary and advanced instruction in natural history; secondly, in furnishing specialists with material for their researches; and, thirdly, in maintaining and improving public exhibition rooms.
A great variety of athletic sports flourish at the University and are pursued with enthusiasm. President Eliot believes that the best way to raise the standard of the athletic contests is to reduce the number of competitions.
The scale of college salaries has not changed since 1869, although the class of teachers called instructors have been paid at a higher rate within recent years than they were formerly. The year 1886-87 will be memorable for the successful celebration in November, 1886, of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Harvard College. It will also be remembered as the first year in which the University received gifts to the amount of more than a million of dollars.