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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

The Opening of Clark University.


The opening exercises of Clark university took place Wednesday in the presence of fifteen hundred people in the main university building. General Devens began with a brief address of introduction and welcome; after a prayer, Colonel Washburn read a paper prepared by the founder, in which he said that although they had not the age of other universities, they had the privilege of using the experience of many centuries, and they proposed higher and better achievements than had yet been attempted. To the present department they intended to add others from time to time, until the full scope of the university should be accomplished, and to give advantages principally to those who wish to engage in scientific research.

President G. Stanley Hall then read his inaugural address, in the course of which he said that, as business is absorbing more of the talent and energy of the world, so science is pervading literature, philosophy, and every branch of culture. The university should be strong where science is highly developed and should pay less attention to those departments of knowledge which have not reached the scientific stage. Our characteristic word should be concentration; we have selected a group of five departments and shall focus all our means and care to make these the best possible. The more advanced our standard the fewer will be the students and the more expensive the apparatus; at present the funds allow us to receive two hundred and fifty men, and probably the amount spent on each will be without parallel.

President Hall was followed by Senator Hoar, who made an able and scholarly address. The last speaker was the Rev. Edward Everett Hale and the exercises were closed with a benediction by the Rev. Daniel Merriman.

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