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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

The Report of the Dean of Harvard College.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The report of the Dean of Harvard college embodied in the President's Report, is very full and covers thoroughly all subjects connected with the college. The first subject treated is the attendance at the beginning of the last year especially as compared to the attendance at the beginning of this year. The following is a summary of the figures:

Number of students in attendance October 1888.

Seniors. 210

Juniors. 252

Sophomores. 264

Freshmen. 309

Whole number of undergraduates. 1035

Special students. 145

Total 1180

Number of students in attendance October 1889.

Seniors. 279

Juniors. 244

Sophomores. 282

Freshmen. 324

Whole number of undergraduates. 1129

Special students. 143

Total. 1272

Whole number of undergraduates October 1888. 1032

Whole number of undergraduates October 1889. 1129

Increase. 94

Whole number of students October 1888. 1180

Whole number of students October 1889. 1272

Increase. 92

The above table shows that while the whole number of students has increased, the gain is due only to undergraduates, as the number or special students has fallen off. Following this are tables showing the total number of men who took the entrance examinations, and the conditions under which they presented themselves. The following is a short summary of the results of the examinations for the past two years:

1888. 1889.

Candidates examined. 315 327

Candidates admitted. 301 305

Candidates admitted clear. 125 114

Candidates rejected. 14 22

After a few words about the public reading and lectures given by the instructors, the report gives a full list of the courses of instruction afforded and the number of students in each course. During the past year the whole number of courses or their equivalent, open to students, was 182 to which may be added 41/2 prescribed courses making a total of 1861/2. Aside from the prescribed courses the greatest number of students in any one course was 250 in Fine Arts 3, and the next greatest number was 232 in Political Economy 1. From this the number descends to one there being ten courses with only one students in each, all of them either advanced language courses or courses for special research.

The regulations made by the faculty for the government of the college received considerable attention during the past year, and were in some respects thoroughly revised. The changes made were brought about partly by the advice of the overseers, and partly because the faculty felt themselves in need of more stringent rules, by which to get the best possible work from the students. The changes have all been toward compelling the men to do better work, and for that purpose are more stringent as regards absence from college and neglect of college duties. The officers have all been empowered to deal more summarily with men who show continued neglect of their studies, and the regulations concerning probation have been made more explicit. One new departure of the past year was the placing of all freshmen under an advisor, thirteen members of the faculty having each twenty-five men under their charge. This plan had worked so well in the case of special students that the faculty decided to apply it to freshmen as affording them great advantages and enabling them to settle upon their college work, with the aid of a competent advisor, sooner than they could otherwise have done. In the past it has been found that the examinations for admission, coming in the week college opened, have interfered very much with the prompt beginning of college work, and to obviate this, the examinations have been set for the last of the week before that on which college is to open, thus giving the instructors two or three days to prepare for a prompt beginning of work the day college opens. The report closes with an explanation of a few changes which have been made as regards men taking more than the required number of courses and of some changes relative to degrees granted at graduation.

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