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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

GRADUATE ORGANIZATION.

An Association to be Formed to Further Athletic Interests.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

For the past three weeks a number of prominent graduates, including wellknown men from New York and New England have been earnestly engaged in an undertaking which bids fair to result in one of the most important steps in advance for Harvard athletics which has been made in years. It is proposed to form a strongly organized Graduate Athletic Association. The object of the association will be to gather into an authoritative, active body, the full strength of graduate experience and energy, to give assistance and advice to the undergraduates. Its function, however, will be purely that of an advisory body to act in unison with the coaches and captains.

The chief features of the plan of organization are as follows: The general membership will be made as large as possible, and it is hoped to include a large majority of graduates from every part of the country. The practical work will be done by an executive committee which will be representative of all sections, this committee will be elected at an annual meeting, and members of the association who live in distant localities may vote by postal ballot.

Circulars are now being sent to all living Bachelors of Arts outlining the purposes of the plan and calling a meeting for organization which will be held in Sanders Theatre, Jan. 26.

At that meeting a constitution will be proposed, and it is hoped that the association can be put on a practical working basis at once. Copies of this constitution, which has already been drafted, will soon be forwarded to the secretaries of all Harvard clubs, and they can also be obtained upon application to any member of the committee which is sending out the circular letter.

The names which appear below are sufficient evidence of the strong backing which the project has received and it may be said in addition that two well attended meetings held in New York have endorsed it heartily.

Suggestions of any kind will be gladly received by the committee who have the matter in charge, and they will be especially pleased to have names sent to them of men who are well fitted to serve on the executive committee.

The circular letter follows:

BOSTON, MASS., January 4th, 1898.

On Saturday, December 11, 1897, some sixty representative Harvard graduates from New York, Boston and vicinity met to consider how the past members of the University could best serve its athletic interests. In the course of a very frank discussion of the subject, a letter signed by James J. Storrow '85, Charles F. Adams, 2nd, '88, Thomas N. Perkins '91, Louis A. Frothingham '93, and Bertram G. Waters '94, was read, in which an association of all Harvard graduates interested in athletics was proposed. We quote from this letter:

"We think that such an association would have a strong influence in crystallizing the opinions of the graduates on matters of athletic interest;

"That the executive committee of the association would be a well-informed body, to whom all graduates could apply for information, and that in this way, ill-considered criticism, with its discouraging effect on teams and coaches, would be much lessened;

"That such an association would be an efficient body for the raising of money for such matters as improvements on Soldiers Field;

"And that such an association, by influencing the undergraduates, and in turn being influenced by the undergraduates, would tend to create a unity of opinion and action which at present is lacking."

The suggestion met with unanimous approval, and the undersigned were appointed a committee upon organization. We have considered the project with care, and are satisfied that the association is needed and can be made effective We are assured of the hearty sympathy of all graduates whom we have been able to consult. We ask for your cooperation.

A meeting for organization will be held at Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, on Wednesday, the 26th day of January, at 8 o'clock p. m. All persons who have been connected as students with any department of the University are invited. We hope that you will be able to testify by your presence to your interest in Harvard athletics. As it will be impossible for us to notify every one, we ask you to extend this invitation to others.

By the constitution, which we shall submit for consideration at this meeting, the management of the association is vested in an executive committee of twenty-four members, to be chosen immediately by ballot. Provision is made for balloting by mail at subsequent elections. It is not proposed that this executive committee shall interfere with the managers of teams, dictate the choice of coaches, or attempt in any way to control the undergraduates, nor will it permit the association to become arrayed against either the University authorities, the Athletic Committee, or against any body or individual interested in Harvard Athletics. It will, however, seek to establish intimate relations with all, in full confidence that they are ready and eager to secure such support and counsel as a strong, representative graduate-committee can give.

Graduates have long deplored the lack of a permanent policy in Harvard athletics, but have failed to realize that this was largely due to the lack of a permanent policy upon their own part. The proposed association will tend to remedy this. Its permanent secretary will be ready at all times to furnish to members accurate information and to receive suggestions and information from them. The executive committee will be in position to take advantage of such suggestions and information. It will be in touch with graduates and undergraduates, coaches and players, and its familiarity with past experience and present necessities will make it an effective agency in bringing about the unity of effort now lacking.

There is special cause for hope at present. The attitude of the University authorities has become less disheartening, and we believe that the cooperation of our association will be welcomed. The proposed plan will provide every member with the opportunity for such grade of activity as he may select. He may aim to serve on the Executive Committee; he may keep up a correspondence with the Secretary of the Association and be confident that his ideas will reach the proper authorities; or he can content himself with a yearly subscription and a vote.

The support of a large number of graduates is essential to success. To this end we have planned to make the yearly dues small-two dollars-and to omit the usual initiation fee. We urge you to signify your willingness to join the proposed Association by signing the card enclosed and mailing it at once to Edgar N. Wrightington, 1009 Tremont Building, Boston.

Very truly yours,

AMORY G. HODGES '74,

A. C. TOWER '77,

FREDERICK W. THAYER '78,

FREDERICK W. SMITH '79,

EDWARD D. BRANDEGEE '81,

ROLAND W. BOYDEN '85,

AUGUSTUS P. GARDNER '86,

CHARLES F. ADAMS, 2D, '88,

EDWARD C. STORROW '89,

EDGAR N. WRIGHTINGTON '97,

Committee upon organization.

Suggestions of names for the proposed Executive Committee will be gladly received.

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