It is sometimes hinted that Harvard is losing its national character and is gradually having its influence localized to New England. But if this be the case the statistics of this year's Freshman class afford no indication. The 900 students who this autumn came to Harvard for the first time represented no fewer than 43 states of the Union besides a half-dozen foreign countries. Young men who come from New England homes still form the biggest single factor in the entering class, but they do not constitute a substantial majority. This year the New Englanders numbered only 51 percent of the whole. Yet boys of New England residence are more numerous in the undergraduate body at Harvard than in the graduate and professional schools.
The appeal which Harvard continues to make in every part of the country is all the more surprising when one considers the competition of the numerous state universities in which tuition is practically free. A decade or two ago these were not so well equipped as they are today and for this reason many parents throughout the western and southern states thought it best to send their boys to one or other of the older institutions in the East. But the difference in equipment and in scholastic standards is no longer very marked; yet the endowed institutions along the Atlantic seaboard, Harvard in particular, continue to draw from these western and southern areas just as many recruits as ever.
Age and traditions, in the case of an institution of learning, are great assets. A great and loyal body of alumni scattered throughout the length and breadth of the land helps to explain the wide scope of Harvard's appeal. At any rate a freshman class recruited from 43 states ought to prove a pretty fair melting-pot of broad Americanism. --Boston Herald.