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American universities have all too frequently been likened to grist-mills, grinding out a mediocre product of intelligentia. Certainly the ideal university is not merely a large-scale vendor of knowledge, and it is perhaps with apprehension of this tendency in American education that President Butler of Columbia has taken the occasion of the inaugural exercises at Washington University to define the mission of the modern University. As important as the task of advancing learning, he believes, is that of offering a "reconciliation of the conflicting movements of nationalism and internationalism."
In a measure, American universities have attempted to attain this end. Rhodes scholarships have facilitated an exchange of students with the great English universities; and special students are not rare. Exchange lecturers, who like Professor Feuillerat come to give special courses, help to dispel the prejudices of hidebound nationals. With the increasing frequency of-international debates and athletic meets, it is clear that all attempts to foster an international breadth of view do not emanate from college administrative offices, yet it is equally evident that there is no sharp realization of any such ideal by student bodies.
But it is not quite true to say that "the unhappy and conflicting diversity of religious beliefs, and the unhappy and conflicting diversity of social and political theories, find their reconciliation and their unity in the university". Such a statement presupposes that college provincialism and prejudice have been swept away by the abolition of Freshman caps. Yet President Butler's admission that "the University . . . is as yet only partially conscious of its place in civilization and of its mission" should spur it to a realization of its ideals. A constant contemplation of abstract virtues enabled medieval ascetics to work miracles, and that method should be effective today. The more frequently leader like President Butler set forth an ideal of liberal university education, the sooner will it be accepted and attained.
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