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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

A QUESTION OF TASTE

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Not long ago Joie Ray, heralded by telegrams and press notices, came to the University intent upon breaking the world's record in the mile run. At that time he failed, but undeterred by the past he is returning to try again after the Yale baseball game tomorrow.

That the race will rouse considerable interest and that Ray is quite likely to establish a new record, if given a fast track and good weather conditions, can not be doubted. Clearly too the Athletic Association has acted magnanimously in inviting Ray to attempt the record once again; it will be repaid by the interest of the baseball game crowd and of those who purchase the special tickets. It is at least questionable, however; whether any athletic event in which the center of attraction is non-collegiate can be appropriate during Commencement week. The week is devoted to college life and college things; any event--no matter what may be its intrinsic worth--that does not ring true to this theme is inappropriate.

Ray is admittedly one of the greatest runners of all time. But attention is fastened this week not on excellence or perfection but on what Harvard can furnish--be it good or bad, athletic or scholastic. It is a tribute to Ray but hardly to Harvard that the University must depend on an outsider for one of the gala events of Commencement Week.

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