At the Cross Roads

"There is coming a time when Williams College, having reached the parting of the ways, will have to choose between two principles of education; modern vocationalism or old-fashioned humanism. She cannot straddle both policies if she is to stand upright in character and individuality. Of course there is always the possibility of choosing the middle path; those who cherish a love for the golden mean will arise and proclaim its virtues vociferously.

"In deciding the educational policy of a college, however, the danger of devotion to a middle course is the danger of coming to possess an ill-defined, spotty character standing clearly for neither one thing nor another.

"The colleges of the country have become crammed to overflowing with earnest youths seeking "success" through the "sesame" of a college education. Now when some thousands of disillusioned youths are turned loose on the land, something is bound to happen. A great howl has arisen about the impracticability of a college education. So great was the howl that our educational authorities (ambiguous euphemism, saving us the embarrassment of distinguishing between faculties and trustees) began to make concessions to its demands. Courses in economics of a more highly specialized character were introduced; Greek and Latin were allowed to go by the boards as nonessentials; special, business schools sprang up; and there reigned the present state of uncertainty and confusion in our higher educational system. . . .

"The point is this: What the country needs, what Williams College needs, is a clarification of the purposes of a higher education. College training, as someone has aptly said, ought to teach a man not how to make a living but now to live. There must be a division of functions. It the man of today wants to know both how to live and to make a living, he must study both, and we doubt if there can ever be an institution that can teach both. Let our colleges quit this half-hearted attempt at supplying the popular demand for practicality. The humanities in learning have their distinctive values let the business school teach the art of making fifty thousand a year.

"Would that Williams College would let "business success" go to the devil and revert to the idea of Mark Hopkins, of being a Mother of Men." Williams Record.