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Harvard University is such a composite thing, so integral in each of its component parts, that it is generally defined in terms of entities whose prominence shuts off the view in other directions. To the undergraduate, Harvard is Harvard College; the other departments of the University exist for him as places where the residents have nothing in common with him but a search for knowledge which is so much more intense than his own that even it is somewhat foreign.
President Lowell's report has the peculiar virtue, each year, of collecting all the stray bits that are the University and fusing them for a moment into a unity for presentation. Side by side with a discussion of the House plan, the reading periods, and other topics of the College, one may find a revelation of progress in the Medical or Dental School; plans for work in a South African astronomical observatory follow those for extension of a system of research professorships in law. An Athletic program and a list of changes in degree requirements in the School of Education find their places in what seems more and more to be a pattern, complete in the very oneness of its figures.
The special service of this unity is in the background which it lends to the discussion, of specific questions. The problems facing the College which President Lowell touches on are by no means unrelated to conditions elsewhere under his jurisdiction. Imperative changes recommended in the curriculum of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences derive directly from altered standards in undergraduate academic circles. It is in the lack of comprehension of such interrelations, which is dependent upon his limited viewpoint, that the undergraduate fails generally to achieve an intelligent interest in his own affairs. To make him University-conscious, in the sense of making him keenly aware of a kinship with other schools, is impossible, but such illumination as the annual report is welcome for its message to those who take the trouble to read it.
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