There are those persons connected with every college who are quick to seize upon every opportunity to decry the passing of the great names among the faculty. A plenitude of tears has been shed by various pessimists who have bemoaned the passing of the great age of William James, George Santyana and that small body of men who spread the fame of Harvard abroad during the nineteenth century.
There are those today who see in the successive retirements of Professors Copeland, Perry, and Wiener the continued falling away of the scholarly personalities which form the backbone of the Harvard faculty.
But what about the credit side of the book? Today comes the announcement that Professor Sorokin, late of the University of Minnesota, comes to Harvard as professor of sociology. In his particular field there is no more brilliant name. A distinguished author on sociological subjects, he has printed his works both in Russia and in the United States, and he is internationally recognized as an authority and scholar of sociological problems relating to rural populations. His presence in Cambridge adds another notable name to the Harvard faculty.
It requires constant alertness on the part of University officials to maintain a faculty which can be of consistently high quality from year to year. The greatest efforts must be made to attract men of stimulating interest to the college, and an equal effort made to facilitate their work here in order that they may have that freedom which is essential to really successful teaching.
In spite of all that can be done certain departments are at times in the ascendency, while others seem on the down grade. Yet the general level at Harvard remains high, and the Sorokin appointment furnishes proof that Harvard is not asleep to her most vital need, good teachers.