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This is the second in a series of two columns to explain the 200th Anniversary Fund set up Monday by President Conant. The information is taken from the official pamphlet on the fund.
As a separate but supplemental step to increase the national service of Harvard, it is proposed to establish a considerable number of well-endowed scholarships to be offered to the most promising men in every state of the Union.
It is believed that the older endowed universities and colleges have a special duty to perform in offering their facilities to students from every part of the country. In this way they will not only do their part in aiding the whole of our democratic society to develop the talent of each generation, but they will help to keep the country's culture from becoming sectional. Sectionalism presents dangers from which the country must continually be guarded. It is therefore essential that there shall be a few truly national institutions of higher learning. Since the paramount duty of any tax-supported university must always be to the state or city from which it derives support it is believed that Harvard and a relatively few other universities must fulfill this function.
Harvard is already a national university. For generations it has drawn men from all parts of the country and from all divisions of society and has sent them out as teachers, administrators or useful citizens into almost every calling and to every quarter of the Union. Today, its undergraduate department draws young men from every state; its graduate schools enroll an even larger proportion of students from outside New England and train them to engage in professional work throughout the country. Such a university cannot be considered as anything but a national institution; but it is eminently desirable to extend further the national scope of Harvard's work.
For these reasons, Harvard welcomes and desires the broadcast possible geographical representation among its students, and also because it is convinced that the most invigorating conditions will prevail if all parts of the Union are well represented in all its departments.
There has long been a popular belief in this country that it is an excellent thing for a boy to "work his way through college," earning money by mowing lawns, tending furnaces, or doing other jobs that have no connection with his college course. This sort of work has hardened the moral fibre of many youths, and it is true that many men whose names lend lustre to the pages of our history have earned their way to an education by such means. But conditions have changed more than is generally understood. It is less easy than it was thirty years ago for a student to find suitable and sufficiently remunerative employment. Furthermore, academic standards have been raised, requirements have been stiffened, and the total length of the educational process has been increased by the great development of the graduate schools. Such time as he can spare from study had better be spent in the society of fellow students and tutors, or in reasonable recreation.
This is not more opinion, for a realistic study of the experiences of scholarship holders who are forced to earn a considerable part of their expenses has brought to light case after case of men who are in distress. Some are too burdened with outside work to fulfill the high promise of their earlier years. Some, failing to keep their scholastic average up to the minimum level required of scholarships, are deprived of this assistance and forced to abandon, for a time at least, their scholarly careers. Some keep their studies above the minimum level only at a strain that overtaxes their strength and leads to a breakdown. Whatever advantages this stern regime may have for some young men of exceptional endurance, it involves in many other cases much social waste.
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