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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

MOTHER ADVOCATE

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Under the title "Two Criticisms of President Conant's Report," Mother Advocate presents a pair of literary masterpieces. Smoothly and delightfully written, filled with beautiful analogies and neat, rounded-out sentences, they are in themselves completely convincing arguments. Their points are made. Nothing more can be said. But they are attacking the reflection in their spectacles. The glass is shattered, but the subject itself remains untouched.

Professor Mason Hammond defends the Latin requirement for an A.B. degree by proving beyond all possibility of refutation that Latin is a cultural language, that Roman history throws a tremendous light on the history of today, and is in itself very valuable and important in the history and civilization of the world. But who learns enough Latin to read more than a couple of great works of old so slowly and painfully that only disgust remains? And who learns Roman history in the Latin tongue anyway? And who ever reads the thousands of Christian writers of Latin during the succeeding centuries? Professor Hammond may do so, but certainly the requirement does not enforce these benefits on those striving for A.B. degrees.

As for Mr. J. P. Coolidge's criticism, that can be dismissed because of its basic assumption, that President Conant will carry his tendencies to their logical (?) and absurd conclusions. Because the President is thinking of the "improvement of the Harvard Faculty and the advancement of knowledge," Mr. Coolidge assumes that he will carry on these reforms to the utter neglect of the Harvard undergraduate. That is having very little faith in the intelligence of President Conant.

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