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The Oxford Letter


Walking along the High this morning I met Professor Ballantine and though he didn't know me and I know him only through his fine lectures, we greeted each other almost as old friends. Such is the difference three thousand miles of ocean makes!

He was quick to tell me President Conant was receiving an honorary degree from Oxford this afternoon and wouldn't I like to join him in seeing the ceremony? Aside from the fact I got to know the Conants through their Sunday teas and this is an institution I would highly recommend--I was interested in going, for all such ceremonies here at Oxford offer an insight into the background and traditions of the University.

Mr. A. D. Lindsay, Vice-Chancellor, and Master of Balliol, presided at the Convocation after being escorted in by two "guards" bearing sceptres and an awful dignity. Then there was much moving about and bowing of heads, and all the while most of us were wondering where Mr. Conant was. Presently, the guards left the Vice-Chancellor, and after much more bowing brought in Mr. Conant. Still more tipping of caps and bowing and Public Orator, Dr. C. Bailey, in excellent Latin, recalled the visit made by the Vice-Chancellor as head of the Oxford delegation to the tercentenary celebrations at Harvard. Then Mr. Conant's accomplishments were reviewed and his aim as the head of Harvard set down: ". . . ut hominum societat em maximan ex diversis et ipsam elementsis compositam in unum corpus conformet" with the object of promoting the advancement of both learning and human happiness. It was quite a colorful event, but, so far as catching the Latin went, the Vice-Chancellor might have been calling the majority of the audience names and reprimanding us for our ignorance!

But to come to more mundane affairs: the students here prefer Roosevelt. But since Oxford, they say, is a place for lost causes, that is not hard to understand.

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