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Those who have been following the celebration in Cambridge may have noted that singularly little time has been devoted to the glorification of Harvard. The exercises have consisted in gathering together leading men in all fields of learning from all parts of the earth, in listening to what they have to say, examining with them in small groups and in private consultation the great questions before the human mind, and then of honoring these representative scholars in the public ceremony which takes place tomorrow.
Thus the theme of the celebration has not been the greatness of Harvard's long history, but the advance of human knowledge. Degrees are to be conferred only upon scholars now actively engaged in advancing knowledge. The funds which are being raised to mark the anniversary will be devoted wholly to learning: to establishing professorships and national scholarships for students.
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That is the principle which causes human institutions to last. The men who founded Harvard College in 1636 were of an age when many of them might have seen Shakespeare in the flesh. When Harvard was one hundred years old there was as yet no American nation. At its 200th anniversary the solidarity of the American union had still to be put to its crucial test. Yet through three hundred great and troubled years Harvard has endured; it has lived past wars and revolutions; it is older than the government under which it exists. Like a great river which is forever moving, the stream of its life is uninterrupted.
It has lived on not because it had great wealth, for Harvard has been again and again most desperately poor. It has had, of course, no army, no material force of any kind to make it prevail. It has not been the ward of a great sovereign or of a munificent state. Yet Harvard has outlasted all the governments which existed when it was founded, and the social orders through which mankind has moved in three hundred years. It has had only the tradition of learning which its founders carried into the New World from the more ancient universities of Europe and the support of a community in New England which has been loyal to that tradition through all the vicisaitudes of many ages. Walter Lippmann in the New York Herald-Tribune.
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