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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE PRESS

HARVARD CLASSICS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The late Lewis Baker Warren left a bequest of $1,000,000 to Yale University to be used for scholarships to students "who shall be the sons of white Christian parents and Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian or Teutonic descent, both of whom were citizens of the United States and were born in America."

The strangest thing about this strange bequest is that Mr. Warren believed that it would be a memorial to the "best ideals and traditions of the Anglo-Saxon race, to which the United States owes its culture," and that the boys receiving scholarships of this character would "best exemplify" such traditions.

One would like to know how Mr. Warren would have defined the "best ideals" of the culture of the United States, and what kind of personal behavior would best exemplify it? Is racial discrimination one of its essential characteristics? Is it to judge a man's character and worth by the accident of his parent's birthplace? Is it to restrict or regulate a person's opportunities by the history of his grandparents? The terms of the bequest imply all that. We doubt, however, whether these elements represent the ideals and culture of the United States as expressed by such Americans as Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt. Certainly the Constitution of the United States is a basic factor of American culture, yet it offers the presidency of the United States to men who, according to the terms of Mr. Warren's bequest, would be disqualified as representatives of "the best ideals and traditions" of American culture.

We wonder whether Mr. Warren, who was treasurer of the Mutual Life Insurance Company, expressed the policy of his company in the terms of his will. We wonder whether he refused to profit from policies written for families whose sons would forever be considered unworthy of his scholarships, and whether the company which he represented in such a major office would freely give employment to the sons of such families.

Doubtless no one could stop Mr. Warren from giving his money to whomever he pleased. We question, however, the propriety of Yale University accepting a bequest on terms which have all the car marks and specifications of Nazi ideology. Harvard University had the courage to refuse a scholarship offered by a Nazi propagandist. Can Yale administer this fund on these terms without upholding an ideal which is counter to Yale's own "best ideals and traditions?" --The American Jewish World. Dec. 20, '35

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