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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE PRESS

AROUND THE DINNER TABLE

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

President Conant of Harvard, speaking at Cornell, said that the chief benefits of a liberal education for undergraduates are gained "around the dinner table."

Last May the News Called attention to the fact that "dinner table education" was far from a complete success here at Yale. It was then reaffirmed that one of the main purposes of the college plan, as originally conceived, was to make the men on the faculty more accessible to undergraduates, and in so doing to foster that friendship between mature men and students which is so valuable to both. In addition, it was pointed out that many colleges seemed to have neglected this aspect of college life, for in some of them it was an extraordinary event when a student lunched or diner with a professor.

Unfortunately this condition still prevails today. It requires almost a formal invitation to enjoy a meal with a member of the faculty. The sight of professor and young man separating at the dining-hall entrance, each hieing himself off to his own little group, is not an unusual one. Though the undergraduates and sometimes the faculty may deplore the condition, nothing is done. Inertia seems to have gripped everyone. Most of us are too lazy to rise to object.

But in this apathy we are losing one of the real tangible advantages of the college plan. President Conant has pointed out what a stimulus to true education the dinner table can be. President Seymour indicated in the inaugural address his high opinion of the colleges as social influences. It is now up to the individual colleges to show co-operative zeal in making of the dining-halls places where master and student will meet often for the benefit of all concerned. The Yale News.

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