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When President Conant carried greetings from Harvard and the educational world to Iowa State College on its ninetieth birthday party yesterday, both his presence and the words of his mouth gave striking witness to the basic validity of the Harvard educational ideal. Reversing the process of last September, when Mr. Conant gathered world-wide greetings in honor of his own university's age and pre-eminence, the president has taken up the gage of responsibility that pre-eminence demands. His speech at Iowa City not only conveys anniversary regards to a younger institution, but trumpets to the nation at large the message of high scholarship and of opportunity for all who deserve it.

As set forth in his speech, the selective principle in education in America depends upon rigorous courses of study, whether in school or college followed by some sort of tests to indicate the student's grasp of the problems set before him. Though the examinations at the end of a course or field cannot be taken as a final judgement of a man's ability, nevertheless they give an accurate indication of his possibilities for future development. If he is to grow up "not a genius, but an outstanding man in professional life", he is likely to put forth his branches early, and to show his promise by a reasonable measure of success in the competitive academic struggle. And "progressive" education in modern schools and colleges falls when it fails to supply the incentive of competition by weeding out the shiftless and incompetent.

Side by side with courses and examinations with teeth in them goes the need for wider scholarship aids, if American education is to fulfill its whole function in the community. A system of learning that excludes from a university education and hence from professional training, those whose ability and ambition is greater than their bank accounts does not pull its full load in a democratic society.

But the most significant aspect of the speech lies in its crusading spirit in the nation-wide educational battle. No one is in a better position than Harvard, with its proud scholastic standing and its national scholarships, to lead the way for colleges, whether public or private, whose standards are amorphous and whose funds for less wealthy students at a low ebb. For if future generations are to share the heritage for which Harvard stands, Harvard must point the way to others as well as develop and expand at home.

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