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Calling for a countrywide liberalizing justed stipend plan, President Conant of Scholarship programs along lines of the Harvard National Scholarship's ad-yesterday added another period to the exposition of his principles of American higher education.
Iowa State College, celebrating its ninetieth year, heard the New Englander lecture to its conference on higher education, choosing as his subject "The Selective Principle in Education in a Democracy."
By stressing the note of widened selection of students as applied to state universities, President Conant offered the solution he has sought here in the national scholarships, to the problem of over-specialization in one type of student and one aim of the college.
He said, in part: "The American college and the American university exist for no one single purpose, but for many purposes. The problem, as I see it, is to keep the balance between the various necessary objectives and not let our power of vision be destroyed by focusing too long and too intently on any one particular bull's-eye."
The student plays the determining part in the value of the college training. If in the universities it is our purpose to prepare leaders, that is, not the geniuses but the "outstanding men in professional life," we must pay especial attention to the selective process as regards recruiting.
At the same time as we keep the selective machinery within the college, the examinations, etc., in running order, we must give more opportunity to unknown capabilities of leadership by enlarging our scholarship bases.
President Conant particularly urged that the State Universities share in this scholarship enlargement. "A State University," he said, "admittedly faces an entirely different situation from that confronting a privately supported university, and one must be cautious in arguing by analogy from one to the other. Nevertheless, I believe that one fundamental educational question confronts all the universities of this great democracy. A carefully administered scholarship system is an essential part of a truly democratic selective system of education."
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