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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

BOYLSTON PROFESSOR

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

If any man can add lustre to one of the brightest chairs in the University, it is Robert Hillyer, just appointed Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. Since 1771 this title has been borne by some of Harvard's greatest teachers as a worthy memorial to the character of its founder, Nicholas Boylston, John Quincy Adams filled the position, and in later days Dean Briggs and Charles Townsend Copeland.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about the naming of Mr. Hillyer is not the distinction of the post which he is to fill, nor the impressive list of books which he has published or prizes like the Pultizer Poetry Award which he has won. It is rather the unique point of view of the man himself. For in times of changing values, both in the world about us and especially in literature, Mr. Hillyer has steered a tolerant, sane, and mature course. As a man of letters he has not gone off into the wilderness with many other modern poets. Instead he has preserved and seasoned his outstanding poetic gifts with a mind looking toward the future. And thus it can be said of a distinguished man in a very distinguished chair, "The best is yet to be."

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