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Alumni Letters Support New Varsity Club, Maintain It Would Attract Scholar-Athletes


Alumni groups from two sections of the country have come out strongly in support of the Corporation's decision to build a new Varsity Club, recent letters, to the CRIMSON indicated.

The letters stressed two main points: the fact that Allston Burr's bequest carried with it a "moral obligation" to erect a new Club, and the urgent immediate need for the new building.

E. Tefft Harker '37, of Syracuse, New York, claimed that the Corporation was the only group competent to decide the issue of moral obligation. "Unless the Corporation has acted capriciously . . . I am at a loss to see why the decision should not stand," he said.

Urgent Need

Barker then went on to outline the pressing need for a new Club:

"I am one of a growing number of graduates of the College who are spending time and effort trying to interest qualified young men in Harvard. As we have proceeded, we have come to realize that each year our secondary schools graduate many qualified men who, in selecting a college, are influenced not only by the purely 'academic' factors, but also by generally prevailing notions concerning the calibre of its athletic program and of its athletic teams.

"If Harvard is to have the maximum of universal appeal, it should provide a vigorous intramural program, and, on the varsity level, undertake to field teams capable of winning a fair share of traditional games.

"This means that we must interest men in coming to Harvard who besides being good students are good athletes; we must have the kind of college to which such men will desire to come."

Donald Poddle '41, of Minnacapolis, chairman of the Schools Committee of the Harvard Club of Minnesota, agreed fully with Barker.

"The men who are doing the contact work with prospective students, want this new club very badly," wrote. "It is essential in a long range program to revive Harvard athletics.

"It seems agreed that the alumni should take a more active interest in selling Harvard to prospective students (see the CRIMSON football poll). We are certain that the new club would be of assistance to us in making sane, reasonable approaches to scholar athletes."

Another Angle

Barker and Peddle agreed that other things, a hockey rink, a theatre, and expanded tutorial and scholarship facilities, were also needed. They did, however, feel that other considerations made a new Varsity Club more immediately necessary.

"Although we fully recognize the merit and worth of the House system," wrote Barker, "we are inclined to feel that the Houses are, not a complete answer to the normal desires of students for social contact with men of similar tastes and interests. Is there any better basis for such groupings than an shared interest in some recognized extra-curricular activity, such as athletics?

"Consequently, we feel that a new Varsity Club, provided its activities are made to it in with the overall objectives of the House system, and not to transcend them, will provide a valuable adjunct to Harvard undergraduate life."

Sanity Urged

Peddle decried the "athletic scholarships, physical education courses, and workless jobs offered by out Ivy League competitors.

"We need a new Varsity Club to help meet the tough competition for the best all-around high school boys, to enable us to get such men interested in Harvard," he said. "The competition is fierce, but a new Varsity Club would really give us a lift."

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