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Despite Russian technological advances, President Pusey in his annual report for 1956-57 decried efforts to "embark on a frenetic, concentrated effort to produce tens or, hopefully, even hundreds of thousands more scientists and engineers."
Noting in this country "a new troubled concern about education," he says: "In my judgment the present times demand of Harvard neither change of direction nor new emphasis, but rather only a more assiduous application to our traditional tasks."
Agreeing that "the country may indeed be in grave peril" and that "more attention must be paid . . . to the matter of keeping our sciences strong," Pusey claims that "Harvard has long been deeply committed to this task."
He points out that about a third of the undergraduates now concentrate in the natural sciences, that these departments also have the largest number of graduate students, and that Math 1 is one of the largest courses in the College.
Within the scientist fields, Pusey calls for emphasis on the fundamentals. He does not believe that "changed circumstances now call for an exaggerated emphasis in higher education on science-- certainly not for exclusive preoccupation with those branches of science which have immediate military and technological significance."
Maintaining that "this is work for other hands," he claims American universities should "do everything possible to insure that work in the basic sciences" shall remain "of high quality."
Other Fields Important
But Pusey stresses the need for "equal diligence" toward the social sciences and the humanities. Denying that "the present emergency presents us with an either/or choice," he claims that "these disciplines are no less important than the natural sciences to national security and welfare.
"The threats to our society from mental ills, broken homes, crime-ridden cities, imperfect governments and the even less perfect relationships among governments, are as pressing as any," he says. "And the humanities, which give quality to life and also to most of us our deepest understanding, must continue to be cultivated if we are to build and maintain a culture worth preserving, and produce people equipped in heart and mind to carry such large responsibility."
Summing up, the President says: "The times, then, seem to me to call not for a violent new national effort in a single direction (which in any event we are ill-prepared to take) but rather for a more consistent, steady, concern for the whole of education."
"This latter," he says, "would include more adequate financial support, yes; but also fresh efforts to strengthen the position of study in our society, and especially to dignify and reward more properly the profession of the teacher."
Review of Year
After reviewing "new departures within the University during 1956-57," such as the new Department of Statistics, the new Center for International Affairs, the new Center for International Legal Studies, the new six billion volt electron accelerator now under construction, the Program for Harvard College, and numerous research efforts, the President speaks "a word" about athletics.
He notes that 200 more freshmen were active in the intramural program in 1956-57 than three years before, a fact which seems to indicate that the individual freshman is "increasingly interested in the fun of competitive athletics . . . rather than simply exercising for the sake of working off his requirement."
And he adds that, despite a popular impression to the contrary, "our over-all record in varsity intercollegiate competition has been entirely respectable. During 1956-57 Harvard varsity teams won thirteen and lost nine contests with Yale." He recognizes, however, "that for some this good over-all record may not completely compensate for the sting of particular losses."
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