Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/563

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SKETCH OF DAVID STARR JORDAN. 549

was probably the best man of his time at college, yet lie was rarely seen to study. He paid his expenses in one way and another by his own labor, yet he was a man of leisure. Despite his careless- ness with respect to his personal appearance, and despite his whimsical address, his spiritual qualities marked him out as a man of fine breeding.

As a teacher, Jordan makes the impression of weight, sincer- ity, and simplicity. He rests down confidently upon the subject and makes that speak. He has the instinct attributed by Matthew Arnold to Wordsworth : he lets Nature speak through him " with her own bare, sheer, penetrating power." Students say he is the simplest of lecturers. Others may seem more profound because less lucid. Perhaps Jordan does not see everything he does not wish to see everything it is enough for him to see what is vital. Those who have time may dwell, if they will, in the skirts and suburbs of things ; Jordan strikes for the center. He has the sense of an Indian for direction, and may be relied upon to bring his followers out of the woods as promptly as any guide who could be mentioned.

As an administrator, Jordan is a man of distinguished per- formance and splendid promise. In the course of six years he raised the State University of Indiana from a condition of ob- scurity and ineffectiveness to its present position in the front rank of Western colleges. This he did in the face of very great obstacles,, of which, perhaps, the remoteness of the seat of the university and the parsimony of the State were the most for- midable. His success was largely due to his policy of surround- ing himself with a Faculty of young, energetic, progressive men, and of keeping the university in touch with society at large. As President of Stanford University he has to confront still greater difficulties, but he has the enormous advantages of far greater resources and of a vastly widened field of action.

Jordan is singularly fitted for the multiform duties and per- plexities of his present position. Physically and mentally he is a massive man, as imperturbable as a mountain. He eats heartily, sleeps soundly, and turns off his work promptly, almost impercep- tibly. Labors which break down ordinary men he takes as easily as a game of baseball, in which he delights ; grinding disappoint- ments seem to affect him little more than does the defeat of the Faculty team by the Freshmen. He is incapable of being inter- rupted ; he will answer your questions and dispatch your business while finishing the identification and description of a new species of fish. He is impervious to the bore, not because he is thick- skinned, but because he does not stop long enough to let the bore insert his sting. His mind seems to be organized on the co-opera- tive principle, so that he can carry on several lines of work simul-

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