Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/190

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Mr. Andrew Carnegie has added to his vast gifts for public purposes a foundation to provide pensions for college teachers. He has selected twenty-five trustees, all but three of whom are heads of educational institutions, and lias addressed to them a letter in which he states that he has transferred to them $10,000,000 five per cent, first mortgage bonds of the U. S. Steel Corporation to provide retiring pensions for the teachers of universities, colleges and technical schools in the United States, Canada and Newfoundland. Mr. Carnegie says: "I have reached the conclusion that the least rewarded of 'all the professions is that of the teacher in our higher educational institutions. New York City, generously, and very wisely, provides retiring pensions for teachers in her public schools and also for her policemen. Very few indeed of our colleges are able to do so. The consequences are grievous. Able men hesitate to adopt teaching as a career, and many old professors whose places should be occupied by younger men can not be retired." Strictly sectarian institutions and those supported by the state are excluded from participation.

This foundation opens up many problems of extreme importance. If it should be administered as a fund for indigent and disabled professors it would be an intolerable nuisance; but the trustees are of course too wise to permit any such outcome. Still it will be somewhat difficult to prevent it from becoming a charity. About ninety-five institutions are included in the preliminary list of those coming within the scope of the foundation. It would doubtless have been better to have distributed the money pro rata among such of these institutions as would agree to establish a pension system, and, as far as we can see, it would be best to distribute the income in this way. The obvious objection is that the demands of each institution would vary greatly from time to time. One of our leading universities with five hundred officers has a pension system, and we believe that there is at present only one professor on the retired list, whereas twenty years hence there may be a dozen. Still if the income were distributed among the institutions as a trust fund on condition that they establish a pension system, things would come out even in the long run. The expenses and machinery of administration would be reduced to a minimum, and the objectionable charity features would be avoided.

When an institution has a pension system, the professor who accepts a position in it does so under a business contract, and there is no question of any patronage or charity. Thus the statutes of Columbia University read: "Any professor who has been fifteen successive years or upwards in the service of the University, and who is also sixty-five years of age, or over, may at his own request signified to the president in writing, or upon motion of the trustees, be made an emeritus professor on half-pay from the beginning of the next succeeding fiscal year." When a man becomes a professor at Columbia University at the age of forty years, he has an expectation of life of about thirty years, and may look, say, to five years of half pay in