Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/73

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He was, what is less generally remembered now, perhaps the ablest and most accomplished diplomatist ever in the public service of the United States. Jared Sparks was a profound student of history, somewhat dull as a narrator, but of unerring historic judgment. . . . James Walker was a great preacher and a profound thinker.

We need not venture to pronounce on Mr. Hoar's preference for good old days. "What is notable is the suggestion of the effect of bringing successful men of a high type from the midst of the world, for which the student is destined, and putting them in his formative time before his eyes. The result, in honorable ambition, civic enthusiasm and the influence of large ideas upon the tone of mind, weighs something, it must be admitted, against the chosen man's lack of direct acquaintance with an educational institution and with just this species of administrative headship. The appalling diversity of subjects that a national president must master encourages the hope that he would not fail to respond with skill to those of the president of a university.

This brings us to face the question what, at the present juncture, the largest problems of an American university are. I have been forced, however, to dwell at some length on the justness of my human illustration, and on immediate problems that such a leader would help to solve. Space fails me to discuss certain other and more complex problems in which the putting of precisely such a powerful shoulder to the wheel is equally required. With the editor's permission I will return to the subject next month in a second article. These latter difficulties call for a leader who adds to enthusiasm a long-borne burden of the most trying practical experience. They call for one who, if an idealist, has the best reason to be a realist too.