THE COLLEGE AND THE STUDENT
At this commencement season university presidents and others are likely to make addresses to academic audiences and the problems of the college and of the college student are likely to be subjects for comment in the daily papers and the monthly magazines. This year two addresses have attracted special attention. Some rather incidental remarks of President Wilson, of Princeton University, are of intrinsic interest, and the Phi Beta Kappa address of President Lowell, of Harvard University, preceding his inaugural address, gives the first indication of his attitude toward questions concerning which his influence and responsibility are very great.
It is somewhat curious that the president of Princeton appears to be more modern in his point of view than the president of Harvard. President Wilson is reported as saying:
A danger surrounding our modern education is the danger of wealth. I am sorry for the lad who is going to inherit money. I fear that the kind of men who are to share in shaping the future are not largely exemplified in schools and colleges.
So far as the colleges go, the sideshows have swallowed up the circus, and we in the main tent do not know what is going on. And I do not know that I want to continue under those conditions as ringmaster. There are. more honest occupations than teaching if you can not teach.
This is characteristically well put, but the point of view is unexpected. It was supposed that the officers of Princeton were comparatively well satisfied with their rich boys, their professional athletics and their preceptorial system. It seems that on this occasion the president of Princeton is too iconoclastic and too pessimistic. The rich boys and the college boys will surely do more than the average in "shaping the future," even though this may be accomplished by a kind of monopoly control. The boy need not cease to be an athlete when he leaves the preparatory school; the trouble in our colleges is not that there are too many athletes, but too few, and those few over-trained and over-exploited. The college boy can do athletic stunts better than any one else can and better than he can do anything else; so there is much to be said for letting him do them. Satan can find worse mischief for idle hands.
When Mr. Wilson says that the things which the modern world exacts are mostly intellectual, he presumably I refers to the kinds of things the Princeton preceptors try to teach. But what the world wants is men who will do the right thing at the right time. The boy i who is to be a scholar in after life i should be a scholar in college. But the average boy gains more from running the college paper or fraternity house than by writing Latin verses or even reading the innocuous literature prescribed by the College Entrance Examination Board. Certainly both college students and college teachers could be more usefully employed than they are at present; but it is odd that the president of Princeton should rub this in.
Mr. Lowell had undertaken to give the Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia before he was elected to the presidency of