Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

By Andrew Carnegie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
EDUCATIONAL AND PENSION FUNDS

THE fifteen-million-dollar pension fund for aged university professors (The Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Learning), the fourth important gift, given in June, 1905, required the selection of twenty-five trustees from among the presidents of educational institutions in the United States. When twentyfour of these -- President Harper, of Chicago University, being absent through illness -- honored me by meeting at our house for organization, I obtained an important accession of those who were to become more intimate friends. Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip proved of great service at the start -- his Washington experience being most valuable -- and in our president, Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, we found the indispensable man.

This fund is very near and dear to me -- knowing, as I do, many who are soon to become beneficiaries, and convinced as I am of their worth and the value of the service already rendered by them. Of all professions, that of teaching is probably the most unfairly, yes, most meanly paid, though it should rank with the highest. Educated men, devoting their lives to teaching the young, receive mere pittances. When I first took my seat as a trustee of Cornell University, I was shocked to find how small were the salaries of the professors, as a rule ranking below the salaries of some of our clerks. To save for old age with these men is impossible. Hence the universities without pension funds are compelled to retain men who are no longer able, should no longer be required, to perform their duties. Of the usefulness of

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