Hail to Thee, Okoboji U! A Humor Anthology on Higher Education

By Mark C. Ebersole | Go to book overview

Reforming Yale*

Mark Twain

I was sincerely proud and grateful to be made a Master of Arts by this great and venerable university. And I would have come last June to testify this feeling, as I do now testify it, but that the sudden and unexpected notice of the honor done me found me at a distance from home and unable to discharge that duty and enjoy that privilege.

Along at first, say for the first month or so, I did not quite know how to proceed, because of my not knowing just what authorities and privileges belonged to the title which had been granted me. But after that I consulted some students of Trinity, in Hartford, and they made everything clear to me.

It was through them that I found out that my title made me head of the governing body of the university and lodged in me very broad and severely responsible powers. It is through trying to work these powers up to their maximum of efficiency that I have had such a checkered career this year.

I was told that it would be necessary for me to report to you at this time, and of course I comply though I would have preferred to put it off till I could make a better showing, for indeed I have been so pertinaciously hindered and obstructed at every turn by the faculty that it would be difficult to prove that the university is really in any better shape now than it was when I first took charge.

In submitting my report I am sorry to have to begin it with the remark that respect for authority seems to be at a quite low ebb in the college. It is true that this has caused me pain but it has not discouraged me.

By advice, I turned my earliest attention to the Greek department. I told the Greek professor I had concluded to drop the use of the Greek written character, because it is so hard to spell with and so impossible to read after you get it spelled. Let us draw the curtain there. I saw by

____________________
*
Although Yale awarded Clemens a Master of Arts degree in June 1888, he was unable to attend the award ceremony. And, although he claims he made this address at a later time, it is uncertain whether he actually did.

-133-

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Hail to Thee, Okoboji U! A Humor Anthology on Higher Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • A Short History of Higher Education 1
  • Solemnity, Gloom and the Academic Style: A Reflection 7
  • How to Get In 10
  • The Rich Scholar 14
  • Off to College 18
  • Gather Round, Collegians 21
  • Hail to Thee, Okoboji! 26
  • Wherefore Art Thou Nittany? 27
  • University Days 29
  • University Days 34
  • Taste of Princeton 39
  • Hell Only Breaks Loose Once 41
  • Hell Only Breaks Loose Once 45
  • Hell Only Breaks Loose Once 47
  • Hell Only Breaks Loose Once 51
  • Hell Only Breaks Loose Once 57
  • Hell Only Breaks Loose Once 63
  • Professor Pnin 72
  • The Rivercliff Golf Killings 76
  • Two Limericks 84
  • Professor Tattersall 86
  • Report on the Barnhouse Effect 93
  • Report on the Barnhouse Effect 105
  • Report on the Barnhouse Effect 107
  • Report on the Barnhouse Effect 112
  • Report on the Barnhouse Effect 114
  • Report on the Barnhouse Effect 117
  • Handy-Dandy Plan to Save Our Colleges 122
  • Jocelyn College 128
  • Reforming Yale 133
  • The Groves of Academe: Deep, Deep Words 135
  • Survey of Literature 143
  • Shakespeare Explained 144
  • The Shakespeare Interview 147
  • Professor Gratt 152
  • The Cliché Expert Testifies on Literary Criticism 153
  • Great Poets 158
  • Webley I. Webster: Wisdom of the Ages 164
  • The Immortal Hair Trunk 166
  • How to Understand Music 169
  • 1776 and All That. the First Memorable History of America 172
  • If He Scholars, Let Him Go 183
  • The Truth About History 185
  • The Truth About History 188
  • The Universe and the Philosopher 191
  • My Philosophy 193
  • My Philosophy 196
  • My Philosophy 198
  • My Philosophy 199
  • My Philosophy 200
  • Science 203
  • Philosopher 205
  • Mr. Science 208
  • One Very Smart Tomato 210
  • Botanist, Aroint Thee! Or, Henbane by Any Other Name 212
  • Nonsense Botany 213
  • Book Learning 218
  • Prehistoric Animals of the Middle West 219
  • Prehistoric Animals of the Middle West 224
  • A Pure Mathematician 228
  • Thinking Black Holes Through 231
  • The Purist 234
  • Theoretical Theories 235
  • Professor Piccard 235
  • How Newton Discovered the Law of Gravitation 237
  • Parlez-Vous Presidentialese? 252
  • The Secret Life of Henry Harting 255
  • Marshyhope State University 265
  • The Degree 276
  • President Robbins of Benton 282
  • My Speech to the Graduates 286
  • Graduationese 289
  • Grooving with Academe 292
  • An Old Grad Remembers 294
  • The Cultured Girl Again 297
  • Alumni News 299
  • Twenty-Fifth Reunion 302
  • The Final Final Exam - A Sentimental Education 304
  • Turning Back to the Campus 314
  • Improbable Epitaph 316
  • Acknowledgments 317
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