Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXIV PRESENT COLLEGE CONDITIONS AS TO RELIGIOUS MATTERS AND AS TO PERSONAL TOUCH BETWEEN PROFESSORS AND STUDENTS, AS AFFECTING INDIVIDUAL TRAINING

IN his valedictory, as president of Amherst, Dr. Edward Hitchcock, one of the grandest of our teachers, said: --

Religious spirit of earlier colleges.

"The whole number of graduates to 1854 has been 1094, of whom 479 have become ministers and 51 foreign missionaries. Among the undergraduates there has always been a decided majority of professors of religion. The number of the present year is 150 out of 238, or nearly two thirds. So much for the success of the first grand object of the founders of the institution."

This quotation fairly illustrates the spirit of the early colleges and founders. Their object was first to make their pupils professors of religion and then to educate them. If possible, the graduates were to be ministers. In the earlier times they were to be missionaries to the Indians or to the newer settlements on our rapidly advancing frontier, and later they were, if possible, to become foreign missionaries.

Aimed to convert their student and makes them ministers.

To-day it is impossible to make any universal statement as to this matter. In some of the smaller denominational institutions, especially at the South and West, the old spirit still continues. In some of the large universities the position is distinctly taken that the institution is only to furnish means of education and is not to interfere with a man's college home life or with the religious and moral welfare of the students unless their moral condition becomes actually scandalous. Between these two extremes, all grades of religious tolerance or indifference can be found in the five hundred men's and coeducational colleges and universities.

Extremes Stated.

No universal statement now possible.

Some of the technical schools are decidedly materialistic in their tendencies. Some institutions which were most deeply religious

-167-

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