Heritage from Hamilton

Heritage from Hamilton

Heritage from Hamilton

Heritage from Hamilton

Excerpt

The opportunity to offer the Gino Speranza Lectures in Columbia University is a distinction. For the academic year 1956-57 it is a particular privilege. This is because of the suggestion that the place of Alexander Hamilton in American traditions and ideals be the chosen topic. Hamilton was educated at King's College, 1773-76, and received an honorary degree in 1788 from its successor, Columbia College, which he served as Trustee. The present year, under auspices of a national commission of which the President of the United States is honorary chairman, is being celebrated as the bicentennial of Hamilton's birth. This all but corresponds with the bicentennial of Columbia also.

While many occasions, commencing in the United States Congress and spreading to all parts of the country, are recalling Hamilton's contribution, none can express the same pride as the participation of Columbia University. For his career shows the blessing -- one may almost say the indispensable quality -- of liberal education turned to the uses of public life. If Columbia had conferred this training on no other among scores of thousands, the costs and pains of this institution would have made a grateful return to America. Besides the impetus which Hamilton imparted to the national economy and polity, he more specifically paid tribute to his education here by enlarging in the legislature the scope of the Board of Regents of New York, and gave his name to another college of the state which shares special esteem for him.

Much of Hamilton's work, official and professional, required the highest technical proficiency, but he received none of that in the classroom. Today's solicitude for specialized training, particularly in the physical sciences and engineering, necessary as changed circumstances demand it, should not obscure the claim of broad ac-

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