Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
ORGANIZATION OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY -- 1865-1868

A LTHOUGH my formal election to the university presidency did not take place until 1867, the duties implied by that office had already been discharged by me during two years.

While Mr. Cornell devoted himself to the financial questions arising from the new foundation, he intrusted all other questions to me. Indeed, my duties may be said to have begun when, as chairman of the Committee on Education in the State Senate, I resisted all efforts to divide the land-grant fund between the People's College and the State Agricultural College; to have been continued when I opposed the frittering away of the entire grant among more than twenty small sectarian colleges; and to have taken a more direct form when I drafted the educational clauses of the university charter and advocated it before the legislature and in the press. This advocacy was by no means a light task. The influential men who flocked to Albany, seeking to divide the fund among various sects and localities, used arguments often plausible and sometimes forcible. These I dealt with on various occasions, but especially in a speech before the State Senate in 1865, in which was shown the character of the interested opposition, the farcical equipment of the People's College, the failure of the State Agricultural College, the inadequacy of the sectarian colleges, even though they called themselves universities; and I did all in my power to communicate to my colleagues

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