The College Influence on Student Character: An Exploratory Study in Selected Colleges and Universities Made for the Committee for the Study of Character Development in Education

By Edward D. Eddy Jr.; Mary Louise Parkhurst et al. | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

THE VIRTUAL explosion of scientific discovery during the first half of the twentieth century has propelled our society down the road of material progress at an astonishing rate. Our achieve- ments in learning how to manipulate the forces of nature, how- ever, have all but outdistanced our achievements in learning how to direct the forces now at our disposal. Thus, the hands that con- trol great power must become certain hands.

Actually, the evolution of this condition was perceived a long time ago, for, in a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Priestley in 1780, there appears this statement: "The rapid prog- ress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born too soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried in a thousand years the power of man over matter. . . . Oh, that moral science were in as fair a way of im- provement!"

Happily, there is a growing appreciation today of the urgent necessity to develop in oncoming generations the strength of character to match the responsibilities that will be heaped upon the educated leader.

Recognizing a need for an organized attempt to assess influences on character in the college setting, as well as to gather informa- tion on what is being tried, what succeeds best, and what limita- tions exist, a number of interested persons met several years ago under the auspices of the American Council on Education to draw up a study plan. They were encouraged in their efforts by the interest of the Calkins Foundation, which made a generous grant in support of a study.

After a number of suggestions were made, a proposal was writ- ten, a committee appointed, and preliminary meetings held. In

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