1903 Fredericton Encaenia

Address in Praise of Founders

Delivered by: Raymond, William Tyng


"Address in Praise of Founders: By Prof. W.T. Raymond." University Monthly, 22, 8 (May 1903): 202-208. (UA Case 71)

The first questions that suggest themselves to one speaking in praise of our founders are these: What were their ideas? How far have these ideas been carried out?

In his inaugural address as first chancellor Sir Howard Douglas said, "Nothing seems wanting to ensure the success of this Institution -- a convenient and commodious edifice, a salubrious situation, a convenient position central in the province, a liberal constitution under a royal charter, a revenue adequate to all immediate purposes, and real endowments which will improve in value with the improving value of the times." Then let us pass lightly over his remarks on the officers of instruction and on the subjects of their care. He concludes with these words, "Such, honorable gentlemen and gentlemen of the college council, such are the material and financial means, such the moral and intellectual capacities which the liberality and patriotism of the Legislature, the paternal regard and munificence of our beloved Sovereign and the bountiful hand of God, Creator of all, provide, contribute and present in trust to us to be zealously, faithfully and effectually applied, used and managed to effect the great object which we have engaged to undertake. And what is that object? The greatest blessing that can be bestowed upon men next to the Divine blessing -- the blessing of a good, sound, virtuous and useful education."

Now that this Institution has been in existence for upwards on one hundred years and has made some advance along the lines laid down for it, we may briefly review these utterances in the light of experience.

The "convenient and commodious edifice" has been much enlarged and improved; the "salubrious situation," the "convenient position central in province," the "liberal constitution" we still retain. But what of the revenue adequate to all immediate purposes? What of the "real endowments which will improve in value with the improving value of the times?" Like Sir Howard Douglas we are willing to take for granted the "Patriotism" of the legislature:" with its "liberality" we are not so well content. We are grateful for small favors in recent years, but perhaps it is not unnatural that in the case of an Institution gratitude rather takes the form of a lively sense of favor yet to come. Those real endowments have not improved in value with the improving value of the times. That revenue adequate to all immediate purposes is a myth. Unless we get more money our growth must be checked or even cease. There are two ways of relief open to us. That will-o-wisp, an increase in the annual provincial grant, which we have for years been pursuing with outstretched hands ever apparently about to grasp it, must take visible substance and form, or else the more unlikely alternative in so young a country--we must be helped by the generosity of private individuals. Perhaps both these methods might be combined. O for some Carnegie, "guiltless of our country's blood," to lead the forlorn hope against the provincial treasury with a conditional offer--to which it were wise to set no limits. it is well known that some members of the government are personally disposed to increase the grant to the University. Indeed the premier has so expressed himself in the House of Assembly. We want some popular feeling in favor of the increasing of the University's efficiency that will be strong enough to make the members of the Legislature see its urgency. We have here in the university of New Brunswick the basis on which professional schools should be built, namely an art college, good as far as it goes and it goes as far as any in the maritime provinces. All professional education is the better for being based upon as broad and full general culture up to the B.A. standard as the time and money of the individual will permit. This fact has been recognized by the overseers of Harvard University and they have been gradually extending the requirement of a preliminary degree in Arts or Science for admission to their professional schools. A large falling off in numbers, indeed little short of disaster, was foretold to them from some quarters when this policy was initiated. But that this restriction was regarded as wise by the community to which Harvard especially appeals--Massachusetts and the states that centre round it--is proved by the fact that in the last ten years the number of students of the Law School has risen from 363 to 628, of the medical School from 399 to 506, and according to President Eliot, "the medical teachers say that it is a complete revolution and a most delightful one. The school is a different place. We have a homogeneous body of young men of similar training and similar trained capacities to carry forward in the delightful study of medicine. So it is in all our professional schools." This in a speech at Buffalo; and in his last annual report he wrote: "Unless the American colleges are entirely deceived as to the value of a college course, it stands to reason that much better instruction can be given to a class composed exclusively of college graduates than to any class in which there are many persons of very inferior training. Since the wise and efficient conduct of America affairs, commercial, industrial and public, depends more and more upon the learned and scientific professions, the universities owe it to the country to provide the best possible preparation for all the professions. This best possible preparation can only be given to young men who up to their 21st year have had the advantage of continuous and progressive school and college training.

However, Massachusetts and its environs from a community where intellectual culture is much more widely spread, where the percentage of people of means who value culture highly is far larger than in any other community in America. So we need not be ashamed if what can be successfully carried out there is as yet impossible for us, if we have to acknowledge that the requirement of a preliminary degree for entrance to a professional school is far beyond our reach. But the closer the connection between the arts college and the professional school, that is, the more art courses the students in professional schools take, the better their training will be. Many in this distinguished assemblage have doubtless observed and deplore the slight belief in the value of college education, the lack of earnestness of tone toward college education, among casual acquaintances. It is, I think, even more noticeable here than in some other communities, the prevalence of the absolutely groundless and unreasonable notion that college training does not increase a man's efficiency, does not enlarge his chances of success in after life. On two occasions in other places I have quoted at considerable length the figures that prove the worth of University training so overwhelmingly that no reasonable being can doubt. In brief, for the United States the conclusion is this: In that country since its inception one per cent of the male population have been college graduates, ninety nine per cent non graduates. Fifteen thousand have attained distinction in all walks of life and of this fifteen thousand one third have been college graduates. That is, one per cent of the male population have furnished thirty-three per cent of those who have attained distinction.

University graduates are a small proportion of the population. So it is and for long will be true many non-graduates will hold responsible and influential places in business and in the professions. But it is very important to note that graduates hold such place in much greater proportion than their relative number in the community wold lead us to expect. As President Eliot has expressed it "any sound education, prolonged until twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, will probably qualify the recipient to over take his contemporaries who have entered on their work earlier, but with inferior preparation." His conviction is that University training profits a man in every intellectual calling ......... there must be in any university no weakening of the arts work but rather when weak it must be strengthened as means permit. Then let us add that our arts course, though amenable to improvement, is second to none in the Maritime Provinces and is doubtless adequate to meet the demands of a young and undeveloped community.

I said that the original "convenient and commodious edifice" has been much enlarged and improved. I may now refer to the much more convenient and sufficiently commodious building, architecturally one of the finest in the Province, which has been erected for the purpose of the engineering school, a work with the inception and advancement of which the name of Stephen M. Dixon calls for special mention. We have seen this, the first professional school of the University of New Brunswick, grow in a few years from nothing, till to-day it is giving instruction to forty-one students. The energetic and efficient head of this department manages by wise supervision and direction of work to cover the ground occupied by three or four professors in more generously equipped; institutions. The number of students in the engineering department this year is considerably increased, the wear and tear becomes greater for one who attempts to give individual instruction. The most urgent need of the University at present time is, as Professor jack has stated, "The appointment of a professor or at least a permanent assistant in chemistry and of a professor in descriptive geometry, stereotomy and drawing or in geodesy, road engineering and topographical drawing." Then increased numbers make necessary increased expenditure for additional instruments, models and machinery.

The government has here the grandest opportunity. How is that? There are hundreds of young men in the Maritime Provinces who want a technical education. The demand is large and the demand will grow. It is far greater than the demand for training in agriculture. In New Brunswick, "when the wind is southerly," we can all tell a spade from a shovel; and with the wind in any quarter we all know that for every farmer's son who wants to stay on the farm there are two who want to leave it. And their are hundreds of men in New Brunswick and the other Maritime Provinces who, though unwilling to make sacrifices to give their sons an arts course, would yet make every effort to send them to a technical school, if they knew that here in Fredericton at a smaller cost than anywhere they can get a good sound course leading to an honorable profession, if they knew that all our graduates get work, that the demand is, in fact, greater than the supply. Professor Robertson of Ottawa in speaking before the provincial House of Assembly made the statement that the professional school of this University could not compete with McGill. All of us, no doubt, before we were award of the facts, while we were yet like Professor Robertson allowing our preconceived theories to control our utterances, would have said that a professional school at this University could not compete with McGill. But the question has passed beyond the region of theory; it has become a question of fact. The answer to the statement that a professional school at the University cannot compete with McGill is that it does. What further proof do you want than the fact that all our graduates get work and more are asked for. Two, it might be mentioned, had offers of work in Montreal. And the Canadian Engineer, which is published in Toronto, said last fall "the University of New Brunswick has recently added to its equipment in the realm of engineering, and may now be ranked in its science department with McGill, Queen's and Toronto."

Las fall in a short article in the St. John Daily Telegraph the statement was made that hundreds of young men in the Maritime Provinces were taking courses in a correspondence school in the United States. That was a very cautious statement. Reliable authority states that up to the end of 1901 there were 2,000 students in the maritime Provinces enrolled with one correspondence school in the United States, and up to August 1901 the same correspondence school has enrolled 3055 students in the Maritime Provinces, a growth of 1055 in seven months.

Let us note the following points:-- (1) the tremendous demand here indicated for technical training, (2) the inferiority of the training given by a correspondence school to that given by an Institution like ours, where students attend daily recitations in company with others pursuing the same studies, (3) the slight value placed by employers upon the diploma of a correspondence school as compared with a degree from a university at which students attend classes and are brought into competition with others under the direct personal supervision of their instructor.

We have said enough for the scope of this address upon the demand in our community for technical training. Let me now try to bring home convincingly the growing demand on the part of employers for college trained men. There are examples in medicine and law, and in commercial and political life there are more of men who, with little or no methodical training, by sheer force of genius, have reached positions of decidedly commanding influence and power. the popular imagination has seized on these--as it is prone to do--because they are striking and has neglected the more numerous instances on the other side. Listen to the words of Professor Robert H. Thurston, head of Sibley College at Cornell University, one of the leading scientific schools in America. He says: "but the young man who would win a place among the leaders of the industrial army in this century, who would be a directing captain instead of a private, marching blindly in the ranks, must equip himself for the battle by a vigorous training.

Unless he has had a University education or the scientific training of a college of engineering, he will find himself sadly handicapped. The captains of industry of the last century rose from the ranks, because an engineeri8ng education could only be had in the shops, but, within a few years, technical education, under wise government patronage, has made great strides, and a young man can learn, by the time he attains his majority, more than his father could have hoped to master in years of practice."

"the present cry is, 'give us College men.' From all the United States, from distant foreign countries, letters come to my desk, from the railways, rolling mills, shipyards, mines, electric shops, locomotive works, asking for Cornell's bright young men. Not long ago a college bred man had to see work; now his services are sought in all the great field of industry. Cornell has proved to practical men, to the self-made captains of industry, that her professional trained graduates are to be the future captains of industry. In such centres of activity as Pittsburg, college men are taking up the work begun by the shop-trained workers of a few years ago."

Of course these words are not any truer of Sibley college than of any of the other great scientific schools of the country. The same story is told of all. And coming from such a source it ought to convince anybody who is open to conviction.

I had intended to make these remarks upon the University's need of money merely preliminary to a discussion of some ideals of University life. But they stretched to such great length, without having more than begun, that what was to be my main topic had to be much compressed.

I wish, however, to touch lightly upon one of the causes of the distrust one sometimes encounters in parents about sending boys to college when they can send them. This reluctance is, I believe, not unfrequently due to one of the ideals of college life, an ideal which exalts the brute and the rowdy and naturally brings college, into great discredit. The humorists it is pleasing to notice, has recently come to the help of decency and sense. Mr. Dooley remembers that when he was a young man, a college was a place where the boy of the family was sent that the worst eyes. Only the frail, fair-headed lad with the hectic flush on his cheeks ever got a chance at real learning. but nowadays we run to the other extreme. Near-sighted Willis and Hectic Hal stay at home and the lad picked out for the higher life is Ben. Nature intended Ben for the higher life. At seventeen he weighs two hundred and ten pounds. He has a head like a walnut on top of a bag of flour. He converges so much toward the top that there wasn't room to put in a complete set of thinking devices. The small but ingenious machine concealed in this cupola is called by Ben his brain, and is used entirely to control the action of his legs and arms. When called upon for other purposes, it begins to ache. Ben's parents are much puzzled as to his future, when there comes a letter from the president of a college which presents the following arguments. The college man is becoming more and more a factor in American life. Five of our graduates are superintendents of packing houses, eight are prize fighters, thirty two are professional strong men and one thousand and eighty four have dedicated their lives to teaching the young idea of how to maim. In other words they are professional football coaches. We offer this ear an unusually good course in mayhem under the charge of the celebrated; professor Billy the Bite. We attempt as far as possible to give the undergraduates mild recreations, and in pursuance of this thought, we ave an evening course in arson, in which the college buildings and adjoining private property are used. And Mr. George Ade has recorded the reply of the philosophical steam fitter to the wife of the millionaire who sympathized with hm because his children have no social careers awaiting them: "Me and my wife lay awake nights and cry about it. Being too poor to send Jimmie to a University, we let him take lessons at a boxing academy, and now when any one starts rough house he is almost as handy as a regular student. He can smoke Egyptian cigarettes and blow the smoke through his nose, and he give me the laugh when I call him down, and so I feel that we have accomplished by home training what might have been expected from a college course."

But let us turn from the humorists with an expression of our gratitude to them for holding up to ridicule the baser ideal of university life, and let us listen to the words of a man whose distinguishing characteristic is certainly not humor but perhaps an unswerving steadfastness. In address the students of Princeton University on the occasion of President McKinley's death, Ex-President Cleveland said: "Make no mistake. He was a most distinguished man, a great man, a useful man, who has been distinguished, great and useful because he had and retained unimpaired qualities of heart which I fear university students sometimes feel like keeping in the background or abandoning."

"The lessons to be learned from his life teach us the value of study and mental training, but they teach us impressively that the road to usefulness and to the only success worth having will be missed or lost except it is sought and kept by the light of those qualities of the heart which is sometimes supposed may safely be neglected or subordinated in university surroundings.

"You will never hear that either the high place; he reached or what he accomplished was due entirely to his education. But you will, instead constantly hear, as accounting for his great success, that he was obedient and affectionate as a son, patient and faithful as a soldier, honest and upright as a citizen, tender and devoted as a husband and truthful, generous, unselfish, moral and clean in every relation of life. he never thought any of these things too weak for manliness."

Set this ideal of tenderness and gentleness, of refinement and courtesy, of sensitiveness of right and consideration and sympathy for others over against the ideal of brute force, of blatant vulgarity and cheap swagger which our friends, the humorists, scored, and no sensible father and mother will doubt which is the better environment for their sons and daughters. Let the aim be high. It may be that in prosaic moments of common life we do not expect others or even ourselves to reach our ideals; but the contemplation of them and the effort to attain them is uplifting and strengthening. They sing a perpetual song of hope in the heart of man.

"Enough for me in dreams to see
And touch Thy garment's hem:
Thy feet have trod so near to God
I may not follow them."

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