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Ruthven Calls Present Year 'Greatest' In U-M History

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Ruthven Calls Present Year 'Greatest’ In U-M History

The year 1949-50 was "the greatest in University history," President Alexander G. Ruthven declared this noon in his annual address to alumni at a luncheon held in Waterman-Barbour Gymnasium.

In his summary of significant events, Dr. Ruthven specifically mentioned inreased enrollment, new dormitories completed or under construction and completion of plans for additions to the General Library and Angell Hall.

He also made note of the $3,000,000 gift from the Kresge Foundation for a medical research center, a Legislative appropriation for the out-patient clinic at University Hospital and completion of the new Maternity Hospital.

‘Most Important Undertaking’

Dr. Ruthven described the Michigan Memorial-Phoenix Project — the University’s $6,500,000 atomic energy research program—as "the most important undertaking of the year” with “enormous implication’s for mankind’s future welfare.”

The University president cautioned that achievements of the past year do not alter the fact hat the institution has many unmet needs. He mentioned new teaching equipment, additional student housing and a medical classroom buildings among the necessities.

Cautioning that “a static university is a dying university and a social liability,” Dr. Ruthven asserted that "next year and each succeeding year Michigan must reach new heights.” He described this building process as a “task which will never be finished.”

A university, he said, must point the way to social change, even though this is sometimes dangerous and costly for the institution.

Should ‘Point The Way’

"In a continually changing world a school which does not keep abreast of the mutations of society fails to meet properly its responsibility, Dr. Ruthven declared.” A real university should at all times not only anticipate but actually point the way to social changes.

"It is to be recognized and accepted that it is both dangerous and costly for an educational institution to insist upon being in the forefront of social progress—dangerous because there is no closed season on teachers as far as the ultra-conservatives are concerned.” Dr. Ruthven noted that research and teaching, the two chief functions of a university, cost money but asserted that, no matter what the cost, "education will remain the cheap and chief defense of the democratic way of life.”