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Two Decades Ago

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Parent Issue
Day
23
Month
October
Year
1891
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

In 1871, President James B. Angelí ook hold of the reins of governinent f the University of Michigan, and nat those then in power chose the ight man ïor tbe place, none can oubt who have witnessed the growth and prosperity of the institution under )r. Angell's able management. Ee-iewing the changes and contrastng the condition and standing of the Üniversity now with what it was in 1S71, President Angelí ,in his annual eport to the Board oí regenta, Vednesday, says: "It is now twenty years ai nee I be;an my official connection with thia nstitution. It has oceurred to me hat it might be instructive and enouraging to mark some of the hanges which have occurred in the Jniversity in that perioi and to glance at tho contrast between its condition n 1871 and its condition in 1891. trust I nuiy be acquitted in advance of any purpose by such a comparison to commend my own services. No one knows better than I how little they have had to do with assuming the growth which we f re to observe. That growth is due in' small degree to the wisdom and labors of any one man. It is due rather to the liearty and devoted co-operation of many, ncluding regents, teachers, students, graduates and other faithful friends, and to the generous support accorded by the state of Michigan." "One who should not have visited the Universlty sinee 18 a wouicl on coming into our campus, be struck at first with the increase in the ïumber of our buildings. Those then here were the two wings of the present universlty Hall, origiually erected for dorrnitories and recitation rooms; tlie law building; the chemieal laboratory, one story high lormlng about one-fifth or one-sixth of the present edifico; the medical college, and four dwelling houses, of whieh oue was used as a hospital, one was occupied by the President, and the other two were rented to professors. The astronomical laboratory and the dweiling attached to it had also been built on the site they now occupy, half a mile away from the campus.", "Since then the following buildings have been erected on the campus: The large central building of tlie University Hall, connecting the two wings; the scientific laboratory; the library. with the art gallery; the physical and hygienic laboratory; the on"-incerinsr laboratory or workshops; the anatomical laborator}-; the two hospital wards, and the two boiler houses. The chemical laboratory has been several times enlarged, and a wlng was added to one of the houses, which, tluis enlarged, has for years furnished a home for the dental college. In the observatory grounds. a small observatory for the instruction of students has been built, and on a site pm-chased for the purpose, two new hospitals ha,ve Just boen constrücted. As has bcfore been said, the law building and the building so long appropriated to the dental college are about to receive large additions. The I'resident's house is also to be altered and enlarged." "Not less marked is the increase in the teaching force and in the numbcr of students. In 1871 there were in all the faculties 3G persons. In 1891 there were 92 resident professors, assistant professors, lecturers and instructors, 11 non-resident lecturers, and 27 assistants, making a total number of 130. The increase has been chiefly in the additions to the literary faculty. The faculty of the department of medicine and surgery has increased from 9 to 17. The law faculty has added only one to the number of its regular professors, but has called in several non-resident lecturers to give brief courses and employs quiz-rnasters for purposes of drill. The literary faculty, which consisted of 23 persons in 1871, now numbers 70. Only the three departments oí arts, medicine and of law existed In 1871. Though instruction in pharmacy was given at that time, the school of pharmacy was not organized as a separate department with its owii faculty until 1876. Ih& homoeopa thic medical college was organized in 1875." "Twenty years ago the studente numbered 1110; last year, 2,420. The (ollowlng Uible shows the attendance by departmeats at both dates: 1871 L81 Department of Litcrnture, Science and tlie Arta 4KS 1,170 Departmentof Medicine and Surgery 316 8TS Department of Law 30" 581 School of I'liarmacy 1 Honiccopatliic Medical College ÏI Dental Collegre UK Total 1,110 2,430 "The proportionato and absolute gain lias boen much larger in tho literary department than in any other, tus wie are glad it should have boon. The law department has, howcver, In spite of the establishment of numeroub law schools in the west! nearly doubled its umbers." 'Women were not admitted to the ünlversity nntil 1S70. Thercfore we need not bc surprised that there were but 31 herc ín 1871, of whom 14 were in the Hterary department, 18 in the medical and 2 in the law department. Uast year there were 445 women in attendance." "Twenty years ago the students were drawn frorn twenty-six states and territories, but none from foreign lands. Last year they represented 44 states and territories of our union, and 12 ioreign states and pro vinces. Then we had irom Illinois, Ohio and Indiana respectively 115, 122 and 67; last year 282, 205 and 113. It is interesting to observe that contrary to the impression cherished by many, the proportion of Michigan students is greater now than it was twenty years ago. In 1871 Michigan stutlents formed only 4G percent, of tho wholc number, while last yea? they formed 48 per cent." "The law library has grown from 3,000 volumes to over 10,000; tho general library from 17,000 to 00,000, containing the McMillau Shakespeare library of 3,000 volumes and other special collections." "The collections in the scientific museum have quadrupled in oxtent. The exhibit which the Chinese government sent to the exposition at New Orleans was presented to us in 1885. The art gallery has been enriched by inany git'ts. Especially worthy of inention are the casts of all the works of the sculptcy, Kandolph Itogers, and the large colelction of pietures bequeathed by the late Henry C. l.i' wis." "Iïut the ehanges in the range and the methode of instruction are even moro striking and important than the increase in the buildings, in teachers, students and in the apparatus of the University. The two professional schools, that oí medicine, and that of law. had in 1871 two cöurses of six inonths eaeh. Nów they as well as all the other professional schools, have ternis of nino months. And as lias before been pointed out, the department of medicine and surgery is henceforth to requirc four years' study of medicine as the condition of graduation. Mach more drill work is done than formerly in all the professional schools. In medicine the laboratory processes are resorted to in niany of the branches. Laboratories are employed in the instruction in histology, phyeiology, electro-therapeutics, bacteriology, pathology, materia medica and toxicology. Instruction is no long - er in inethods mainly didactic and descriptive, but experimental and scientific." j "In the department of literature, seience and the arts, the ehanges made in twenty years amount almost to a revolution. The requirements for admission have been materially increased. For admlssion to the course leading to the degree of A. B., there are asked bevond what was asked in 1S71, three more books of the Aenied, solid and spherical geometry, physies and botany. For eutrance on the Ph. B. course the same additional re(juirements are. made, and also two years' work cither in French or German. For admission to the scientific courses the requirements have been increased by the addition of Lat in, a modern language, physics, solid and spherical geometry, elementary worb in botany and in two other sciences. A new course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Letters has been established. We may say that the requirements for admission to the courses leading to the degrees of Ph. B. and B. S. have been increased by at least a full ycar's work, and those for entrance upon the classical course by two-thirds of a year. The accomplishment of this result was possible only through the most hearty co-operAtion and lofty aims of the high schools." "The scope and the variety of the instruction have been grcatly enlarged In 1871, there wcre 57 courses of instruction given. In the last calendar no less than 378 courses were announced. In every branch taught in 1871, there has been a very great expansión of the work. For instancc whereas then one professor gave all the instruction in English and elocution, now one professor, three assistant professors an done instructor are ernployed; and vrhereas one professor and two instructors gave all the instruction in the modern languages, :4iov two professors and five iostruct ir.s are found necessary. A nimili lacrease of the forcé and of the worl has taken place in other branches The followlng subjecta which wei no taught at all in 1871 now form a par of the curriculum: The science anc ar1 of teaohlng, international law tnusio, sanskrii. Hebrew, Assyrian Gothlc, Danish, Norweglan, old Frenen, hyglenic and physlologicq chemistry, and eléctrical engineering Others now treated witli great lul n;'s recetved only slight attention for lnstance, polltieal ecbnomy anc mechanical engineering." "There was tlien 110 laboratory but thé chemical, whereas ïiow we liavc physical, zoölogie al, botanical, histol ogieal, tnorphological, ])tiyiolo;iical hyglenic and engineering laboratoriei opn to collegiate studentB. The lab oratory method of teacliing sclenee has very lai-gcly supplcmenjed the method of teaching merely by text book pr ly lecturoa or by both combinedi" "80 al.so what iscalled the Beminary method of iustruction of advanced Btudents, an adaptation to our -vants oí tlic Germán 'seminar,' has been iutroduced and is largely used by us. lts advantages in promoting habits of research and independent study are very great. I am not aware that it was so early introduced at any other American University as liere." "The elective system %vhich was used only in a very limited degree in 1871, has been for several years much more widely applied, and, as we believe, to the great advantage of both studenta and teachers. Speaking broad!y, we may say that except for studnts of engineering, about one-half the studies required for' graduation are pnescribed, and about one-half may be ehosen. In some courses the ratio of prescribed to optionnl studies is a, littlc Ji'ss tlian one-half; in others a littlc more. This use of the cleetive system has coaduced 1o the interest, heartiness and success of the work of students, and so to their manliness and induwt ry, and to the good order of the University. It has aleo strengthened the interests and also strengt honed the interests and frtendly relations bet ween studrnts and professors." "Closely connected with the adoption of the electivo system was the fixing of a certain amount of work rather than the pursuit of studies here for a certain period iu a passable rnanner, as the condition of grad.uatiou. Tlmt ehange was made yeara ago, and iias proved to be benefieial It has enabled strong students to complete their course iu a shorter period than four year.s without being held back by those who needed or desired more time thau tliey. They have then been permitted to take up at once gradúate studies or enter upon professional studies, and thus to time in their prepara tioii for lite." 'It is perliaps worthy of mention that iu the rniddle of the year 1871-2 in substitutiug voluutary for compulsory attendancc on the service, of prayer in the chapel, we have seen no ï-eason to doubt that the chango was wise. The attendancc II sometimos not as large as could be desired, is always of those who with reverent spirit make the service a genuine commuuion with God and a means of devout refreshiug of the. soul. Several institutions have imitated our cxample and made attendance upon prayer voluntary." "Some changes in undergraduate student s in twenty years are observable. They are younger by a full year or more on the average when they come here. The ability to enter the University at an earlier age, iu spite of the increased requirements for admission, is duc to two causes: First, the schools are bettcr than they were; and secoudly, the more prosperous condition of the parents makes it less generally necessary than it was for the youth to spend years in earning the means to gain a college education. This increased prosperity of t he párente is manifest In a somewhat more gencrous style of life on the part of many studcnts than prevailed 20 years ago. In some individual cases this brings its perils to young men, but happily the general style of student life still remains simple and inexpensive compared with that of some eastern institutions. If this should be otherwise it would be a subject of resret." "I think all who knew the University twenty years ago and who know it now, will say that the moráis and rnanncrs and spirit of good order are better now tlian they were then. Tluere ia less vice. There is a nicer sense of decorum. There is an entire absence of the spirit of petty mischief about the buildings and the grounds. No precautions are now nccessary. The relations of students and faculties, between whoni there used to be not a little unpleasant friction, are now a!uiost ideally good. Not that our University community has reached sainthood or perfect ■wisdom or absolute self-control under all circumstances. It is made up of persons of an age at which the blood is hot, the sympathies aro quick, the lungs are etrong. Waves of excitement times Buddenly d'rowo their masón for the moment, and their feelings find cu! ín k'inonstrations more expresgive than wlse, lint theyhavea keen selise oí justice ana at heart a love íor whal i.s right. Uuder tactful lcading lli y soou return to their normal state, regret their místakes, and can be thoroughly trusted in their assurances for tlie future. The great masa oí them have the spirit of earnest work. Notliing is more erroneous than the opinión soraetinies expressed that the moral sentiinents of great bodies óf students are below those of society aboiit them. On the coatrary, f rom no single class of young raen- the women are by common consent left out ol tliis discussion- could hundreds be ossembled and left so largely to thémeelves as students are, who would maintain so high a moral standard of Ufe and ac-tiou. Nêver w.is tb emoral and intelleetual elevatidn of Btudeiits in American colleges and universlties higher than it is io-day. And in none of our large iustitutions, 1 beliove, Is it higher than it is among the great company gathered here." . "Among the more striking chauges of the last twenty years is the increase in the number of gradúate students of the literary department. In 1871 there were six. Last year there wefe ninety-five. The higher degrees have for years been given only ou examination. This pursuit of advanced studies by so many is a large step towards the building up of genuine university work and is a most encouraging fact." "One of the most important features in the development of the university during the period under consideration is the streugthening of itü relations with preparatory schools. The plan of receiving students 'on diploma' pr certifícate rom schools which have been visited and appi-oved, wns first put in execution in 1870, and studcnts were first received in 1871. ïhc nuniber oï schools froni which studehts were then received were few. The numbur from which students could be received on diploma last year was 82. Several of these schools are outside of the state. If we consider either the effect on the schools or on the University it would probably be just to say' that no act of the üniversity luis in the last twenty years been rnore servieeable than the careful development of tlie policy, by whieh it has brought itself into so close and fruitful relations with the preparatory schools in this state and with sonie in ïuighboring states." "It may wdl be imagined that the. important changes iu the inetuod oí work in the literary dcpartment have not been made without prolonged and careful consideration and discussion by the literary faculty. I desire to beur witneiss to the intelligence, ■arnestness and devotion with whieh the faculty havo ahvays given themselves to the study of the iutricate problema of university educatlon, and to the conciliatory and harmonieus .spirit in which they have acted. Whlle every proposition for innovations on old usages has been most thoroughly examined, and while in so largo a body differences of opinión on many subjects must necessarily exist, it lias been an unwritten law of that body which has seldoni been disregarded that no important step should be taken until it liad been approved with substantial unanimity. Wlien it was thus decided to act, action was taken with courage and persistence. To this spirit in the literary faculty is the success of the literary departmbnt or the last twenty years largely due." "In reviewing the history of thq "niversity one is impressed with the chauges which have occurred in the aeulties in the last two decades. Of the thirty-six names upon our roll of eaehers in the calendar of 1S70-1 nly seven appear in our calendar of 1S90-1. One, Professor Adams, s now president of Cornell University. Three, Professors Wood, Tyler and Merriman, are connected with the faculties of other institutions. I-'iiteen, nearly one-half of the whole number, ïave been removed by leatli, namely: Professors Frieze, "Williams, Sager,. )ouglas, Pitcher, Palmer, "Winchell, Campbell, Watson, Olney, Cocker, H. S. Cheever, Crosby, Morris and E. Jones. Eich indeed was theüniversity that had such men to lose. Her greatness to-day is largely due to what they did for her. The memory of their character and services she will ever cherish as among her most precious possession." ""Whilo we cannot but be gratified by the growth of the University during the last twenty years we also observe with great satisfactiou that there has been a rapid development of the state universities generally throughout the west. Their progresa and we may say, in the case of almost every one, their assured success are proofs that the principie on which this institution was founded is sound, and rnake it reasonably certain that the great universities of the west, and southwest are as a rule to be those established and supported by the state. They have all frequently and gratefully testified to the hclpful influence of this university upon their Ufe. They have in large degree followed our methods. In their C0SB and In their great promise we can heartily rejoice. From their incrcasing strength we also draw strength. Every state irom Ohio to California and from North Dakota to Texas now has its state university. Somö of these institutions have encountered grcat difficulties and bittr opposltion. But in almost every state of the west the state university g the best endowed, the best equipped, and the most numerously attended institution of higher education in the state. The objections raised to them at the outset have proved to be in the main groundless. The states are committed to their support by the large expenditures already made upon them and by the power of public sentiment ■which naturally looks with favor on universities that offer the best type of higher education in arts, in technology and in the professions, almost without money and without price to every young man and every young ivoman. While in the east the higher education will continueto be furnished by institutions resting on private enijowments, in the west and the south■west, though similarly endowed colImvs will furnish and do a useful work, the great universities will almost exclusively be those sustained by the states. We may without boas'.ing, cherish the belief that the success of this University has contributed not a little to secure the beneficent regult, that over three-fourths of our land the states are to furnish iorever almost free of cost to the student, the best education with which to prepare him for every worthy pursuit. If it is not without gratcful appreciation that Michigan sees what this University has done for her own sons and daughters, it is not without just pride that she may see what the University lias done also for spreading the Jlichigan ideal of higher education over all the vast región stretching irom her to the Pacific."