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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/182

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The qualifications demanded of a college president are different in different places. In some institutions the head is purely an executive officer, with no teaching to do; in others he must fill a professor's chair also. On the one hand, a man of general scholarship, breadth of view, and executive ability is called for; on the other, special familiarity with some particular branch of learning must be added to the requirements. To find all these qualifications united in one individual is by no means easy. A man of one ability is easily found at any time; but men of many abilities, at once both versatile and thorough, are scarce. In any case, the college president, to be a successful manager, must have tact; he must have executive capacity and force; he must be business-like in his methods, he must command the confidence and respect of trustees, teachers, students, alumni, and of the community in which he lives; he must be a good judge of men; and he must have the training which only experience can give. Failing in any one of these qualifications he is liable to fail altogether, for the strength of the whole chain is but that of its weakest link. He must have public confidence, in order to attract public support; he must be in harmony with the faculty, or things will go at loose ends; if the students dis-trust him, discipline can not be maintained. When vacancies occur in the teaching force, he will have great influence in filling them; hence he must be familiar with scholarship in its various phases, and able to decide upon the relative merits of different candidates. Finally, he must be thoroughly acquainted with college routine, clear in his views concerning courses of study and methods of instruction, up in all matters relating to marks, examinations, discipline, and the like. He should have high ideals, and at the same time be neither a doctrinaire nor a dreamer.

The fact that most of the older American colleges were founded with religious ends in view has had much to do in determining the appointment of college presidents. Plainly, if the chief function of the schools is to train clergymen, they should be controlled by clergy-men; and so they have been controlled almost universally. If a Baptist college needs a president, some Baptist clergyman is chosen; a Presbyterian college puts a Presbyterian minister at its head, and so on. That this state of affairs has naturally come about no one can deny, but whether it is any longer a legitimate condition is questionable. The functions of the college are broader than they were a century ago; it no longer aims chiefly to feed the ministry, but seeks rather to send cultivated men and women into all walks of life. Hence, although a minister may be an efficient college president, he should not be appointed because he is a minister, but for other reasons distinctly. Just here an example may have value. A few years ago a popular clergy-man was elected president of a well-known college. Within a year his popularity was gone, and students, professors, and trustees were alike dissatisfied. The reason was simple. The new head was a