Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/754

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rather than aided. I know a well-known naturalist who twenty years ago was dropped from the rolls of one of our State universities; not because he was idle or vicious or inattentive, but because he spent too much of his time studying birds, and did not keep up with his classmates in some of the conventional requirements in mathematics or Latin. The college had no use for bird knowledge, but it came out strong on irregular verbs. And so, like hundreds of others, this man went away, and carried on his own studies in his own fashion. And others similarly situated, with aspirations in science or literature, history or engineering, went away or stayed away, and grew up untouched by the higher education of their times. The elective system provides for such as these. It not only gives a new impulse to the students' work, but it brings a new body of students under collegiate influences.

Nothing in our educational history has been more remarkable than the increase in numbers of students in our principal colleges, and the corresponding increase in influence of these schools within the last ten years. Yet nothing is more evident than the fact that these students are not going to college in the old-fashioned sense. The old-fashioned college ideals are not rising in value; but new possibilities of training and the inspiration of modern thought bring to the university all sorts and conditions of men and women whose predecessors twenty years ago would not have thought of entering an American college. Where old educational ideas still reign, be the college rich or poor, there is no increase in numbers nor in influence. Unless a college education involves the emancipation of thought, unless it gives something to think about, it has no place in the educational system of the future. The future of our country will rest with college men, because the college of the future will meet the needs of all men of power, and draw them to its walls.

Scientific men have no interest in the depreciation of literary or classical training. The revolution in our higher education is not a revolt against the classics. It is an appeal from the assumption that the classics furnish the only gate to culture. It asserts the existence of a thousand gates, as many ways to culture as there are types of men. Scientific training asks only for freedom of development, and for the right to be judged by its own fruits.

With the growth of investigation has come the demand for better means of work, better apparatus, more and better books, larger collections, and especially collections for work, not for show or surprise. Better teachers are needed, and more of them. A healthy competition is set up, by which in these later days a man's pay is in some degree proportioned to his power, and the competition for places among half-starved men is changing into a competition for men among; rich and ambitious institutions.