Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/327

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The election of Professor Ira Remsen to the presidency of the Johns Hopkins University has been received with general approval, and will be particularly gratifying to those who have been connected with the University as students or teachers and to men of science throughout the country. The Johns Hopkins University was incorporated in 1867; the founder died in 1873, and a year later Dr. D. C. Gilman was elected to the presidency. When the University opened its first session in 1876, Dr. Gilman had secured the services of a small but notable group of professors, of whom, since the lamented death of Rowland, but two remain—Professor Remsen and Professor Gildersleeve. President Gilman and his associates, freed somewhat from traditions and from the need of conducting a school for boys, erected at Baltimore a true university, distinctly in advance of any other American institution, except possibly Harvard, then just becoming subject to the influence of President Eliot—like Remsen, a professor of chemistry. In spite of the loss of a great part of its endowment, due not to carelessness on the part of the trustees but to the dictates of the founder, the Johns Hopkins University has maintained its position, and in the establishment of its medical school in 1893 has accomplished for medical education what had been accomplished earlier for university work. In the development of the university. Professor Remsen has always been President Gilman's chief associate and adviser, and is his natural successor. Remsen was graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1865 and received his M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, two years later. Studying abroad, he was made assistant in chemistry in Tübingen and was afterwards professor in Williams College, till his removal to the Johns Hopkins University in 1876. He has been given the LL.D. by Columbia and Princeton; is the foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of many scientific societies. In his chemical laboratory and in 'The American Chemical Journal,' Professor Remsen has always upheld and forwarded the best ideals of research. As president of the Johns Hopkins University, he represents the highest type of educational leadership.


Questions of academic freedom and the relations of university professors to authority are fully as troublesome abroad as in this country. It might be supposed that our system would work badly. The faculties have very little power, the authority being lodged in an absentee board of trustees and a president with almost absolute power; the trustees being usually and the presidents often men of affairs rather than scholars. The state universities are subject to political control, and the private universities are generally denominational and always dependent on the charity of patrons. Yet thanks to common sense and an appreciation of the importance of individual freedom, the university professor has in America a reasonably satisfactory status. There is little or no interference with the conduct of his department; his advance-