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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/181

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THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY.

pathies and emphasizes our common interests, not that which forms an exclusive clique. On the whole the sciences in their application to human life seem more likely to form an adequate basis for a common culture than the dead languages. But intellectual training demands specialization, whereas the emotions are more nearly shared in equal measure by all. Civic life or art, if we but had a native art, seems to be a better basis for common culture than any special sort of knowledge.

In my opinion the university is or should be a group of professional schools, giving the best available preparation for each trade and profession. It is more feasible to give such training than to teach culture or research. These, like the building of character, are not the result of any particular kind of curriculum. Culture comes from daily and immediate association with the best that the world has; and this should be found at the university. The leader is born a leader; what the university can do is to give him an opportunity. The kind of research that may be taught to the second-rate man is not the highest ideal of the university. The presumption is that the new facts recorded by the student are unimportant; just because they are new and discovered by the student. But if by research we mean the discovery of new truth and the creation of new lines of activity, then research is indeed the highest function of the university. When we find the man who can advance knowledge and the applications of knowledge to human welfare, be he student or professor, him we should all serve and reverence. But we do a grievous wrong if we assume that this man is found, and should be found, only in the faculty of philosophy. I am glad that our great leader, President Eliot, in his address at the inauguration of President Remsen, emphasized particularly the forward movement made by the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Not because it requires for entrance the equivalent of the bachelor's degree, but because we have there the best specialized training, united with the highest culture and the freest research, it will become and has become the model for our medical schools, and for our schools of law, theology and technology. So long as we must have degrees, let the A.B., the A.M., the M.D. or other professional degrees, and the Ph.D., each mean, according to its measure, culture, expert training and independent research.

 

The general public doubtless regards the university as simply a place for the teaching of students, and there may be some justification for this opinion in the actual state of affairs. But over the doorway of the building in which is my laboratory of psychology we have inscribed the words 'For the advancement of natural science.' Historically the university has been far more than a school for boys. In