Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/182

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

medieval Italy, France and Germany, men of maturity, usually attracted by a great personality, came together for mutual stimulus. The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge were monasteries for learned men before they became boarding schools. It may be our part here in America to develop the true university: A place where each would gladly learn and gladly teach; open summer and winter, night and day; a center in each community for the conservation of the best traditions and for the origination of the newest ideas; closely in touch with every forward movement of civic and national life; a home from which will go out, and to which will return, our leaders in every department of human activity. Twenty-five years ago perhaps only an Eliot or a Gilman could have realized the future of the American Univeristy, but to-day even the man in the street must have some vague notion of its possibilities. Our college presidents and professors are called upon for the most important and difficult public functions. When New York City needs its leading citizen it finds him in the presidential chair of Columbia University. When Mr. Cleveland retires from public life, he allies himself with a university. There is no other office so fit for a past president of the United States as the presidency of a university.

The university is those who teach and those who learn and the work they do. The progress of the university depends on bringing to it the best men and leading them to do the best work. Our president, Mr. Remsen, in his admirable inaugural address, told us that the chief function of the university president is to find the right man, and his chief difficulty the lack of enough such men to go round. He considered the question of how far an increased salary would add to the supply of good men. I quite agree with Mr. Remsen that a professor will do about the same kind of work whether his salary is $4,000 or $10,000. If anywhere, in the university it should be to each according to his needs, from each according to his ability. The professor who must live in a city or who has children to educate should be given the necessary income. He should have an adequate pension in old age or in case of disablement; the university should insure his life in a sufficient sum to provide an income for his wife and minor children. The professorial chair can be made attractive by freedom, responsibility and dignity, rather than by a large salary. Still it must be remembered that we live in a commercial age, and men are esteemed in accordance with their incomes. While it may not, or at all events should not, matter greatly to the professor, it may be well for the community that those who do the most for it should be paid on the same scale as those of equal ability in other professions. It may not be necessary to double the salaries of all university men, but it would probably be desirable to have certain prizes that would represent to the