In so far as they have done so, their dictatorial power has been both harmless and useless. The professor is, as a rule, a free man, even though he may be looked upon as a fetus shut up in an incubator. The type of professor, who is exclusively concerned with settling 'the doctrine of the enclitic De', or with distinguishing one beetle from another, survives on the stage and in novels, rather than at the university. In the scientific departments, at least, executive ability of a high order is needed for the conduct of a laboratory or the prosecution of research; and the demand is fully met. The university could not continually supply presidents and administrators of all kinds were there not a large supply of material. It has been said that university faculties are poor legislative bodies; if true, this would not be surprising, so long as their deliberations are confined to discussing questions such as whether they shall wear gowns at commencement, the decision being with the trustees. I believe that the university community is competent to direct the policy and administration of the university and will soon do so.
In these remarks I have used the freedom of speech that a teacher may claim; but it has certainly not been my intention to run amuck through our educational system. The man of science is by profession an optimist. None can write the equation giving the world's trajectory, but I believe that we are moving along an ascending curve. Never before has the average intelligence been so high, never before has a civilization been so securely established. Nor, I trust, are great men lacking. They say that we are failing in art and in literature; but those who are at the foot of a rainbow can see only the fog. In science and in other great departments of human activity progress is at a geometrical ratio. I also believe in the present and in the future of this democracy. Not only is the average well-being of the individual higher than elsewhere or hitherto, but we are contributing and shall increasingly contribute to political, business and educational organization; we are contributing and shall increasingly contribute to science, to scholarship and to art. The knowledge and the culture of the world have been freely given to us; it is our part to return them with usury. While in the energy of our pride we lord it over land and sea, we shall discover the truth, the beauty and the righteousness that lie hidden everywhere:
In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection.