WHAT MAKES A COLLEGE?
are worrying about petty non-economies in routine administration, they are not getting down to essentials. They are rather distorting our perspective and confusing issues and values. We must demand more serious scholarship on the part of our students. And there is no surer way of getting it than to have more of it ourselves. We wish our students to develop true moral perspective. Again, there is no surer way for them to acquire it than to come into intellectual contact with men and women who have it. We get breadth of view only by widening the windows of the mind, not by crystal-gazing, however clear our crystal may be. The world needs to-day as much as ever it did a far-sighted, intelligent, self-directive morality. Never before, perhaps, have college faculties so needed capacity intelligently to weigh values, economic, political, social, moral, religious. Never before have they so needed actual contact with the world, needed to take personal part in the social, economic and political conflicts that are certainly determining now, over again, whether the country, this time both north and south, shall be free or slave, oligarchy or true democracy. The colleges have been able to forget, they have revolved about in a beautiful utopian individualism of class culture and personal salvation until the universities, the trade unions, the socialistic propaganda, the muck-raking magazines and even the yellow journals have called it to their attention—they have been able to forget that humanity crucified on a reckless industrialism is as tragic a thing as Christ crucified on the cross. We must have pragmatism of service to balance pragmatism of truth. In both cases that is worth while which works. Personality is much, loyalty and integrity are much, but neither personality, nor integrity, nor broad loyalty, can develop properly in the absence of capacity to see all the elements of modern life in something like their true values, amid the shifting lights of a rapid and complex evolution. True scholarship would help to develop this capacity. It would bring us nearer to seeing life clearly and seeing it whole—and truthfully.
The faculty makes the college. Scholarship and experience make the faculty. But scholarship and experience depend in the long run upon wealth and income. They have their material basis in the dollar. Even in education we can not escape the economic foundations of history. The American public can have just as good colleges as it is willing to pay for; and if it is willing to pay reasonably for efficient service here, as it pays lavishly elsewhere, it will find that nowhere else does a dollar purchase so much real utility. The public is abundantly able to pay for better colleges. It simply has not realized that the development and maintenance of ability costs money; nor has it yet a sufficiently high ideal of what the college should be and do. Least of all have many of the colleges themselves the right idea of what makes a real college.