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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 61/September 1902/Discussion and Correspondence

DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE.

ARE FELLOWSHIPS ALMSGIVING OR INVESTMENTS?

To the Editor:—In his admirable article, 'University Building,' in the August number of The Popular Science Monthly, President Jordan has made some assertions that seem in a measure contradictory, and which may tend to retard the very spirit of research which he so heartily commends.

He says: "The whole system of fellowships for advanced students is on trial, with most of the evidence against it. The students paid to study are not the ones who do the work. When they are such they would have done the work unpaid. The fellowship system tends to turn science into almsgiving, to make the promising youth feel that the world owes him a living." Mr. Carnegie's gift of $10,000,000, for the promotion of research work, will scarcely engender a spirit of pauperism among scientists who are enabled by this means to carry on more extended investigations. On the contrary what a thrill of enthusiasm flashed round the world when the announcement of the gift was made! What a stimulus to the prosecution of advanced work was the recognition of the need of opportunity to work!

Let us contrast the following statements, which occur in the last paragraph of the article, with what has been already quoted: "As men of science are needed, they cannot make themselves. Those with power can help them. This fact has given the impulse to the far reaching gifts of Stanford, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Rhodes. These are not gifts but investments, put to the credit of the country's future. The people too have power. The same feeling of investment has led them to build their state universities and to entrust to them not only the work of personal culture but of advancement in literature, science and arts."

If Dr. Jordan regards the fellowship system as a kind of almsgiving, bestowed needlessly, and as developing undue arrogance in the promising student, how can he commend the acceptance of the munificent gifts of Stanford, Rockefeller and Rhodes? Is not the bestowal of a fellowship likewise an investment which stimulates and helps the individual, just as the larger gifts help the whole people?

Mrs. W. A. Kellerman.
Columbus, Ohio.