University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA)

 - Class of 1888

Page 57 of 152

 

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1888 Edition, Page 57 of 152
Page 57 of 152



University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1888 Edition, Page 56
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University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1888 Edition, Page 58
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Page 57 text:

INDEX. study animal life from the insect to the leader of the herd. He knows the animals which are man ' s allies, and those forms of life which are the enemy of human endeavor. Then for himself does he gain familiarity with the physical forces which dominate the world. Heat, light, electricity, gravitation, chemical affinity, display themselves daily before his eyes, trained to scientific observation, and are made daily subject to his personal will. He knows how to master these, and he knows also how these servants, if they are defied, crush with omnipotent power and remorseless energy any one who ignores their true nature. He learns constantly by experience that the laws of nature and material things are so rela.ted that those relations may be expressed in mathematical formulie. To retain and utilize his discov- eries he studies mathematics, and records what he has learned. To make the best use of his knowledge, he finds that he must commu- nicate it to others ; so he draws a picture of the insect, the flower, or the house, and that he may do it well, he studies drawing. But the picture needs explanation, so he learns to write, good, plain English; and that he may do it thoroughly, he studies rhetoric. But he finds that his ideas, if they are new, are disputed; he therefore practices debating, so that he may dare stand up befoi-e men and defend his opinions. To do this well he studies English literature to see how other men have expressed their ideas. He finds a knowledge of words necessary; he studies Latin and French enough to comprehend, and so fix the more tenaciously in mind that large vocabulary of English words, scientific and technical, that come to us from the Latin and through the Frenc h. But the more he learns of things in this manner, the more does he become conscious of his power over nature. He finds himself not a mere atom of the universe, but an individual person, capable of knowing and controlling nature. But can he control himself. Why are his fingei ' s stiff and his eyes weak, and his ears dull.? Why does his brain refuse to work, and his stomach rebel.? Here military drill, and the study of physiology and psychology help him. Four years in uniform do wonders for the boy of fifteen or sixteen. The discipline straightens his shoulders, expands his chest, gives him a manly bearing, and teaches practically two very important lessons, attention and obedience, thus fitting him to be a leader and commander of men. Physiology teaches him how to take care of his body, and psychology how to understand, develop, and use to the best advantage his own mind. Thus does he grow in self-knowledge and self- mastery, and so does he fit himself to be master of circumstances and master of men. But there are in this world such things as trade and politics, both of which have much to do with material things and the individual man : hence to succeed the student needs to know something of political econ- omy and of constitutional history, that he may adjust himself to the social

Page 56 text:

INDEX. il e F eVi ed 6oop 0 of ghady at bf e A.CI.6. THE time once was when the possession of a college diploma secured for its owner a position which aftorded a livelihood ; hut that time has passed. The world no longer asks of a young man, Where did you graduate? but simply, What can you do? Nor is the world satisfied with a mere verbal reply to this query — it demands deeds, not words. What are you? What have you done? These are the questions which must be answered satisfactorily by any young man before he can be trusted with affaii-s of importance. The university has its place as an institution for the increase of the world ' s stock of knowledge ; but for the practical purposes of life knowl- edge must net be the end, but the instrument. Without attempting to rival the universities, or even the classical colleges, the trustees and faculty of the Massachusetts Agricultural College have endeavored to i-evise the course of study so that at a moderate expense of time and money the young men of the State, who choose to avail themselves of the opportu- nity, may secure a practical education that will fit them for efficient service in their own sphere of life. The one object aimed at is to give the student the mastery of himself and of his environment. The principle is that he should study things themselves, rather than descriptions of things found on the printed page or sketched by the hand of the artist. The things of which knowledge is sought at first hand are the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal king- doms, natural forces, and the laws which control them. The earth itself is studied — its rocks, its physical features, its soils, its pastures and forests, its fields and gardens, — studied by means of the student ' s own senses, not by committing to memory what some one else has learned, or imagined that he has learned, and has written in a book. He uses his own eyes, ears, and hands. In the same way he studies the plants that grow up out of the ground before his eyes — plants that he himself has raised from the seed in field, and garden, and hot-house. He knows the plant from germ- cell to fruit, for he has himself seen it with his own eyes. Thus does he



Page 58 text:

INDEX. system as well as to the physical system. This knowledge is gained dur- ing Senior year. Finally, there is a sphere of morals as well as of nature. The moral law is a factor — a very essential factor — that must be considered in its relation to natural law, if success is to be assured. This age demands not only smart men, but honest ones — men who can be depended on in a crisis to resist bribery, dishonor, injustice; to remain faithful unto death, whether his hand be on the lever of the locomotive, the wheel of the steamship, or the helm of State. It is not improper, therefore, that the best book of morals should be read daily in the room adjoining the chem- ical laboratory, and that the gospel should be preached in the library building, which is at the same time the chapel, whose spire points heaven- ward from the midst of gardens, fertile fields, and a smiling landscape. w. tM " '

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