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consider that Germany is bathed in an atmosphere of music and art. The poorest " Strassenjunge " of Berlin, despite his poverty, has more opportunity for becoming familiar with the great masters than our average student of moderate means. Since our Alma Mater offers you nothing in these lines, there is even greater reason wliy each should embrace every opportunity for such culture which circumstances may afford. No one will deny that the artist and the musician aid by their great creations in making the world brighter and better. Their vocation is, then, an honorable and useful one, and he who refers to that side of education as merely " ornamental " must fail to see the true relations of life in their fullest grandeur. There is another side of education which in this great and growing republic should receive a due measure of attention. A great political responsibility rests upon each young man who enjoys a liberal education. Political trickery is not compatible with true patriotism; and patriotism in politics is one of the greatest needs of today. Every American student should be familiar with the mechanism of government, and should be preparing to form ideas of his own on the tariff, finance, and the question of governmental control of the telegraph, telephone, express, and railways, the management of the public lands, the remedy for trusts, monopolies, and in relation to the great social problems, upon the right solution of which hinges in a large degree the future welfare of our nation. In preparation for these duties the college should help you much, but you have an organization of your own where an invaluable training is to be had, and that organiza- tion is the Washington Irving Literary Society. It is with intense regret that we read in the columns of the Aggie Life that the interest has been at times at a " low ebb. " Go into the legislative halls of our various States and see how few of the men who are sent there to represent the people are able to stand on their feet and express themselves intelligibly and in a manner that will command attention ! Do not therefore waste this opportunity, which may never return, but inform yourselves on the important topics of the times and take an active part in every debate. The time thus spent will prove to have been wisely invested. Success in life is often largely determined by the social qualities of the man, and where advantages for such culture are few they should not be scorned, but faculty and students should cooperate in their efforts to supply this essential to true culture. In view of our present means of rapid communication and the consequent impetus to travel and to trade, and in consideration of the scientific and literary achievements of other nations, the modern languages are coming to play a more important part than ever before. It is therefore more than ever the aim of our progressive colleges to give their students a practical and working knowledge of the modern languages. We believe that such a knowledge can be obtained only by recourse to the conversational method, and that thereby it is possible to economize the time of professor and student. It is a poor system of teaching chemistry or botany under which the theoretical precedes the practical laboratory work. They should proceed hand in hand. And it is none the less 44
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H Doicc from the Hlumni IN taking up the pen of the " Alumnus " it is not our intention to laud our Alma Mater nor to enter into an analysis of the battle of life and portray to our undergraduate successors the disappointments and difficulties which have beset the attempted attainment of our ideals. For you who are preparing for the first step into the arena of active life it is important to recognize that you are enjoying perhaps the greatest opportunity which it will ever be yours to seize. It behooves you, therefore, to be diligent searchers after the true, the noble, and the beautiful. Strive to acquire that ideal education which is not merely the acquisition of facts, but the drawing out and cultivation of the social, intellectual, and spiritual qualities of man. To this end it is a question eminently worthy of the consideration of students, alumni, faculty, and trustees whether the lines along which we are mutually working are conducive to the greatest results. As students, whether during the vacations or the period of regular duties, it should be the aim of each to grasp each varied opportunity for development, and the alumni, trustees, and friends of the college should be alert in attempting to supply opportunities in accord with the progressive spirit of the times. The leading colleges of the country are coming to recognize the value of systematic physical culture, for mental attainment is in a large degree dependent upon physical conditions. Military drill and manvial labor, though excellent, can never supersede systematic gymnasium practice, and a well equipped gymnasium with a director in charge is today one of the greatest needs of our Alma Mater. It is to be hoped that through private or public munificence this want may soon be supplied. Until then, students, make the most of what you have. The atmosphere which dailv surrounds the student is a mighty factor in his educa- tion, and since music and art lend so much to life, it is to be regretted that they do not play a greater part in our life as a people. Our students should cultivate a taste for each, in order that their homes may be more attractive and have a better educational influence than those from which they came. . We are apt to recognize in too small a degree the powerful influence of our surroundings. The child becomes unconsciously like those with whom it associates. The boy under the influence of the master becomes himself the musician, the poet, or the artist. It may well-nigh be said that every German is by nature an artist or a musician ; and yet this is not strange when we 43
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true that a method of teaching the modern languages which compels the student tO ' master a certain portion of the grammar before he learns the practical application of it in both translation and conversation, is entirely out of place in our present educational system. Let us, brother alumni, push our Alma Mater to the front by urging the adoption of modern, progressive methods. The natural sciences should of necessity be one of the strongest features of the college, and we should not be content till our Library contains the best of our own and foreign scientific journals, for without them it is impossible for the professors to keep ' abreast of the progress in their several lines, or to make their students familiar with the scientific literature, which of itself is an essential part of their education. The time has passed when a man could absorb a certain amount of scientific knowledge and deal it out to his students year after year. The best way to keep in touch with the progress of the times is to have a hand in the work being done. If in all of our departments some original work could be in progress, the students would catch the spirit of investigation,, and would not leave college with the idea that there is a limit to progress along certain lines of study, but that everywhere, and especially in the sciences, the range of possibility seems limitless. In order to accomplish this, the system of overloading each professor with routine work must be avoided. Germany would not be known in the world of science if her professors were loaded with the routine drudgery to which our professors are subjected. If the space at disposal permitted, we would gladly enter into some of the details of progress at our Alma Mater, for we appreciate highly the efforts of our President, who has devoted himself so successfully to the upbuilding of the Library, and the professors and trustees who have faithfully striven for the welfare of our institution- It is always well when possible to look back over work accomplished, for it serves oft as an inspiration to renewed effort, and the mistakes of the past are often guides to future successes. May the organization of the alumni clubs of the West, of Boston, and of New York,, be only the beginning of the expressions of loyalty to our Alma Mater! Let every alumnus be aroused with a new spirit of patriotism ! Let us acquaint ourselves with educational methods elsewhere, that with liberal views we may put our shoulders squarely to the wheel and push our Alma Mater and the cause of Agricultural and Industrial! Education to the front. ALUMNUS. 45
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