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

 - Class of 1896

Page 27 of 236

 

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1896 Edition, Page 27 of 236
Page 27 of 236



University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1896 Edition, Page 26
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University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1896 Edition, Page 28
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other directions than those possessed by graduates of other institutions. Let us rather consider our proficiency in those lines from which we would have been excluded had our education been obtained elsewhere. The prevalent idea of what should constitute a young man ' s education before he enters actual life is rapidly conforming to the spirit of this scientific age, now but in its infancy. The relative number of scientific and technical schools is on the increase, and the scientific and philosophical courses of our colleges are greatly expanding and receiving wider patronage. We are ready to realize that the conception of a vague, indefinite education which makes the practical sub- sidiary to that which affords culture alone is erroneous. Milton summarizes the essentials of an education when he predicates in one of his essays : " I call, therefore, a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully and magnanimously all his offices, both private and public, of peace and war. " The renowned poet could not have been more appropriate if, having our institution in mind, he had been asked to define its design. For, with its other advantages, the course pre-eminently enlarges those capacities in a man ' s nature which enable him to more fully appreciate the privileges and ex- pectations of citizenship, either as a private denizen or as a public officer. Knowledge is twofold in its usefulness ; for not only is it power, and who that has experienced that sense of conscious potentiality which educated faculties inspire will deny this trite saying, but it is also a source of enjoyment. For, while " Knowledge is bought only with weary care, " it is the experience of all that life is brightened and our happiness greater because of a wider compre- hension of Nature ' s laws and a better understanding of her relations to man. But now let us leave generalizations and inquire into the particular adaptations of our college course. Evidently it is not intended for those who desire to follow a purely literary career. Aside from the fact that it furnishes those prac- tical elements of a man ' s education which are of great importance in any vocation ; it cannot be considered a direct preparation for a career of letters. And unless there are other considerations, those who have in view the ministerial, lawyer ' s and other professions which require the culture of classical erudition to accomplish the best results, would do well to seek preparation at other institutions. Never- theless, the fact that we have successful representatives in those professions, would indicate that the course is by no means inapplicable to them. But if the course is not adapted to theology and law it is particularly congruous to the other one of the " three learned professions. " In fact there is probably no better

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" The College Course as Seen From Q. dual £ife. " Written for the Index by F. S. Hoyt, ' 93. TV HERE is always before every institution a mute but forcible exhibition of the results which it is accomplishing. We refer of course to its alumni list. The graduates of a college are looked upon as its finished product, and collect- ively they indicate the quality of the machinery. The best of machinery may occasionally produce poor specimens owing to flaws in the raw material, but they are exceptional. So, while other considerations concerning the relation of the college to the public engage the attention of the authorities to some extent, from the initial step, the controlling desire of founder and officer of each college is to send out from its doors alumni equipped with accomplishments and actuated by motives which will insure success. Hence there is always a disposition on the part of our college officers to adapt the curriculum to the conditions of the present time. The question before us for discussion is whether the course of the Massachusetts Agricultural College is such as to put its graduates abreast of the times, competent to deal with the conditions awaiting them, as they make their exit from the college world to grapple with the work of life. Our institution being peculiar to itself, cannot be adjudged by the standards established by some recognized leading colleges. But this statement does not imply that a high standard is impossible. In fact it will be shown later in the article that the name of the college is now associated with a high grade of work accomplished. But from its inception our college has fulfilled a mission dis- similar to that of any institution not excepting our sister agricultural colleges. So as alumni we must not disparage our Alma Mater if our attainments are in



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preparation for the study of medicine than that afforded by this course ; for all the subjects which are considered preliminary essentials to this profession are thoroughly studied during the course. This applies also to the departments of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and especially, Veterinary Surgery. These statements, as well as those to come, will be verified by an investigation of the alumni list. From the first, the college seems to have been very fortunate in furnishing a considerable number to the pedagogic profession. They may be found in colleges and schools, in this country and abroad. And when we consider the peculiar qualifications which our graduates have for becoming successful teachers, we only wonder that a larger number are not engaged in this occupation. The mechanical and technical professions rightly claim the larger number of our alumni. Under this head we include all manner of agricultural pursuits. The college was designed primarily to replenish these professions and will ever continue faithful to its trust. Those of our alumni who have gone back to the farm or engaged in market-gardening have found their incomes larger and their situation in life higher because of their advantages at the college. While making a specialty of no one trade or pursuit, the course lays a broad foundation for them all. Those who graduate and enter upon studies in Chemistry or Engineering find that their general knowledge materially increases their success. More than that, this preliminary education prevents the narrowness of the mind which the concentration of study in the technical school tends to effect. The recognized standing of our institution among the colleges and universities of the land is gratifying to every alumnus and of great advantage to those who will engage in higher studies elsewhere. The college diploma admits to post- graduate work, without examination, in any college or university ; and those who have availed themselves of these opportunities, have done credit to themselves and to their Alma Mater. It is with no uncertain tone that we commend to the undergraduates the ad- vantages of the course which is now engaging their time. The four years of college life, fleeting as they are pleasant, will enrich their lives and invite pros- perity. And when they come to the test in the untried experiences of life, they will ever gratefully acknowledge the worth of their advantages while members of the Massachusetts Agricultural College.

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