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to the development of athletics and the introduction of the gymnasium. Vent is thus given to the exuberant vitality of youth and the way has thus been prepared for the more wholesome and manly sentiments which now prevail in most colleges concerning such disorders and riot. We welcome the change and would gladly make it complete and permanent. So let us not mistake that which is exceptional, that which is trivial, or that which is unworthy for the main business which we have in hand. And let us all unite in a common purpose and an earnest endeavor to make our own lives and the general life of the college clean, manly and industrious.
You who have come to college are picked men. You have been selected for leadership. You can be prepared for the unusual opportunities and responsibilities which await you only by faithful work. Your time is too valuable to be squandered in loafing or frivolity.
You need it for your daily work and you will find it none too long to make sure that your friends will not be disappointed in the great ends which have brought you here. The college boy becomes a man, not before but during his student days. The fiber and the stamina of his future years depend on the grit and selfcontrol which he throws into his college life. He will meet new temptations, but the same prudence and restraint which he has learned by practice at home will keep him upright and safe from wrong here.
One of the differences between the college life of to-day and that of former times consists in the greater freedom which is now given to students. You have been amused at the codes of minute college laws which used to be published. But the present freedom of students consists not merely in release from surveillance, in determining so largely for themselves how they will pass their time, what their interests and who their asso
ciates shall be, and numerous details relating to their personal conduct, but also in the choice of subjects of study and in forming opinions on moral social and religious subjects.
When students entered college a generation ago, they found a course of study prescribed for them which gave no opportunity for selection of studies, and which consisted principally of those branches that were believed to possess the highest disciplinary value. The classics and mathematics were held to be nearly all that preparatory schools and colleges needed to teach. The analysis of words, the construction of sentences in their minor shades of difference, and wrestling with intricate problems were considered the true work of the student. By these things his accuracy of thought, strength of reasoning, fairness of judgment and keenness of insight would be developed.
Let us not undervalue what the col
lege did for its students thirty or forty years ago. It laid firm hold of the great truth that intellectual strength is better than mere acquisitions. It inculcated it with every lesson. But there are other important things. While discipline is a fundamental purpose in education, it is intimately related to certain subordinate ends which must not be overlooked. The mind, like the body, grows strong by vigorous exercise. In the gymnasium you raise the vaulting bar inch by inch to train yourself to jump as high as you can. Intellectual strength comes not so much by a dull routine as by intense and earnest effort. As far as possible we should be interested in what we study; we should see its relation and its uses. The knowledge to be gained should be such as will be devoured with avidity. Hence the value of the elective system of studies which is now, in one form or another, incorporated into the work of all American colleges.
Form the habit of interesting yourselves thoroughly in your work. Cuvier, when a student, was one day walking along the beach in his native Normandy when he observed a cuttlefish lying stranded on a hillock of sand. Attracted by the curious object, he took it home to dissect, working for weeks upon it, and thus began the study of mollusks which ended in his becoming the most eminent scientist of his day. Hugh Miller's curiosity was excited by certain remarkable traces of extinct sea-animals in the old red sandstone. He studied, investigated, and became a leader of scientific thought. It was necessity, he said, which made him a geologist. He could not stop studying. How readily and how completely was the interest of these men aroused! Dr. Johnson defined a genius to be "a man of large general powers accidentally determined in some particular direction." Students do their best work when they are interested.