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Dinner was served at 1.30 P. M. at the Colonial Club, after which Professor Shaler took occasion to congratulate the members of the Association on the continued growth and prosperity of the School. Mere numbers, he said, were not in themselves evidence of the sort of growth which was to be desired, but in the case of the School care had been taken to eliminate the undesirable element, and the instructors were proud of their pupils. It was to be regretted that none of the graduating class were present, but it must not be forgotten that it was Commencement Day, and that the graduates of the School were members of the Class of '95. If the Association should continue to hold its annual meeting and have its annual dinner on Commencement Day, it would have to accept the probability of being unable to secure the presence of the graduating class. Still another cause operated to explain the absence of the Class of '95 to-day, — all but three of them had already secured positions and were at work in the field. This was one of the most encouraging signs of the revival of life at the School. While it was to be hoped that our graduates in the future might meet with the same success in entering promptly upon their work, still something might be done to interest them at once in the work of the Association. The success which has attended the opening of the department of Architecture and the additional facilities furnished by the transformation of the Old Gymnasium into a workshop, left but little to desire in the way of equipment for the School. Professor Shaler furnished a few statistics showing the continued growth of the School, even during the period of depression
The Secretary submitted proof-sheets of a list of graduates, and requested members to furnish information as to the present address and occupation of several of them.
An informal discussion ensued, in which the members joined in congratulations as to the prospects of the School and of the Association. With a view to secure the graduating classes at future meetings of the Association, it was voted to hold the annual dinner on the evening before Commencement.
Andrew McFarland Davis, s '54, Sec.
MEDICAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION.
Dr. Walter Ela, '71, the treasurer, presented his report, showing a balance of $1,888. The election of officers resulted in the choice of Drs.
F. G. Morrill, m '69, of Boston, G. S. Osborne, '60, of Peabody, and Homer Gage, ’82, of Worcester, to be Councilors for the term of four years. Drs. G. J. Engelmann and Theobald Smith were made honorary members. The Constitution was amended so as to allow members of the Association who are not Councilors to serve on the Committee on the Harvard Medical School.
The following resolutions, offered by Dr. J. R. Chadwick, '65, were unanimously adopted : “ Resolved, that the Harvard Medical Alumni Association hereby petitions the Corporation and the Board of Overseers of Harvard College to allow the Alumni of the Medical School to share in the election for Overseers. Resolved, that the Council of this Association be directed to make assiduous and persistent efforts to obtain this privilege. Resolved, that the members of this Association who are likewise alumni of the College be urged in the election of Overseers to cast their votes for such candidates as are favorable to this extension of the franchise.”
The meeting adjourned, to dine at one at the Hotel Vendome. There were present at dinner 167 members and five invited guests.
Dr. George B. Shattuck, the president of the Association, reminded the members that the objects of the Association were defined in the Constitution as the advancement of the cause of medical education in general, the promotion of the interest and increase of the usefulness of the Harvard Medical School in particular, and the promotion of acquaintance and good-fellowship among the members of the Association. He congratulated the Society on the progress during the past year, and predicted a long life of usefulness. “Since the last annual meeting, 230 new members have been enrolled, 8 new life-members have been registered, and to-day two new honorary members have been added to your lists. A new bulletin and a new catalogue have been published, and these publications are sought for in exchange by many learned bodies at home and abroad. The treasury is overflowing in the sense that income is greater than outgo, and the Association is rich as is that individual whose expenditures are less than his receipts.
Not only is the number of new members more than double what it was last
year, but no fewer than 21 States are represented in this new membership, as well as foreign countries to the north and south of our own great republic. To the outsider, the Harvard Medical School must stand for the Puritan foundation and the New England idea in its training, its methods, and its product, and yet among the new accessions to our Association, the French invasion of this continent is represented by a practitioner in Quebec, a graduate of 1838; and the Spanish, by a practitioner in the city of Mexico, a graduate of fifty years later. The
Association has been deprived by death of two of its honorary members,
– Dr. Henry Willard Williams and Dr. George Tufton Moffatt. By the death of Dr. Williams we have lost one of our most distinguished members. He held for twenty-two years the chair of Ophthalmology in the Harvard Medical School, and upon his retirement made handsome provision for its endowment. He was one of the originators of the Boston City Hospital, the creator and for twenty-six years the head of its Ophthalmological Department. He was president of the Mass. Medical Society, the promoter and one of the founders of the Mass. Medical Benevolent Society. He was a founder and president of the American Ophthalmological Society. To his skill and judgment as an ophthalmologist many among you can bear witness. Among the names of deceased members you will mark those of Horace Kimball, m '34, William Mack, m '38, George James Townsend, m ’46, Frederick Augustus Sawyer, m '56."
Dr. Shattuck then proceeded to introduce the speakers, calling first upon President Eliot, of whom he asked: “What has the future in store for the eager student, desirous of both a four years' academic and a four years' professional degree, but who is driven by the wholesome stimulus of prospective want?”
“ The problem which your President has just put before me is certainly a very grave one. The average age of admission to Harvard College at this moment is fully nineteen. The student who stays there four years to get his A. B. is twenty-three when he graduates. He then goes to our Medical School to stay there four years ; so he is twenty-seven years of age before he gets his medical degree ; and we all know that some years intervene between that achievement and competency to support a family. Now, that highly educated young man ought to have been married at twenty-five.
“ The remedies for this state of things, which is really intolerable, and which particularly ought not to exist in a country so new as ours, are somewhat complex. They must include, in the first place an improvement in the secondary schools of the country whereby the boys may learn a great deal more and yet come out earlier. The proper age for secondary education in our country is between thirteen and eighteen, not higher. Then I must frankly say that for years I have been in favor of reducing the ordinary term of residence for the degree of Bachelor of Arts to three years, - a square reduction from four to three years.
“I know that what the average student at Harvard College does in four years can be well done in three, with good results to the student, and no harm whatever to scholarship. There is no worse practice for a young man than to work gently half his time, or a third of his time, for four years. He had a deal better work hard for three years ; for with hard work he will acquire both more information and more power in three years, than in four with mild work. The college course in our country should be shorter and more strenuous. Let
the boy come out at the age of eighteen from his secondary school, and out of college at twenty-one, and then there may be some prospect of his beginning to fulfil his highest duties to the community by the time he is twenty-five. But this problem is an extremely difficult one, which needs to be worked out patiently by the teachers of secondary schools, the faculties of colleges, and all those interested in the welfare of educated society. And we must not look for an immediate solution.
“ I want to use the few moments which I can enjoy here in saying some things about the future of the Medical School which you love, and whose prosperity you wish to promote. Next year we have before us a good year's work in developing and carrying out for the first time the required fourth year's course of instruction. That is enough work for the year. We shall make a substantial addition to the instruction heretofore given by our School while putting into execution the plans laid down some time ago for the fourth year of the School.
“During that year, however, we may expect to make plans for further development. On what lines are those plans to run ? It seems to me that the next thing for our Medical School to do, - I would not urge this on all medical schools, – that the next thing for our Medical School to do is to require for admission a first degree in Arts, Letters, or Science ; that is, to enact that nobody shall be admissible to our School unless he is already the possessor of a first degree in Arts, Letters, or Science. This measure would perhaps in some degree diminish, at first and for a short time, the resort to the School ; but it should not be declined by us on that account. Indeed, that very
consideration should stimulate us to undertake this honorable task, rather than deter us from it. American universities have long been peculiar, in that their professional schools were wide open to any passer-by in the street; whereas the colleges were guarded by rigid examinations. This peculiarity may have been expedient during the elementary stages of the development of our educational system ; but now, after a hundred years or more, it becomes us to imitate the example of universities in older countries, and to close our leading professional schools to persons of no academic training whatever.
" It should not be in Harvard University that the examination for admission to the Medical School should be perhaps one third as difficult as the examination for admission to Harvard College. The real university quality of our Medical School will not be developed till it consists entirely of men whose preliminary education has been adequate and thorough. All that is needed to carry out this measure successfully from the pecuniary point of view is a long enough notice. Already for some years our Divinity School has admitted as regular students none but graduates in Arts, and next year the Law School enters upon a similar policy. It gave notice several years ago that after June, 1896, no persons would be admitted to the Law School as regular students unless they already held a degree in Arts, Literature, Philosophy, or Science, or were qualified to enter the Senior Class at Harvard College. It is that policy which I urge upon the Medical School with adequate notice ; and I should think the even year 1900 rather a fortunate time to put this new policy into effect. Five years' notice would be enough to prevent any serious diminu
tion in the numbers of the School ; for it is long enough to enable any ambitious boy to meet the requirement, — any ambitious boy who is looking forward to a medical career. That, then, is the first new policy which I would urge upon the School, and which I would ask you, the graduates and friends of the School, to support, as you supported the revolution in the School of 1870–71,
a much more difficult revolution.
“The second step which I desire to urge is a decided enlargement of the instruction. The limit of instruction in most American medical schools has been an amount which the average student could himself absorb during the required residence, — say three years. The school taught nothing beyond. . Anything outside of this was held to be superfluous, unnecessary, and almost illegitimate, because not conducting to the degree sought by the ordinary practitioner. There was practically a prescribed curriculum. There is to-day a prescribed curriculum in our Medical School, except for the fourth year. Now no department of the University can be adequately extended and improved under such a restriction as that, — namely, that it sball teach no more than a fair student can learn in four years. I believe that the instruction now given at Harvard College, for example, is more than a good student could take in sixty consecutive years, if he devoted himself exclusively to following the courses of the College. The amplitude of instruction bears no relation whatever to a single student's capacity of absorption in four years. Just so it ought to be in a university medical school. There should be an extended instruction far beyond the limits of any one student's capacity. This involves, of course, an optional or elective system within the school itself, whereby the individual student should take what is for him the best four years' work, the Faculty supplying an amount of teaching which it would take a single student eight, twelve, or twenty years to pursue. We must escape at our Medical School from this limitation of instruction to a prescribed curriculum suitable for any one student who follows it four years.
“There would go with this enlargement an expansion of investigation work, - of what may be called scientific medical work, or laboratory research, - and an increase of the corps of assistants, so that the professors of the scientific subjects might each have a staff capable in itself of extending medical investigation. The graduate department of the School would simultaneously increase.
“ And now, a third thing our Medical School needs, and should have in the near future, namely, a hospital of its own, wholly under the direction of the teachers of the School. I should like to explain to you from the point of view of the President of the University one aspect of that need. Of course, we all realize that additional clinical facilities are desirable in any medical school; but that is not the point which I desire now to bring to your notice. At present we breed in and in too much in our Medical School, and we are too closely restricted, in selecting our teachers, to the medical men of this particular community right about us. What determines that restriction? It is the common necessity of offering a medical teacher clinical opportunities. The hospitals, dispensaries, and asylums are managed by independent boards of trustees, and in selecting their staffs these trustees have not primarily in view the necessities of medical instruction, willing though they be to coöperate with the