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Addresses and Papers

Addresses and Papers

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Excerpt from Addresses and Papers: 1908 1909

I have had the feeling that I was coming to the home Of an Old acquaintance. For ten years we were neighbors. In ways we knew not, we spurred each other to make them good, fat years in the history of university upbuilding in Illinois. When I was being urged to accept the presidency of the University of Illinois, and a few hours before the formal election, and in dread of what might be the possibilities Of the event, I came to this university and met Presi* dent Harper for the first time. If he had spoken in Hebrew and undertaken to examine me in 'old Testament criticism, it would hardly have con?icted with what I knew of him, or with my very imperfect understanding of a modern university president. But he spoke in very kindly English, and you may be assured that he was not so unmindful Of his diplomacy as to fail to urge me to come to Illinois. Neither presidents nor universities were disposed to ?atter each other when events followed pleasantries and when the contacts were mainly upon surging fields of students in noisy contests, but the respect which I always had for his learning and his genius was in time enriched by the largeness Of his heart and the Obligations which were imposed by the tender of his friendship. And even then, Dean Judson was wont to say that state universities had the right to be; and perhaps he did more than any other to teach us all that the way to get rich in education is by giving, and that the sound prosperity of one institution of higher learning helps rather than harms another. So, as I come into 'the University Of Chicago for a brief hour once again, there would be something unnatural, if not untrue, if I did not pay my respects to the memory Of its first great president, and express my satisfaction that this university, so young and yet so great, maintains the pace and keeps the faith under a second president whose qualities and experience make him a leader of no ordinary worth to American education.

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