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|The Exes of Old Southwestern
ERNEST LYNN KURTH, B.S.
President, The Ex-Students' Association
|This is indeed a Day of Victory for old Southwestern and a happy day for
all who love her.
I have been assigned "The Exes of Old Southwestern." I could not have had a subject more to my liking. Many generous friends have contributed to the liquidation of the more than $430,000.00 of debt that hung like a millstone and impeded the progress of Southwestern, but none so much as Mrs. William Wiess, ex-student, and friend of the institution, whom we come today in a special manner to honor. If Southwestern has been great in the past, it shall be greater in the future because of her magnificent benefaction. Young men and women through all the coming years will be better educated, environed here with a Christian atmosphere, with Christian instructors in a Christian community, and with a student body largely Christian, and will go out into life with the spirit of old Southwestern upon them in a greater way than ever before to accomplish more masterful tasks and to achieve greater objectives because of the foresight and generosity of Mrs. William Wiess.
It is said that the history of the world is but the brief biography of men. Certainly the history of Southwestern is but the biography of her ex-students.
This noble old institution will begin her ninety-eighth year in September. Her sons and daughters have occupied conspicuous places in the processes that have made our commonwealth and nation, and many have wrought effectively even beyond the confines of their native soil, and to give merely a resume of the achievements that have made the heart of their old Alma Mater beat with pride would be impossible in the brief ten minutes allotted to me.
Three of our most beloved bishops are graduates of old Southwestern, two of whom appear on our program this morning. We greatly regret the absence of Bishop Sam R. Hay. Bishop A. Frank Smith is to make the principal address in paying tribute to his and our good friend, Mrs. William Wiess. He is one of the most beloved and statesmanlike bishops in Methodism, an ex-student, and he married a beautiful ex-student of old Southwestern. He is a trustee of Southwestern.
Today, Claude Cody is one of the most prominent physicians in the South. He is the President of the Board of Trustees of the old college in which his brilliant father was a most beloved professor, and Claude's greatness, like that of Bishop A Frank Smith, is exemplified in that he, too, married a beautiful girl of old Southwestern. Will Orgain is likewise on our program, an alumnus and a trustee, a brilliant and successful lawyer, man of affairs, substantial friend of old Southwestern. These three men were vital factors in negotiating the liquidation of Southwestern's debt and gave generously in making this occasion possible.
Another name I must recall. He is not exactly an alumnus, but his sons were educated here, and we are going to see in a way that he becomes an alumnus, -- Mr. J. M. West, who with his masterful business ability and generosity was one of the most potent factors in the process of making possible our Victory Celebration today.
A little more than a year ago when Southwestern faced the greatest crisis in her history, we trustees turned to one of her old students for a president. He had accomplished every task the church had ever entrusted to him. He presides today, and just how much we owe to his leadership and untiring energy, history alone can tell, -- President Bergin.
Another fine gentleman appears on our program, a school-mate and life-long friend of Mrs. William Wiess, alumnus and trustee of old Soutwestern, one of her staunchest friends, through all the years. He was the initial generous donor to the mighty fund that wiped out all her debts and made the Victory Program possible, -- Judge Walter Scott.
I pause just now with bowed head to pay tribute to Southwestern's most outstanding son. His portrait hangs in a conspicuous place in the chambers of the Supreme Court in our state in Austin. Harry Wiess pronounced him "the greatest lawyer in the South." "Death loves a shining mark." It was on his advice and that of Bishop A. Frank Smith that Harry Wiess and his mother contributed $165,000.00 to the endowment of Southwestern University, and no man would have been happier on this occasion nor have paid a nobler or more tender tribute to Mrs. William Wiess, nor have wished Southwestern a kindlier Bon Voyage, -- Colonel Frank Andrews, an honored alumnus of old Southwestern.
The Honorable William Hawley Atwell, leading Federal Judge of the great Southwest, is an alumnus, trustee, and a giver of awards to students who excel in old Southwestern.
Mrs. Lois Craddock Perkins, wife and inspiration of that great capitalist and philanthropist of Wichita Falls, the Honorable J. J. Perkins, is an ex-student, benefactor, friend of Southwestern, and each year enables several fine young women to attend this beloved old institution.
Dr. J. Edward Hodges, outstanding citizen and physician of Houston, and Dr. O. S. Hodges of Beaumont, have a double honor. They are Exes of Southwestern and nephews of Mrs. William Wiess.
Dr. John H. Foster, one of the great doctors of the South, who appears upon our program this morning, paying a beautiful tribute to his life-long friend, Mrs. William Wiess, is an honor graduate of old Southwestern. Last, but not least, is the Dean of Houston's many and famous physicians, known all over America, friend and physician through the years to Mrs. Wiess, Dr. Marvin L. Graves, graduate of Southwestern.
Mr. Harry C. Wiess is quoted as having said that many of the Exes of old Southwestern were conspicuous among Houston's business and professional men in ability, character, and achievement. One of the most favorably known educators of the South remarked that Southwestern had produced more leaders in Texas than any other institution in the state regardless of size. There is something of a process, a spirit, that creates within her students a will to masterfulness in life.
Georgetown contributed most generously to the liquidation of Southwestern's debt. I wonder if anyone could calculate all that Southwestern through the years has meant to Georgetown? Many of her leading professional men, lawyers, doctors, teachers, preachers, are ex-students of old Southwestern. Many of her finest citizens and best men were educated here. Two of Mrs. Wiess' sisters are among the many, Mrs. Hodges, whom all the students knew and loved, and Mrs. C. S. Belford, life-long friend of God, the Church, Georgetown, and old Southwestern.
Time fails. My ten minutes are gone. Ex-students of Southwestern, this is the greatest day in the history of our beloved Alma Mater. What has been done this year is but a prophecy of what must be done.
The president's five-point, five-year program must be accomplished. Already the debt is paid. The enrollment has been vastly increased, the faculty greatly strengthened. The gymnasium and the library must be built, and a million-dollar endowment procured by 1940, when old Southwestern University will reach her one hundredth year of unsurpassed service to the Lone Star State. She must enter upon her second century of progress more and more the outstanding college of liberal arts and fine arts in the great Southwest in scholarship, in faculty, in splendidly selected students, and we shall meet here again at the top of a century in a great Centennial Celebration and launch our beloved Southwestern upon her voyage of another hundred years in ever increasing usefulness; and the task must be accomplished largely by her Exes.
Southwestern in My Day
of the Future
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