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of the Future
CLAUDE CARR CODY, JR., M.A., M.D., F.A.C.S.
President, Board of Trustees
|During, the long years past, most of us have plagued ourselves with questions.
Is there really a place for Southwestern? Have the methods of education outgrown
a type of institution such as this? Does our church any longer require its
own denominational colleges or will others serve it as well? Does Texas for
its best development need Southwestern? Today, all these questions can be
answered with every assurance that the greatest days of Southwestern's service
to our beloved state and church are in the future. For the metamorphosis of
a Southwestern looking backward on a splendid past, to the Southwestern eagerly
responsive to a beckoning future, we are entirely indebted to Mrs. Louisa
Elizabeth Wiess for her munificent gift, to Mr. Harry Wiess for the opportunity
he afforded us, to Colonel Frank Andrews for his counsel, and to our many
ex-students and other friends for their generous contributions. Our profound
gratitude and deep appreciation are offered to each and all of these and to
our faculty and to the citizens of Georgetown, whose faith in the University
held steadfast through the hard years.
Southwestern's distinguished service to the church is acknowledged constantly and everywhere. But this is by no means its major contribution. Southwestern has rendered a far, far greater service to the State of Texas than it ever has to the Methodist Church; but, strange to say, this fact is rarely mentioned and never emphasized. In the future, it will be stressed that Southwestern serves both the state and the church. Texas has two great groups of colleges and universities in its educational system; one is the tax-supported institutions, and the other is denominational. Both of these groups are necessary for the welfare of Texas, as one supplies something the other lacks. The state institutions are supported by the citizens of Texas from compulsory contributions in the form of taxes, and the denominational institutions are supported by the citizens of Texas from voluntary contributions in the form of gifts. Each group is so essential to the future well-being of the entire state that neither should be allowed to suffer at the expense of the other.
There can be no break in the basic principles of education between the past and the future at Southwestern, but merely an expansion in their application. The educational process will continue to be devoted to the best interests of the individual, for the importance and dignity of the individual will always be precious at this university. The purpose of Southwestern has been, and still will be, to train young men and women intellectually, spiritually, physically, and socially; so that they shall rightfully adapt themselves to the exigencies of the life about them.
This program will lay a broad foundation capable of supporting any super-structure which a student may later wish to place upon it, whether this be a career of business or other service or post-graduate instruction in the professions. Southwestern will continue to give a sound viewpoint of, and a way of living.
At the present time, powerful support is coming from an unexpected source that such a program can be carried out to the student's best advantage in a relatively small college of liberal arts. Several of the leading great universities, after comparing their results over the years in very large undergraduate student-bodies with those obtained by the small college, are now going to heavy expense to reorganize their undergraduate instruction into what amounts to a number of small colleges. Thus for the future there is no indication for a change in the form of this institution. Georgetown is essential to the full development of the future Southwestern. For here is a priceless tradition hallowed by three generations. No substitute can be offered for that. In an environment such as this, lacking the distractions of a city, the student body is brought closer together, more easily acquires a sense of individual responsibility and develops more and broader contacts. The number of students in the future Southwestern could well be placed at 750. It is doubtful that a real and lasting impression can be made by the personalities of any faculty on a student body larger than this. Also, the cost of instruction per student rapidly decreases until 750 is reached; but with a greater number it gradually increases. Efficiency, joining hands with economy, presents an unanswerable argument.
The person of Jesus Christ is a fact. The spiritual values founded on Him are historically the basis of our present civilization. They are not just another abstruse idea to be toyed with by some dilettante among the intelligentsia. The Bible still heads the list of "best sellers," and in all literature nothing has surpassed the Gospel of St. John. Consequently, the Bible should have at least the dignity and importance of biology, economics or French as an academic study. It is too important a subject to be conducted only as an extra-curricular or extra-mural activity by earnest amateurs. The future Southwestern will hold fast to its spiritual values and its religious atmosphere.
A curriculum based either upon a rigid schedule or on free electives does not seem to be entirely satisfactory. The system of required courses resembles requiring students to wear number five shoes, whether or not they fit their needs. With the freely elective system, the students not infrequently through inexperience lack direction in choice of definitive courses and occasionally display a natural appetite for the -- to them -- dessert courses, with a consequent waste of time. At Southwestern, the better method seems to be that individual attention be given to the intellectual development of each student. Several factors are involved in this process, certainly practicable in a small college. The detailed consideration of the student's previous training and background, the special aptitude test early in the Freshman year, and the student's record in collegiate activities reveal to the wise faculty counselor the potential intellectual development as highly specialized information valuable both to the student and the parents. The student's instruction, then, will be both broad and sound.
The University stimulates the student's intellectual development by balanced courses in the Schools of Languages, Humanities, and Sciences. Each School through their several departments offers equal opportunities in mental discipline and the acquirement of knowledge. Thus, the student will be trained in methods of preparing difficult material for effective presentation. To these Schools may well be added, as means afford, the School of Applied Science, both for its quickening effect on the student-body as a whole and particularly for the benefit of those Juniors and Seniors expecting to pursue post-graduate instruction in Engineering and Business Administration. The future Southwestern, then, will present cultural instruction and courses leading to post-graduate work elsewhere in the learned and technological professions.
Physical education at Southwestern, as the term implies, is an instructional course. The same pedagogical principle of individual attention is employed in the physical development of the student. While the need of individual attention is no greater for the body than for the intellect, yet neglect of the physique is more quickly and unmistakably evident. A sound body is the basis for a sound mind and sound morals, and from this triad a well ordered life follows as a matter of course. The spectacular games of football, baseball, and track have a place; the players, however, rarely engage in them after leaving college. Tennis, golf, and hand-ball are carried over into adult life and played for many years. The long-view indicates that the carry-over games are better for the student than the spectacular. Football as an amateur game is now in a transitional stage so that its place in the future Southwestern is ill-defined, except that it should be largely self-supporting.
The basis for social training at the future Southwestern is quite clear. Our students as a whole come from cultured homes, and the dictates of good taste followed there can well be observed here. A spirit of unity is highly desirable between these homes and the University. There seems to be only two controversial subjects on social customs -- the theatre and dancing. After all, both of these together are only a very small and relatively unimportant part of our total social relationships. As a student here, I was puzzled by the attitude that reading Shakespeare's plays was required for the proper education of a gentleman; but, hearing the same lines spoken at the theatre was wrong. I still don't understand that view. It seems that a sound position for the future Southwestern to take on dancing is this: if the cultured Methodist parents refuse to allow their sons and daughters to dance at home, it will be forbidden here; if such parents allow their sons and daughters to dance at home, what is the reason to forbid it here? This is certain, that no rational explanation can be offered to the students for the training that a social custom is right at home and wrong here.
The faculty, the quality of its students, and the accomplishments of the men and women who have been here, have made Southwestern great -- not its buildings. The future Southwestern needs only a few more buildings, and those finished with no debt. Southwestern can be a fine school without fine buildings, but it cannot be a splendid school without a splendid faculty. Additional endowment is required not only for the adequate support and security of the faculty, but also to maintain the standards of a quality education. An adequate endowment and an excellent faculty will attract students of high quality, and for the care of these the future buildings will come as a matter of course.
But, you say, this will require money in rather large amounts, and where will this money come from? History tells us, and we have seen it with our own eyes, that in times of war Texans have never hesitated to hazard their lives and fortunes for the sake of their state. There can be no doubt, during times of peace, that our citizens will likewise give generously of their bounty for the sake of Texas. If our state and church need this future Southwestern --as we believe they do -- the money will come.
In conclusion, these statements have been made not as a prophet, but rather as a casual spokesman for a group of architects describing the outlines of the plan for the future Southwestern. It will be a unique institution. To the state, it will give good citizens with a sound and rational viewpoint of life. To the church, it will give inspiring personalities and scholarly minds. To all those who take a part in making this future Southwestern come true, it will give all the satisfaction which comes from performing a patriotic duty. And finally, Mr. President, without deprecating in the least the services of others, Mrs. Wiess' generosity and the stimulating effect of her donation have made possible this future Southwestern University.
The Exes of Old Southwestern
Prayer and Benediction
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