More Than Lore


Marion Talbot

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THE building of a university is an unending process unless by unhappy chance mental decrepitude, educational arrogance, or dulness of vision beset its builders. These brief reminiscences reveal a few, perhaps rather slight, phases of the building of the University of Chicago. The years which have passed since this record closed have shown that the process has not slackened. From the beginning its builders have realized fully the words of President Warren of Boston University that "that educational institution is poor indeed that has no wants"—wants ranging from endowments to laboratories, libraries to administrative facilities, scholarly teachers to men and women gifted in research and above all devoted to truth. It is a commonplace to say that what has been accomplished at Chicago is a marvel. From what was in 1892 a rather forlorn bit of prairie there have

( 217) gone to the furthermost parts of the earth men and women who have been nurtured by the university and who are eager to carry its spirit. The old nickname of "Harper's Bazaar," conceived in ridicule, has given place to world-wide esteem. It has been a wonderful experience for me to watch what has happened and to have had some share in it; but of all the memories I have connected with it, there is none more vivid than that of the unfailing, generous, and sympathetic co-operation given me by faculty, officers, and students, both men and women alike. There is hardly a flaw in the record. The load I carried was an absorbing one. For thirty-three years I gave all I had to the University, and reaped a rich harvest of happiness and content. So it happened that on my retirement when a well-meaning but not very successful dean of women said, "I congratulate you.—Now you can do what you want to do," I flared back, "That is what I have been doing all these years—if it had not seemed the most worth while thing I could do, I would have dropped it instantly." A rather recent graduate told me she had intended to be a dean of women but had decided there was too much drudgery

( 218) about it. "Drudgery," I replied, "how can there be drudgery when you are just trying to help human beings!"

So it was not strange that after my retirement in 1925 I took satisfaction in two terms of service as acting-president of Constantinople Woman's College. There, too, were the opportunities to help solve difficult problems and to give sympathy and encouragement. There, too, I met much of the friendly spirit of the University, which was one of its most precious assets. There, too, as through all the years, I found constant stimulus in the motto of the University:

Crescat scientia, vita excolatur.


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