Who defined a university as a teacher on one end of a log and a student on the other?

December 26, 2016 | Author: | Posted in Inspirational

According to a well-established tradition, James A. Garfield, in a Williams College Alumni address delivered in New York City in 1872, said something to the following effect: “My definition of a university is Mark Hopkins at one end of a log and a student at the other.” The quotation does not occur in the speech as it was recorded at the time and its exact phraseology varies with the recollection of several of those who heard it. Another version is: “A pine bench, with Mark Hopkins at one end of it and me at the other, is a good enough college for me!” Mark Hopkins (1802-1887) was one of the ablest and most successful educators of the old type. He taught moral philosophy and rhetoric at Williams College at Williamstown, Massachusetts, from 183o until his death, and from 1836 to 1872 was president of that college. Many of his students besides Garfield testified to his skill as a teacher and the lasting, influence of his personality. They particularly liked the stress that Hopkins placed upon the development of the individual student. In 1877, four years before he was elected the twentieth President of the United States, Garfield said in an address in Washington: “If I could be taken back into boyhood today, and had all the libraries and apparatus of a university, with ordinary routine professors, offered me on the one hand, and on the other a great, luminous, rich-souled man, such as Dr. Hopkins was twenty years ago, in a tent in the woods alone, I should say give me Dr. Hopkins for my college course rather than any university with only routine professors.”

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