THE DEAN'S CORNER -- April 1925

Dean 0. J. Ferguson


NOTE—The following article appeared in "The California Aggie." So effectively does it prod us in some of the joints of our technical armor, that it is well worthy of quotation in full. It is "Old Stuff," yes, but good stuff to cogitate upon.—0. J. F.
      "Because, while a student is in college, he had bolted too many greasy fried potatoes and cold baked beans, doubtless under the impression that his insides were constructed with the sturdiness of a concrete-mixer, and the durability of a hydraulic ram, many a man of forty-five is obliged to go about with his pockets full of zweibach and pepsin wherewith to pamper a spoiled stomach that requires more attention than a six-weeks-old infant,
     "Having taken all of his exercise in the bleachers, and practiced deep-breathing only while smoking, there comes a day when all his steep grades must be taken at low gear or at the end of a friendly towrope.
     "At the very time of life when he ought to be concentrating all of his attention on his task of moving forward, rapidly, toward the destination he had picked as his chief objective, he spends most of his time getting out to see what ails the machinery.
     "Of course, this is old stuff. It makes every-one yawn. Everybody knows that these things are true—so why repeat them? Just because a generous percent of every annual crop of college graduates go out to fail for the reasons indicated above.
     "Because, while a student in college he had never learned how to think rapidly, clearly, and independently, being under the impression that his chief mission, as an undergraduate, was to cram himself to the gunwales with a miscel-laneous cargo of unclassified facts, many a man of mature years spends his time sharpening tools for other people, collecting data for other men's books, and holding the lantern, and murmuring, " Well, what do you know about that? " while his comrades unearth discoveries.
     "Having seen nothing in his college course but “credits," and no brighter prize at the end of it than “diploma”, there comes a day when he is glad to carry the water jug and trot errands for the men higher up who may have only half his brains but twice his mental training.
     "This, too, is old stuff. How can anyone be so stupid as to write it — much less expect anybody to read it?
     "Nevertheless, every institution of higher education annually hatches a new flock of birds whose wings have fledged no feathers. About the time they ought to fly, they are inquiring for the latest quotations on crutches.
     "Because, while a student in college, he had hooted at every serious agency that tried to coax his soul out in the sunlight where it might grow, many a man of middle age finds that neglected organ a shriveled, ugly thing consisting only of a troublesome conscience and an assorted lot of unpleasant memories—memories of neglected opportunities to enjoy life's best legacies.
     "He has "no ear for music," and it bores him; he has "no interest in pictures " for he does not understand them; he can't see "anything in poetry," most of which he considers stupidly sentimental.
     "Having arrived at a time of life where the rewards of his own industry provide him with leisure, his jaded senses—the five—the same five that his Airedale terrier has — must be de-pended upon for all perceptions. He has lost his soul, and it is too late to sprout another.
     "This, likewise, is old stuff. So is breathing, old stuff. The mountains and the sea; the sky and the rivers; human hopes, and fears; the bright dreams of youth, and handfuls of ashes — all are old, old stuff!
     "Apropos of this last consideration, religion, which has been mankind's "chief concern" from the beginning, is, the development of a soul, what food and exercise are to the body and mental discipline is to the mind,
     "The college student should avail himself of what the churches have to offer."

We have just received news that John Mills, A.M. '04, has been appointed director of publication of Bell Telephone laboratories, Incorporated, New York City. Mr. Mills was formerly personnel director of the Engineering Department of the Western Electric Company, which operated the Research and Development Laboratories of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Western Electric Company prior to January 1, 1925.