Dean's Corner



IN January, Chancellor Burnett announced the establishment of a new student loan fund to be known as "The Ralph S. Mueller Student Loan Fund for Engineers."

It is given by Ralph S. Mueller, graduated from the University in 1898 with the degree of B.Sc., after having taken the electrical engineering group of studies.   Mr. Mueller is a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, where he is engaged in manufacturing a special electric terminal.

I am not violating any confidences in giving something of the background of this recent addition to our loan funds at the University of Nebraska.  In fact, with the attention which is being given, at present, to gifts of various kinds, to the need for more of these, to the many laudable objectives which they may serve, a few comments seem quite apropos.

State universities are largely tax-supported institutions. They have been built up as a part of a public school system. Entrance to them has been held open in the fullest sense, and cost to the student has been kept down to a minimum. Our slogan has been "The greatest good to the greatest number." We would have a college course open to any serious minded student who is competent to benefit thereby.  At the same time, it has been necessary for the University to place in effect low course-fees, and the student now pays per hours of credit attached to each subject, $1.50 to $2.50, depending upon whether it is recitation or laboratory work.

Until very recently there were no tuition fees in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska, to residents of our own state. The only cost paid by students 15 or 20 years ago were the statutory matriculation fee of $5.00, an incidental fee of $3.00, the library fee of $1.00, and laboratory fees for supplies and breakage. These totalled about $10 to $12 per semester. Our catalogs of those days stated that a student might expect to pay a year's expenses with $250 to $300, exclusive of fees.

But living costs have mounted since the day when I cast up accounts for my first year in the University and found that it had cost me $159.75 1 And this included literally all of my expenditures for the year— room rent, clothing, food, books, drawing instruments and materials, laboratory fees—even railroad fares and church collections. Today the student is doing well who completes his year on less than $600. To be sure, there are many who get through on less, but $60 to $75 per month is a modest sum for one who is paying all of his way, without working. I know I was one of several men who are doing with considerably less than this, and are working to secure that meager living.

I know men who are carrying 10-hour, 12-hour, or even 15-hour schedules of University work, and who are wholly self-supporting. One such came to me recently to reduce his program. He had been attempting a 15-hour University schedule while working about 40 hours per week for self-support. This combination constituted a 75 per cent overload, and a continuance of both jobs meant one of two things (or possible both), flunking out of college, or injuring his health. The physical body is not capable of withstanding indefinitely such a strain.

As an indication of the stuff of which such men as this are made, let me call your attention to the fact that many of them would rather pay their way as they go, and take more time, than borrow money. One can but respect the stalwart independence of such fellows, and do all he can to aid them. As to the prevalence of outside work for self-support, about 90 per cent of our seniors reply, to the direct question, that they have been paying at least a part of their way by this means.

Yet, we are led to believe that, especially after one has reached his senior year or even his junior year, and has proved that he is on the right track and has the ability to perform the work of the course he has undertaken, it may be the better procedure to borrow moderately and spend economically, looking to his increased earning capacity as a graduate, to repay within a short time. He may well invest borrowed capital in a productive education, and he can afford to pay interest upon the sums necessary to see him through promptly. A year saved means a year ultimately added to the active earning period of his life.

Such is the background of which I spoke. Mr. Mueller and others who have established loan funds have sensed the need of many worthy and capable students. And they have most generously contributed to these special purposes in such a manner that there are available from the trust funds certain sums of money which are revolving year by year, aiding worthy students and then returning to swell the amounts avail-able for future applicants.

We are happy to give this word of recognition and acknowledgment.


From far above the raucous noises of New York's busy streets, there recently came floating down for a few million New Yorkers to hear, a command to smoke a well known brand of cigarettes, the command being alternated with snatches of music. From above Times Square and the Grand Central Terminal section down to the financial district on the end of Manhattan Island, a huge airplane alternately climbed to a height of 3,000 feet and coasted down by a spiral route toward the peaks and towers of the city.

It was a huge tri-motor Fokker biplane, equipped with Western Electric sound amplification apparatus and carrying a crew of pilot, mechanic, public address system operator, and broadcasters in the persons of a vocalist and two professional radio announcers.  The sound of their voices as it struck the microphone was amplified approximately 100,000,000 times and broadcast through three horns inserted in the floor of the fuselage, mouths downward. With the exception of the microphone, all the equipment, including the music reproducer, was located in a compartment directly behind the pilot's cabin.  When actually broadcasting, the vocalist or announcer was within a small sound-proof booth, to the rear of the apparatus room.

With sky-writing no longer a striking novelty, elec-trical science thus is called into play to provide a new air outlet for the advertiser's story of his products and services.