A most important and permanent accomplishment of Pritchard
during the three years of his administration of the College was that of
furthering interest in education generally among the people of North
Carolina, not only in college education but also in elementary and
secondary education, and that which is now specialized in colleges of
agriculture and mechanical arts.
His views on education had been maturing over many years. We
have seen that soon after his graduation in 1854 he was urging the
immediate provision in the College of a chair of Chemistry that its
students might have a knowledge of that "most practical and
important of sciences" and that thus the College might provide the
scientific farmer which the age was
In the last chapter
we have mentioned several other instances of his interest in
improving education in the years before he became president of the
College. How comprehensive his views on this subject were and how
clearly he conceived the educational problem of North Carolina as a
whole may be seen in his inaugural address, of which something has
been said above. Though he had not elaborated his argument in
writing, the report of it found in the Biblical Recorder of September
10, 1879, is full enough to reveal its general character and content. It
contained the views which with varying emphasis as occasion
demanded and which with more elaboration and detail he, for the
period of his administration, preached from one end of North Carolina
to the other to large assemblies at associations and conventions and in
churches, at educational institutions and school commencements and
numerous civic meetings in towns and cities.
He gave his address the title of "A Plea for Higher Learning,"
1 Volume 1, 368.
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