Commencements 257
would act, not only matters that concerned the students and the
conduct of the College, but also about the college finances and means
for improving them so that they might receive arrears in payments and
possibly an increase in ranking or salary, this latter being the special
concern of the more recent acquisitions to the faculty.
Of like interest to that in the meetings of the Board of Trustees were
the meetings of the Alumni Association attended only by alumni and
other former students; but the alumni address was a public occasion.
An account of the organization of the Association and its early
meetings has been given in the first volume of this
It was the
design of those who promoted the organization that it should minister
to the material welfare and upbuilding of the College, and especially
that in its meetings at the commencement period new interest might
be created and plans made for this purpose. Regrettably, there has
never been any large realization of this expectation. Only relatively
few of the alumni attended the commencements, and the Association
when formed created no agency for keeping in touch with the students
of other days and giving them information about the progress and
needs of the College. At their meetings they were ready enough to
endorse plans for cooperative effort; for example, at the
commencement of 1875, the Association voted heartily to accept the
challenge of Rev. J. S. Purefoy to match the $10,000 he expected to
put in the college treasury before July 1, 1876, but with the vote the
matter was dropped; no agency was provided for keeping alive the
enthusiasm and raising the money. Sometimes, even in the annual
meetings of the Association, some able members would block
propositions for some enterprise for the improvement of the College,
as at the annual meeting in 1892, when the persistent opposition of an
able alumnus killed the purpose to erect a building for biology. And it
was only by the importunate insistence of another alumnus ten years
later that the Association gave its approval to the plan to erect an
"Alumni Building." 7
P. 437f.
See chapter on "Buildings and Grounds."
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