OKLAOOMA. . A & M COLLEGE
GRADUATJNG CLASS OF 1902 AND 6'IH ANNIVERSARY OF ALUMU ASOCCIATION
Address by Jessie Thatcher, President
Oklahana A & M All..IImli AssOciation
.r.Ernbers of the Board of Regents, of the Faculty of the class of 1902, students
of the A and M College ladies and gentlemen-
'Ibnight \\e are together for the pu!:p)se of celebrating the 6th anniversacy of
the All..IImli Association of the A & M College of Oklahoma and to \\elcc::ne to our
association the new class 7 the class of 1902, which is by far the largest class
yet to graduate from this institution; the class which tlxmgh assailed with
difficulties of various sorts, just as all other classes, has maintained a
large number who were willing to surrrount difficulties, rather than give up
· the cherished dream of becaning cultured men and worren--cultured in the
originally noble significance. Culture men applied to rren is often used as
a synonym for learning; when ascribed to w:::xren it is frequently employed as an
equivalent for acc:a:rplishrrent. The use of the word has debased its originally
noble significance and has been followed by a misunderstanding of the substance
which it rightly narres, and, it is the fashion of the day in certain circles
to scoff at culture. It is by the victims of this epithet, by the worshipers
of utility, by the self-styled practical people, that, culture is held in
disdain. One saretimes questions whether the diSdain springs from conscious
superiority or fran envy, which is the forced cx:mfession of o:mscious inferiority.
W'la.tever it's source, disdain is a poisoned weapon, and it is a weapon of
'Ihe man of action is the hero of the practical world, but far from being what
members of their admirers proclaim them to be, the foes of culture·, living
proofs of the usefulness of culture, rren of action are the heralds of culture
its prerequites and alrrost always its agents.
'Ihe achievements of practical men are to the great and permanent detriment
of numberless young people in this generation, frequently cited to sha-1 how
unessential to success culture is when mere men like Fulton or Whitney, Vanderbilt
or Jay Gould like Edison or Pullman are under discussion, the feature of their
careers which is dwelt up:m with particular insistence is, that "they were or
are IIEn of no culture", "Men of no education",_ "Men of the nost elementary"
or in the favorite phase "of the nost practical education". It is readily
admitted that the inadequate education of these nen is an elerrent which, in
their careers, was calculated to attract attention; an elerrent properly
emphasized by biographers and econanists, since the fact emphasized their
extraordinary ability in the direction of their successes.
Such careers may be regarded with pride by every human being since they indicate
the dignity, the -potency of the human spirit which can set all obstacles at
defiance and transcerrl difficulties. But such careers do not, as too :many
young people are led to believe, prove that success is the logical outc~ of
ignorance, the calculable goal of :mirrl minus culture. It is by the advocates
of practical education who assume the role of the natural and necessacy sponsors
of progress, that culture has been put on the defensive.
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One question which students are often asked is "what do you expect your
education here to do for you"? Probably every young man and every yotmg
wanan ~uld be ready with a definite answer. 'Ihey as well as their parents
have fonned definite expectations of the education they are engaged in obtaining,
and of what their education will do for them. It is definitely expected
that this education will make of those who pursue it canpetent civil or
rrechanical engineers; good draftSrren or designers; efficient farrrers, poulterers,
horticulturists or stockraisers; reliable phannacists or chemists; skillful
woc:rlcarvers or decorators; or proficient seamstresses, or cooks; and looking
toward these occupations, rrost, it not, all of them see in the educations they
are getting here a direct rreans of self-support. This is admirable. If life
itself is noble and dignified that which alone can support it cannot be ignoble
and Ireall; and any institution which starrls for the dignity of labor and which
brings up successive generations of young people with sound heal thy notions of
labor is a source of benefactions.
And n<M, rrernbers of the class of 1902, it has devolved upon rre, as president of
this association to give a few thoughts appropriate for the occasion. I do so
with a keen appreciation of the relations you have for so long sustained with
each other, the faculty of this college, and the ~rld of affairs into which
you are about to errerge, and with which you are henceforth to mingle. The
world looks upon your diplanas as the keys which unlock the doors to science,
art, literature, theology and rrerchan:lising for you and open up the avenues of
wealth and honor to you. With these you go forth into the ba.ttle of life.
What success you nay have, what victories you may win, the future alone can
tell. But be assured the alumni associai;ion is standing with open anns to
receive you and to aid you in any way possible. We feel that the class of 1902
will be a valuable addition to our association, not only in number but in quality
as well. Five years ago tonight there were six Alumni, :to welcxxre, and to offer
aid to the graduating class which consisted of but three rrembers. Now there is
a rranbership of about 35 all of whan, except those just entered have held
responsible and lucrative positions ever since their graduation. But dear
friends, rerranber that all ~rk is honorable if honorably done, ari1 whatever
is ~rth doing at all is ~rth doing v.ell; and even though you nay not at
once get a desired position, do the best you can. And just here, if you will
pardon the digression, I wish to express the feeling and appreciation we experience,
at the appoint:rrent of one of our manber on the Board of Regents.
FellCM members of the Alumni as we mingle with these our new brethern and
sisters, arrl in our pressure of hands toqether, let us renew the bonds which
our fellowship in our Alrra M3.ter has ~ven.
Again 1902, I welcane you into our midst, ladies and gentlerren I welcane you
to our exercises tonight. I trust you will ever firrl the rranbers of the·.Alumni
ready with their aid and syrrpathy sould tirres of discouragerrent care and equally
ready to share your pleasure in success and victory.
Board of Regents
Helpers on Program:
Willa Adams, Jennie Christie, louie Hastings, Kate Duck.
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