According to Magazine reports, the University has long
valued diversity. Witness this item on the June 9, 1914, convocation:
“Among the Associates was a Filipino, and among the Masters
were a Hindu and a Chinese. In the Divinity School a Japanese received
the degree of bachelor of Divinity and a blind man also received
the same degree.” At least one group, however, may have gotten
the short shrift: the convocation address, delivered by Harvard
professor Kuno Francke, covered “The Unpopularity of German
for adults (see 1954).
The Iliad: not just for first-years anymore. The Basic
Program of Liberal Education for Adults, founded in 1946, served
both “persons who have never attended college” and those
“who became highly specialized in college work and simply
want a broader perspective of learning,” reported the June
Magazine. No one 21 or under was admitted. Participants
read Homer, Joyce, Racine, Aristotle, Marx, Freud, and the Bible.
One student was quoted as saying, “I really discovered Hobbes
and what he means.” While the courses provided college credit,
few students went on to receive bachelor’s degrees.
The Spring Magazine proved bookish. The Library Society
announced the two winners of its annual student book-collecting
award: a Slavic languages & literatures graduate student and
an economics undergrad. Another piece described an about-to-open
exhibit that focused on the Regenstein Library’s Berlin Collection:
books, manuscripts, and other materials from an 1891 acquisition
that made front-page news in the October 28, 1891, New York
Times, which called it “one of the largest book deals
ever consummated.” Knowing the Magazine’s audience,
the Library also put an ad in that issue soliciting gifts to its
Fund for Books.
The June Magazine detailed “Chicago’s
ultimate three-piece suit,” the tam, gown, and hood combo
worn at convocation. Delving into the history of graduation attire,
the article covered the late 19th century to the late 20th, when
the ensemble went for $680. “Avoiding a look that’s
as wrinkled as an emeritus isn’t easy,” noted the writer.
Dry cleaning, not home ironing, was the recommended treatment for
flattening one’s robe—P.M.