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ATTENDANCE FOR THE YEAR 1899-1900.
The whole number of students in attendance during the year ending June 30, 1900, was 849, classified as follows:
SUMMARY OF STUDENTS.
52 71 127 160 241 75 92 31
The following table will show the growth of the institution in respect to attendance since its organization, the respective figures being for the year ending June 30, of the years named:
Names of counties represented by one or more students:
Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, Dekalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin,
Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, Lagrange, Lake, Laporte,
Madison, Marion, Martin, Marshall, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Porter, Posey, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, St. Joseph,
STATES AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES REPRESENTED.
The States and countries represented in the institution during the present year are as follows:
Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,
New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South America, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
THE YEAR'S WORK.
The work of Purdue University as fixed by law is of three kinds, viz.: To instruct students; to conduct scientific and technical research, and to disseminate information. The annual report of its officers, therefore, properly includes reference to each of these lines of activity.
INSTRUCTION OF STUDENTS.
As shown on a preceding page, there was a considerable increase in the number of students enrolled for the year; the same being distributed through all departments although it was proportionally largest in the short winter course in Agriculture.
In all of the six schools of the University the prescribed courses of study have been maintained with thoroughness and efficiency, 103 graduates receiving degrees at the close of the year's work.
Certain changes in the course in Civil Engineering have been adopted to go into operation during the coming academic year (1900-1901). These changes have had for their purpose the securing to the student of a greater amount of time for field practice in surveying as well as for training in the important subjects of the Location, Construction and Maintenance of Railways and Railway Structures. In furtherance of this plan, the optional course in Architectural Engineering has been discontinued.
In pursuance of the policy of the institution, numerous additions have been made to the equipment for instruction in each department. It can not be expected that competent instruction in technology or science can be given with equipment which is allowed to become obsolete or which is incomplete. Our students are to use the training which we provide in the most active and progressive fields in the world, and unless we furnish the best and most modern facilities they will seek elsewhere for that which the technical professions demand of them. It is necessary, therefore, that our laboratories and shops secure each year the apparatus and machines representing the best and latest practice in the commercial world. For instance, in the field of electrical engineering, one of the most important recent lines of development is in the long distance transmission of high tension currents. It is absolutely essential that successful students of electricity have the use of modern apparatus of commercial size and character in order that they may obtain a knowledge of this subject. Similar examples could be given in all departments of the University.
The wisdom of Purdue's policy in this respect is shown by the high standing which she has attained in the field of technology.
In the School of Agriculture, the short winter course, lasting eleven weeks and consisting of practical lectures and demonstrations in special phases of farm practice, has grown rapidly into popular favor. Purdue's experience in this respect is similar to that of other States. While at a first glance it might seem that classes of this kind without special entrance requirements, and lacking educational standards, are out of place in a college, nevertheless they are, in my opinion, justified by the conditions which exist in the field of agricultural education. It is eminently desirable to extend the benefits of technical training to the farming industry, but there are very evident obstacles in the way of accomplishing this, viz.: on the one hand, the indifference of many farmers to the value of such training, on the other, the inability--in many casesof farmers boys to make the necessary school preparation, or to give the time needed for an extended college course of study. Purdue believes, therefore, that she is only carrying out the true spirit of education in making her work attractive and valuable to the farming classes. The short winter course enables men and women from the farms, who could not possibly attend regular college classes, to learn in a general way of the applications of science to their business. They receive valuable instruction, and, what is of far greater importance, they obtain a more intelligent viewpoint of their life work, receiving inspiration for higher efforts. Such popular courses of study constitute the first and most necessary steps which shall lead by and by to that more rational kind of training in agriculture which comparatively few are disposed to seek at the present time.
I am aware that the material prosperity of its graduates should not be regarded as the sole criterion of the success of an educational institution, but technical training is supposed to fit its students for service and the extent to which they are in demand must be a significant index of the fitness of this training. It is noteworthy that in recent years our senior students have been, to a large extent, under engagement to fill positions in the line of their studies before the day of their graduation. In the engineering schools, hardly a man but has thus found his career opening before him in advance of his college degree. The leading manufacturing industries, constructive companies, railways, and business firms of all kinds, who need men of scientific or technical training, are constantly applying to us for our graduates, and literally hundreds of such requests have been refused because no men were available. It is gratifying to learn that our graduates maintain themselves creditably under the most severe practical tests, and in so doing demonstrate the fitness of their training.
This condition of affairs is, to my mind, the most convincing testimony as to our success in the work of instruction.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH.
At least one department of Purdue University, viz., the Agricultural Experiment Station, has for its chief function the prosecution of scientific research. But the activities of the institution in this respect are not confined to any one department, for, so far as the work of instruction will permit, investigations of great variety are constantly being carried on by members of the faculty. The research thus prosecuted in the laboratories of instruction serves a double purpose. There is, first, the value of the work in itself as a contribution to knowledge and, second, the benefit of such work to the student who participates in it under the guidance of his instructors. To him it is the best of training to attack and solve new problems, and it is also a source of inspiration to feel that he is working in an unexplored field with all of its possibilities of discovery. Instruction in scientific subjects would certainly be imperfect did it not include something of this spirit of investigation.
The researches made at Purdue during the past ten years have been of inestimable value to science and the technical industries.