Yes, I’d Go Back to College

Says the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway : “The college slant is a great thing in business —and great stuff for anybody’s youngster"

E. W. BEATTY October 15 1927

Yes, I’d Go Back to College

Says the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway : “The college slant is a great thing in business —and great stuff for anybody’s youngster"

E. W. BEATTY October 15 1927

Yes, I’d Go Back to College

Says the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway : “The college slant is a great thing in business —and great stuff for anybody’s youngster"


Leslie M. Roberts

COLLEGE education is the greatest thing in the world for nine people out of every ten, in my


College education is the greatest developer and broadener, the greatest builder of mind and body and the greatest humanising influence that civilization can offer a youngster in his, or her, years of development.

If I were eighteen now, instead of almost fifty, I hope my feet would be treading campus sod. I hope I would be back in classes with the fellow3 I used to know, listening to our old professors. I hope a football coach would be telling me unpleasant things about myself, because I didn't make another three yards, with that ready-made hole to go through.

My memories of college days are tender recollections of men and teachers, games and classes, sports and fun, ivy-clad halls and the bite of an autumn breeze across the campus. If the fellows who thumb their noses at the idea of college had the happy memories that a college grad carries through life with him, they might not be so quick to wriggle their fingers. Most of us look back on the years, not as wasted, but as something too short and fleeting.

I suppose I am an outstanding example of the theory propounded by the scoffers, who look on a general college course as time wasted in play by a lot of young fellows who ought to be at work, earning their bread and butter and getting a start in life, for if anyone were ever sufficiently interested to visit the halls of learning that I attended in my youth, and there to look up the records of a young fellow of the Gay Nineties known to his intimates as ‘Banty’ Beatty he would find nothing scrawled across the pages to make him think young Beatty was an asset to his classrooms.

On the contrary.

There exists, as a matter of fact, a letter from the learned principal of

attended, su?ges-ir.g TO rr.y father that rr.y personality and activities could be em-

ployed to better advantage in some other school. The firm, uncompromising characters of the principal’s handwriting, in point of fact, deliberately urged my removal from his sight. And I was duly removed, to the pain of —my parent.

In my college days I wasn't much better. Not quite so irresponsible. I did manage to 'get by,’ but my professors must have regarded me as amongst the Hopeless Cases, from the academic view at least. Somehow or other, I did manage to make my exit by the front door when graduation time came, but I was well down the line.

The Higher Learning

SUMMING up my concrete position, I had learned something about advanced football as it was played in those days, which consisted chiefly in being rugged enough to take a varied assortment of punishments for sixty minutes and to batter holes with one’s head and shoulders in something that resembled, say, a stone wall built of human beings. It was a less scientific pursuit than the brand on view this year. Possibly it was a bit more arduous; possibly not. But it was a lot of fun.

Then, we learned a number of excellent songs which were yelled by raucous young voices whenever opportunity offered. Also, we discovered, among other things, that a policeman will show marked antipathy to young men who pull trolley poles off the wires and run.

Between times, I suppose, irregular verbs, mathematics and the higher flights of literature caught the fleeting attention.

Not an imposing scholastic record, by any means. The confession almost delivers me into the hands of the scoffers.

But just a moment.

If these campus memories are the things that cause self-made men to ridicule the very thought of sending their sons to college, I will still maintain that those who sit in judgment are wrong, entirely and altogether. For these vagrant fancies of memory are phases, happy mind pictures thac float to the ceiling in blue clouds of tobacco smoke, the moments one recalls when other hours grow dim in the mind’s eye. They are the little pranks and escapades that one talks and laughs over with one’s friends of those days, just as soldier-men, getting together, thumb the pages of harmless foolishness and skip the tales of derring-do.

The prevailing thought that these young fellows in college should be spanked and put to bed without their suppers, is quite right—about a few college men. There are cases on record, also, of bank presidents who were not what they might have been. In college, as in other walks, the Bad Actors are the exceptions, but, being exceptions, they attract the eye, get into the front page headlines and bring down criticism on every member of their class.

College men of any generation have been and are a bunch of ~as personable and likeable young fellows as anyone would care to know. They bubble with pranks and the love of fun—which is no crime—but taken in the mass, are as level headed as youth is expected to be. Mainly, they are ambitious, clean and honest. The wine of youth may go tumbling through young arteries, but it is a good, red stream. Mark you, this isn’t said to uphold the college man as something better than the fellow who doesn’t go to a university! It is merely an effort to break down a myth that seems to have got abroad, to the general effect that college undergraduates are a wayward or, as some people insist, a degenerate crowd. The idea is foolish.

Don’t All Use Gold Butte* Knives for Bookmarkers

LET’S knock another fallacy on the head while we are at it. This is an answer to the reader who, at this juncture, remarks to himself or herself that the college boy theory is all right for the boy or girl who has money, but not much good for the youngster who has to pay the shot for himself. That idea is better reversed. The fellow who is paying his own way is likely to take more away from college with him than he would be if everything came too easily. And there is one thing for which we may thank the gods and that is, that in university life on this continent, at least, the poor may share the heights equally with those who use gold butter knives for bookmarkers.

What did I get out of college? Much. Continued on page 57

Continued from page 10

Has college helped me in my journey along the road? Greatly.

If I could go back to eighteen, incidentally, I like to think that I would both give more to and get more from college than the irresponsible young fellow who was I, thirty years ago, did.

Citing a man’s concrete gains from university training, is not an easy task. One is liable, rather, to stuff a comfortable pipe, set a match to it and let his thoughts wander to a muddy, frozen field, the thud of the tackle, a greasy pigskin and the sound of a halfback’s boot as it meets the ball. Errant memory turns to thoughts of one’s fellows, to old campus associations, and to the men who taught him, not for their knowledge of trigonometry or alien conjugations, but for their wisdom, their clearness of character and their love of things that are good and that leave a clean taste in one’s mouth.

Not very concrete, that, you will say. But I have no desire to swap memories like those for other things that have more definite shape in the mart of human gain.

What does the University give?

T ET us look at this concrete side, how•*-' ever, and see what a young man or woman may hope to take into the world from university.

We may quickly dismiss the faculties that lead to the many branches of engineering, or to the law or medicine. Their concrete results are obvious to anyone. Then there are commercial courses at most colleges to-day that ground the student soundly in the ways of business.

The more generalising Arts course, therefore, remains as the last rampart of the scoffer.

But, the scoffer to the contrary, four years in Arts is an amazingly fine thing for the young man or woman who is going out to earn a living in the business world. To-day, you will find the Arts men and women of five, ten, twenty years ago in the counting-house, in the offices of great corporations, or out on the highways selling sealing wax and things, and doing it just a bit better than they would have done without the advantages of college. They acquire a certain polish. Their bumps have been rounded off. They have, somehow, a fresher, clearer point of view to show for it. They took their time. They thought it out and—perhaps without knowing it definitely—picked the type of job they wanted most before they went out and got it. When a man goes straight from the high school to the high stool he doesn’t usually exercise that selection. He gets a job, often any job, and goes to work. Later in life he is likely to find that he didn’t pick the right one, but, by that time, he will stay in his misfit corner, either from habi, or because there would be too much risk involved in change. Youth deserves its four years in which to select its own lifework.

Why all this hurry for a youngster to get down to his life job? Surely he deserves the chance to fit himself for it, think about it and prepare himself for it as thoroughly as possible. We look before we leap into most things. We study our money investments carefully before we make them. Why not study the greatest investment any of us has to make, his life? College gives a man that chance, and aids him in selecting by preparation and tuning him up.

College education—general college education—teaches a man or woman to think; to think broadly, to formulate opinions, to develop the mind on constructive lines. Too much haste in getting down to work at an early age is likely to confine the thinker’s thoughts to the shoe business, or whatever his occupation may be.

Of course, there are plenty of misfits graduated from the universities. You can’t draw infallible lines. But, in the

main, the general education of an Arts course works out as a thoroughly good thing for most people. It briskens them. It gives them polish. It speeds up the thinking process. It is great stuff for anybody’s youngster.

He learns to exercise his brain. He learns to exercise his body. He learns to exercise his genius for social contact. And, in years to come, he will sit in his armchair o’ nights, blowing blue clouds of smoke to the ceiling and revive precious memories that any man should have to take with him.

Nebulous? Generalising? Memory has a way of being nebulous and generalising.

But precious and gracious memories are hard come by in the marts of trade. Business is too busy to pause and create these fine things, but not too busy to welcome the young man who comes along with his esprit de corps and, when he proves his mettle, be all the kinder to him for the fine things he has brought with him into the market place.

Business is pretty much every man for himself. College is each for all and all for Alma Mater. You can’t put too much of that into a man when he’s young, particularly in a growing country like ours, where we need every bit of unselfishness and esprit de corps we can lay our hands on. The college slant is a great thing in business. Ask any high executive. He may pooh-pooh the college man a bit on the day after graduation, but when the shine has worn off the sheepskin and the young gentleman is getting down to work, he has a habit of ranking pretty high in the eyes of his colleagues and superiors.

If I could, I would go back to the campus to-morrow. Certainly if I were eighteen and my circumstances were such that it wasn’t essential for me to get out and support dependents, I would go to college. If I could, I would play football. And if I were not first team timber—here lies the genius of the university spirit—I imagine I would deem it high honor to act as a tackling dummy for the men on the team and gladly allow them to romp over my recumbent form every afternoon in practice. If, at eighteen, it were possible for me to feel as serious about things as I do at almost-fifty, I would endeavor to absorb more book learning than I did when I was a college man. I’d want to be an all-round man—even to pulling the occasional trolley-pole, perhaps. I would lift my voice in all the raucous old songs and feel a funny little catch down in the back of the throat, and a welling in my eyes when the college hymn was sung.

Call it abstract. But these memories are very concrete to the fellow who remembers the elm on the campus.

And lastly

/'COLLEGE may still be what is vulgarly, but expressively known as the bunk. But if it were, I don’t think you would find so many self-made men who, in their youth, lacked the opportunity for univeisity training, becoming the leading benefactors of our universities: Men like Carnegie, Rockefeller, Duke and James D. Archbold, who between them have given millions upon millions to provide opportunities for the youth of this generation.

The ‘College is futile’ viewpoint is not founded on common sense, so much as on prejudice.

College days are the sweetest in the pages of any man’s book of memory. College atmosphere, college discipline, college loyalty, the whole savored with good books and the fine men who lead youth in class-rooms and on the playing fields breed something in youngsters that every man will value in the years ahead.

Yes, I’m glad I went to college. I wouldn’t have missed it for worlds. I wish I were there this fall!