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Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher
History of Cornell
At the meeting of the trustees of June 15, 1892, a committee was appointed to arrange for the appropriate observance of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the organization of Cornell University. It was decided to arrange for the celebration of the opening of the university on October 6, 7 and 8, 1893. Such an occasion afforded an opportunity to review the history, and to estimate the influence of the university as an educational force in the nation, in the twenty-five years of its existence, and for a reunion of former students and friends, who were present in large numbers. The exercises began on Friday evening, October the sixth, with a reception in the University Library, at which delegates from other universities, and invited guests were present.
Among the attractions of the library many recent additions were exhibited, among them the Zarncke library, previously one of the finest collections for the study of German literature and philology among the private libraries of Germany, which had been recently presented to the university by Mr. William H. SAGE; a rare Dante collection from Professor Willard FISKE ; several richly illustrated volumes upon events in Russian history, from the Hon. Andrew D. WHITE, minister to Russia; two portraits by the artist, Mr. J. Colin FORBES, one of the Hon. Ezra CORNELL, painted in accordance with a resolution of the Legislature of the State of New York, for the State Library in Albany, and a replica of a foot-length portrait of Mr. GLADSTONE, painted for the Liberal Club in London. The literary exercises in connection with this event were held on Saturday, October 7, in the lecture room of the library The oration upon this occasion was delivered by the Honorable Chauncey M. DEPEW. The address which the eloquent orator delivered upon this occasion was perhaps one of the most notable of his life; it glowed with the emotion which such an academic occasion suggests, and with the spirit of a scholar who is permeated with the thought of the glory of the history of universities in the past, and of their place in the world's progress, and who, at the same time, is full of memories of academic life which are at once tender and ennobling. The occasion, aside from politics and the fever of political life, was worthy of a celebration commemorating a university which has been representative in the history of the new learning. At the same time it was a glorious prophecy of the future, and of the influence which the university should exert in the coming educational life of the nation. Seldom, possibly never, has the province of the university been portrayed with more eloquence and beauty than was done by Mr. DEPEW on this occasion. One of the noblest passages of the address was, as was proper, a tribute to the memory of the founder, with whom Mr. DEPEW has been personally associated.
Other addresses were delivered by the Hon. Stewart L. WOODFORD, LL.D., who, as lieutenant-governor, had responded on behalf of the State at the opening of the university; by Chancellor UPSON of the University of the State of New York; by Professor G. C. CALDWELL in behalf of the original faculty; and by the Hon. Joseph C. HENDRIX, member of Congress from Brooklyn, one of the early students. An interesting feature of the occasion was the presentation to Dr. Burt G. WILDES, by Dr. Theobald SMITH, of a Festschrift, a volume containing contributions in science from his former pupils, designed to express their gratitude for his instruction and services to the cause of science; also of a manuscript history of the university, prepared by Professor Ernest W. HUFFCUT.
General regret was felt that President CLEVELAND, who, as governor, and at other times, has always manifested his interest in the university, was unable to be present, owing to the demand of important legislation in Congress.
At the dinner which followed congratulations were received from ex-President WHITE in St. Petersburg, to which a grateful response was sent, from General Meredith READ in Paris, the only survivor of the ten trustees named in the charter of the university; and a letter was read from Professor Goldwin SMITH in Toronto, who regretted his inability to be present. Speeches were made in behalf of the trustees by the Hon. S. D. HALLIDAY; the faculty, by Professor CRANE; the Commonwealth, by the Hon. Chauncey M. DEPEW; sister institutions of the east, by President Seth LOW of Columbia College; the earlier students, by Hon. Joseph C. HENDRIX; theosophy and education, by General A. C. BARNES; practical education, by Andrew CARNEGIE; sister institutions of the west, by President Cyrus NORTHRUP of the University of Minnesota; the university and the press, by St. Clair McKELWAY; the education of women, by President James M. TAYLOR of Vassar College; the college graduate and the men of affairs, by Hon. Oscar A. STRAUS, late United States minister to Turkey; the later alumni, by Seward A. SIMONS, A. B., "79.
On Sunday, the 8th of October, an impressive anniversary sermon was delivered in the Armory by the Right Reverend William Croswell DOANE, D. D., bishop of Albany and vice-chancellor of the University of the State of New York, thus closing this academic festival.
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