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Harlan Henthorne Hatcher, distinguished scholar, author, and administrator, entered upon his duties as President of the University of Michigan on September 1, 1951, eighth in the notable list of educators which begins with Henry Philip Tappan one hundred years ago.  At the Ohio State University Dr. Hatcher was successively professor of English, dean of the College of Arts and Science, and vice-president.  The address here presented was delivered at his formal inauguration, November 27, 1951.

The State of Michigan is honored for its achievements in many fields. Chief among these is the University, which it has created. The University has been coexistent with the Territory and the State. It is held in the highest respect and esteem throughout the world. Its mission and its accomplishments are dear to the hearts of the people of the State, and of its graduates in all walks of life in all parts of the nation and in most of the foreign countries. In large measure it has fulfilled the dreams of its pioneer founders and of the generations of citizens who have fostered and nurtured it. It has a proud and inspiring tradition. It is a precious possession.

The University has entered this midcentury decade erect and sturdy; it is, and has been, a tower of continuing strength through all the years of turmoil and confusion in a rapidly developing country. And yet the element, which provides its great strength and distinction is a delicate thing and is perishable. That central element may be summed up in a word: Quality. It is that margin of quality, so hard to achieve and maintain, so potent in its power for good that makes all the difference.

We must be especially sensitive to this because there are danger signals along the road warning us that a passionate concern for high standards of quality of learning and service may be relaxed for a superficial spread. It is so easy to create the form and erect the shell; it is so hard to fill it with the elevated soul and the true creative spirit. It is so effortless and tempting to be merely good or mediocre in this great democracy and to lose the pride in fine workmanship. The margin of difference is so small and yet so vital - and it costs so little more. Robert Browning summed it all up in two great lines:

Oh, the little more, and how much it is!

   And the little less, and what worlds away!

This quality is derived through the union of strength from within and without the University. It is achieved from within through the complete coordination of inspired teaching and of imaginative and vigorous research. Only through this fertilization can the University render the highest and most extensive service to the State. There is no place and no occasion for self-satisfaction or complacency in this pursuit. Teaching and learning require a subtle combination of humility and confidence. The instant that the first suggestion of smugness enters the atmosphere, the glory of the mission is impaired.

The words of the Scriptures still stand: "Whosoever would become great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever would be first among you, shall be servant of all." This was the spirit and purpose of the founders; it was the source of strength for the generations of great men who have supported the institution, and who have learned and taught and added to knowledge here; it is the unswerving purpose of those who now dedicate their lives here. We shall strive in this spirit to add the little more.

This quality is achieved from without through the confidence, faith, and support of the people whom it serves. From the day of the first dawning of the American dream of a free people responsible for self-government, there also dawned the realization that fulfillment of the dream was dependent upon education. It is rewarding in our time to read again the philosophy and the declaration of faith of the men of earlier days who laid the plans for our colleges and universities. Without exception they placed the stress on religion, personal character, good citizenship, and high professional and technical competency for doing the necessary work of the nation. They recognized that the combined efforts of private citizens and the public purse were required for success in this adventure, and they thought of it, quite properly, not as an expense but as a golden investment secure against all vicissitudes of fortune.

This spirit and their plan was set down in New England's First Fruits in 1643, and the words still vibrate like sweet music down through three centuries and into the fourth:

After God had carried us safe to New-England, and wee had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, rear'd convenient places for Gods worship, and settled the Civil Government: One of the next things we longed for, and looked after was to advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust. And as wee were thinking and consulting how to effect this great Work; it pleased God to stir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard (a godly Gentleman, and a lover of Learning, there living amongst us) to give the one halfe of his Estate (it being in all about 1700£ towards the erecting of a Colledge, and all his Library; after him another gave 300£ others after them cast in more, and the publique hand of the State added the rest.

The combination was ideal.

The little band of men in the river village of Detroit on the edge of an unsettled and unexplored wilderness in the year 1817 heard the music, saw the vision, and projected the University of Michigan to serve the people who would some day build homes and rear children in the Territory. They were inspired again in 1837 when they placed the institution in Ann Arbor, and in 1850 when they built it firmly into the basic fabric of the state government and placed it under the stewardship of regents selected by their ballots. To its halls and laboratories have come the young men and women of Michigan, to mingle also, under wise policy, with selected young people from all parts of the nation and the world, to develop themselves to their highest capacities. From this campus have gone forth men and women of broadened vision and enlarged capacity to live bountifully and to serve their fellow men.

How well the purpose of the founders has been fulfilled in this regard is indicated by the wide and distinguished leadership displayed in every walk of life by the graduates of this institution. I wish there were some simple way to evaluate the constructive contribution being made daily by the entire 140,000 living alumni of the University. I know it would please Judge A. B. Woodward, the Reverend John Montieth, and the Reverend Father Gabriel Richard.

This contribution has been made possible, like the founding of Harvard College, through the happy combination of public and private support. The affection of the people of Michigan for their university, and their faith and confidence in its mission have been expressed by their generous support of its needs and programs. They have kept it in the forefront in the world of education. Surely the returns have been seventy and seven fold. For they have trained the men and women who not only look after themselves, but multiply the wealth of the State and help to support those who must be cared for in whole or in part by the State.

These men and women in turn have given back to the State, in addition to the service they have rendered, liberal aid for the advancement of the University. The hall where we are now gathered, the Rackham Building just north of us, the great Law Quadrangle, the Kellogg and Kresge gifts, and many other buildings and endowments represent the devotion and the gratitude of those who have served and have been served by the University. They have contributed much of the margin, which has added distinction to the University. Their response to the Phoenix Memorial Project, one of the many examples of the wise leadership of President Ruthven, is but another such expression in this present decade. It is of supreme importance that the State continues its support in like manner. The faith of the one is based upon faith in the other. And, in the words of those colonial builders, may it continue to please God to stir up private hearts and to lend greater strength to the "publique hand" of this state to perpetuate and advance this great institution for the enrichment of life in this generation and for posterity.

The demands upon the universities were never greater or more challenging than they are today. The universities have led the attack upon ignorance and darkness. They have added immeasurably to our store of knowledge about the nature of the physical and biological world; they have made some progress in the understanding of the nature of society and of the processes by which diverse units are coordinated into a peaceful whole; and they have cast at least a small gleam of candlelight into the recesses of man's innermost soul and upon the values by which he lives.

It is their primary business to preserve and transmit the old, and diligently to create the new.

They have succeeded in extending knowledge at a pace almost bewildering in its speed. Only a generation or two ago an alert mind could still hope to be abreast of all learning. Now the mastery of a single field taxes the capacity of an expert. And there is more to come. Our young people are going out into a complex world, which reflects this massive extension of knowledge and the resulting complications of managing the world, which has thereby become increasingly interdependent. No previous generation has been called upon for so much knowledge, skill, and wisdom. And the most essential instrument created to serve them in this need is the university. We will rise or fall by its success or failure. It must succeed.

This university has an equal responsibility for its undergraduates and for its graduate and professional students. The undergraduate program is of particular concern to us, and a vital part of the total strength of the University. Every care must be taken to keep this program vigorous, productive, and creative. One of the supreme moments in the development of a young citizen is the day when he enters upon his university training. He must be met at that point by wise and understanding, and friendly teachers who can lead him on into the joys of learning. He must be surrounded and saturated by an atmosphere of cultural well-being in the classroom, in his place of residence, in all hours of his life on the campus during those precious and critical four years of his growth.

There will be no relaxation in our stress upon our welcome to undergraduates or in our care for all matters that affect their welfare and growth into maturity. This will continue to be a seat of learning where your sons and daughters will be surrounded by the best the age affords.

Our solicitous care for the undergraduates is not inconsistent with an equal emphasis upon the vitality and distinction of the graduate and professional and research programs. In the larger sense they are interdependent. The advanced schools draw strength from the enthusiasm and the quest for knowledge and skills, which are nurtured in the undergraduates. If their progress has been worthy, their eagerness will have prepared their minds for the more exacting discipline demanded on the high graduate and professional level. There is no sudden break in the growth of the mind. It is a constant, punctuated from time to time by a seeming burst of interest and understanding, which may occur at any level. It may befall the professorial mind as well as the student mind.

The gears of all the complex structure of a university must mesh naturally and without friction. Research is not a separable function from teaching in a faculty. They are indivisible, like the smile and the lips. Where great teaching is going on, there will be active minds restlessly at work to extend knowledge and understanding. Where great research is going on, there will live teaching and stimulating communication of minds flourish also in rich cross-fertilization. Students at all levels of maturity must participate in this process. And those who are going on into the teaching profession must be diligent to master the art of teaching as well as the skill of research. We must never permit a wall to separate these two sources of life in the university.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

      What I was walling in or walling out . . .

              Something there is that doesn't love a wall ...

There is a vast and exciting program of research going on in this university. The contribution to knowledge made here is and has been one of the glories of the institution.

The basic work done in the University laboratories in chemistry, physics, botany and zoology, in bacteriology and medical science, in metallurgy, in all phases of engineering, in conservation, marketing, and a score of interlocking disciplines have quietly poured their knowledge into the swelling stream which has borne us forward in progress. No single life in our day in this state is untouched or un-enriched by the work, which has been done here and is being done at this moment. It is no less real and vital because it cannot always be measured with a line and weighed in a balance. It is like the rich rewards from the bread cast upon the waters, or the entertainment of angels unaware. The very atmosphere generated by this creative activity flows through all departments to enrich the teaching and expand the minds of students from the beginning freshman to the postdoctoral fellow. The continued progress and safety of the nation itself is dependent upon the preservation and advancement of this spirit of energetic learning, teaching, and research. Their combination is vital to a true and distinguished university. We shall continue to foster them at Michigan.

This creative spirit can flourish only in an atmosphere of freedom and high responsibility. Our own times, like those of many previous periods, are warped with tensions. Some of little courage or faith from time to time lose their vision, their perspective, or their balance. It is the mark of a free and educated man that he preserves his poise in the midst of confusion and his confidence in an era of crisis and doubt. The people are still to be trusted, truth is stronger than error, and reason and knowledge are still the only sure and effective weapons against evil and ignorance. As Jefferson wisely said, "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

Much has been said about freedom in our universities. It is well to say it over and over, as we say our prayers in repetitious ritual. Two shining texts from the Holy Scripture permanently summarized the rule of faith and practice: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Here at Michigan let the free pursuit of knowledge bear its precious fruit, and in this sign shalt thou conquer.

There is so much to be done that even the most faltering spirit should be inspired. We have awakened from the contented dream world of the previous century where the illusion was cherished that good would progressively overcome evil in the natural process of evolution. We know that evil is an active enemy of the good, and that it, too, is a dynamic thing, perpetuating itself, always treading on the heels of the good. Constant and alert creativeness is necessary and our good must have an edge to it. We propose with unfaltering faith to advance with all our resources upon the threat of chaos and old night.

Time presses us. Out of our increased knowledge and skills has come a massive power never before dreamed of as possible to mankind. Much of it has been born under the stress and heavy bludgeoning of war and destruction. It is a tragic irony of our imperfect state that the mention of atomic power should almost universally call up visions and memories of annihilating explosions and rising mushrooms of the ashes and dust of disaster. How to convert the power, which is thus symbolized into an instrument of peace for the comfort and welfare of mankind is the challenge to this generation.

It is this challenge which Michigan men and women and friends of the University have met with their response of at present approaching some $6,000,000 for the Phoenix Project - a new hope that, through the peaceful application of knowledge, out of this dust of destruction shall be born the resources for elevating mankind. It will apply to all aspects of life. We shall need to make a diligent assault upon the problems created by the changing conditions of our national life -the rapid growth of towns and cities, of great industrial centers, of increasing leisure, of the lengthening period of withholding young men and women from active productive life, the resulting juvenile and mental delinquency, and a host of kindred emerging and pressing problems.

These problems take us into areas, which we have only begun to recognize as problems, and about which we know so little. They form one of the many frontiers of the future. We shall have to concentrate research in these areas with the same energy that we applied ourselves a century ago to the science of agriculture under the impetus of the land-grant colleges. The University of Michigan, with its renowned staff, its tradition of research and service, and its location in the midst of a mighty and growing belt of industrial cities, must help lead the way in this great venture. It is tied inseparably to the broad concept of the Phoenix Project, which is already under way.

The University must be provided with the resources necessary for the discharge of its crucial functions. The entire State must be inspired with the glory and the urgency of the task. Our age is in ferment. The University must be kept always on the march. It is a complex and living organism that develops constantly or perishes. Again, it is that little more that makes all the difference. We must not let the emergency measures of the last few years become the new and lowered standards for our measurements. We must keep in mind during this brief breathing space between the veterans' bulge and arrival of their children at the University doors that for two decades now we have operated the universities and the colleges under crisis conditions.

The depression of the 1930's brought more students, especially advanced ones, at a time when funds were scarce and the physical plant and equipment could not be maintained or expanded adequately. The ensuing war period removed many of the students and some of the best younger members of the staff, and the priority need for weapons of war precluded building the educational defenses of peace. At this stringent moment the greatest influx of highly motivated students in the history of the nation poured into the colleges and universities. The crisis was met with courage and even with heroic boldness. We were not prepared, and we worked in an emergency situation. The danger now is that we shall accept this crisis situation and performance as the new standard and permit our educational needs to languish under the pressures of other short-range demands.

We must not allow this to happen. We must retool, rehabilitate, revitalize, and look with calm determination at our needs, our responsibilities, and our great opportunities. And once more, the investment is relatively so little, the rewards so stupendous. While we take care of the unfortunate mental wards of the state as our humanitarian duty, let us be ever diligent to remove the causes, to breed and develop sound, creative minds, and take our glory in the number of trained and useful citizens rearing sons and daughters fit for these states.

Two other points in our program I should wish to stress. One is the service function of the University to the State. The University can and does and will render its greatest service to the State by being strong in its central mission which is to teach and add to knowledge and make this knowledge available to all. In the general drift toward paternalism we may lose a firm grip on our goal. We must educate and train men and women who know how to continue to learn, who will take their place in society and there perform their functions. Extension must be an extension of strength, and the encouragement of others by their own initiative and efforts to do and learn for themselves. The University will continue in this way and this spirit to serve the people of this great state.

The other is the private character and richness of soul of the young people who live on this campus and go forth from it to the larger world. The men who envisioned the formation of the Northwest Territory wrote down three coordinate words for the cornerstone of our society: Religion, Morality, and Knowledge. These ringing words reach their fulfillment only when they are made to create good government and the happiness of mankind.

We shall strive here to acquaint the minds and hearts of the young people entrusted to our care with what the greatest spirits among us have revealed of men's spiritual resources, and what it means to be alive upon this earth: the great prophets of the world's religions, the poets who have reached highest and probed deepest into the mystery of life, the scientists who have taught us new methods of discovery, the philosophers who have given order and meaning to chaotic existence, the historians who have recorded the successes and failures of the generations of mankind. These are the fountainheads of wisdom and give poise to the mind, integrity to the character, and assurance to the soul. For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul.

There has never been the slightest disagreement on this point among the wisest spirits who have lived among us in all lands and in all times. And the men and women who conceived of this university, and who have devoted their lives to make it useful and great, heard their words and knew their truth.

It is a high responsibility to take up where they have, through time, left off. We realize with proud confidence, but with personal humility, that it has been the exalted vision and the loving labor of successive generations, which have brought us to this moment in the history of this university. What these men and women have so nobly striven to create and maintain is now ours to inherit, to perpetuate, and to advance. There is no higher calling than to attempt to do this to the top level of our abilities, and to hand it on to the next generation richer because this one has lived and made its fullest contribution in its time.

This, by the grace of God, we shall attempt to do.