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August 08, 1949 - Image 7

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1949-08-08

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1949 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

M ichigane.
Story
(Continued from Page 6)
He made his proposals to the
Regents, and it appeared at first
that the University College
would be fairly easily achieved.
In 1926 a faculty committee
was appointed to study the plan,
and it soon announced a reason-
a ly liberal compromise: it called
for the creation of a University
College, provided that the neces-
sity of an undergraduate entering
it would be waived in cases where
'jeopardy" to the student's pur-
poses could be shown.
BUT THE LITERARY college
called the plan too costly, and the
engineering college claimed that
the welfare of its students would
be jeopardized.
This bickering continued with
little decisive action taken either
for or against the scheme, and
President Little grew progres-
sively more and more irritated
by what he seemed to regard as
deliberate obstructions tactics.
It became apparent that if the
plan was adopted at all, it would
be only in highly modified form.
In spite of the generally dis-
appointing aspect of the Little
years, several notable reforms were
accomplished. The President in-
stituted a "Freshman Week" at

the beginning of each term during
which incoming students were
given an opportunity to acquaint
themselves with the University. A
success from the start, the pro-
gram has survived to the present
time - although it is currently
felt that the period is unnecessar-
ily long.
* * *
MEANWHILE, the students -
reflecting the generally: "fast"
way of living in the later Twen-
ties - were roaring about the
countryside in increasingly pow-
erful cars, like the popular Stutz
Bearcat.
The inevitable cost of such
laxity was a tragic toll of deaths
and injuries. President Burton
had tried in vain to throw the
responsibility for the situation
on the parents, and President
Little, finding conditions abso-
lutely intolerable, tiok decisive
action.
At first, the University simply
denied driving privileges to under-
classmen.
WHEN THIS DID NOT result in
a noticeable decrease in the num-
ber of accidents, the present over-
all ban was instituted on June 17,
1927.
Although students at first vig-
orously attacked the decision,
sense soon replaced temper and
all concerned agreed that the move
was well-advised.
President Little became keen-
ly interested in a series of in-
terdenominational services con-
ducted Sunday mornings in Hill
Auditorium by a group of stu-

dents impatient with the more
formal church worship. For
some weeks, the project was
highly successful, and numerous
nationally prominent clergymen
were brought to Ann Arbor.
Eventually, however, apathy re-
placed enthusiasm and the pro-
ject failed.
The Little administration was
not devoid of other significant in-
novations; the present highly use-
ful Bureau of Appointments and
Occupational Information had its
beginning in 1926.
*f * *
PRESIDENT LITTLE was also
responsible for a survey of Uni-
versity athletic and physical ed-
ucation facilities. The readily ap-
parent inadequacies of the plant
encouraged a bond issue, which
made possibly the construction of
Michigan Stadium - first used in
the fall of 1927, the Intramural
Building, and the Women's Ath-
letic Field and Building.
A significant academic devel-
opment was the founding of the
School of Forestry and Conser-
vation in 1927 on existing liter-
ary college foundations: the De-
partment of Library Science be-
came an official part of the
University in 1926.
Education by radio was also in-
troduced during the Little admin-
istration.
* * *
BUT IN SPITE of these succes-
ses, the University as a whole was
not yet ready to accept President
Little's greatest plan - the Uni-
very College. Today's general pro-
gram of undergraduate study, re-
serving the junior and senior years
for concentration, demonstrates
the University's eventual absorp-
tion of most of the progressive
president's program.
Angry and disillusioned, Dr.
Little tendered his resignation
on Jan. 21, 1929. And in spite of
the general disappointment his
years had held, the Regents
summed up the prevailing 4ew
of his departure when they
said:
"His high ideal of educational
standards, his initiative, his con-
structive aspirations, his frank-
ness, courage, and sincerity have'
made the severing of relationships
a heartfelt loss to us all."
Ruthven and Today ...
Where each previous University
administration had shown one

central theme of achievement, the
years of President Alexander G.
Ruthven have combined all of
these - and on an unparalleled
scale.
Before World War II historians
viewed Dr. Ruthven's vast initial
program of administrative and
academic addition, division, and
simplification as the theme of his
period.
And, even though. recent years
have necesstated a modification
of this view, the early reorganiza-
tion accomplished by the Ruthven
administration still remains an
impressive achievement.
* * *
DR. RUTHVEN had been assoc-
iated with the University for some
years preceding his election to
the presidency - most recently
as Dean of Administration - and
undoubtedly had a better under-
standing of Michigan's problems
and shortcomings when he enter-
ed office than did any of his pred-
ecessors.
Thus, when the furor aroused
by President Little's University
College plan had died down, the
new president set about some
reform of unquestioned neces-
sity.
He proceeded from the premise
that the Michigan presidency held
more responsibility than one man'
could adequately handle. Thus,
there was a gradual distribution
of executive authority to others -
along executive-and-cabinet lines.
AMONG THE OFFICES im-
mediately created were three vice-
presidencies in charge of various
broad administrative fields, and a
director of alumni relations. In
1938, the first Provost was ap-
pointed - an official to carry out
certain presidential functions.
To soften the old line of de-
marcation between the faculty
and administration in the col-
leges and schools, Dr. Ruthven
institutedexecutive committees
which included not only the
dean, but also members ofthe
faculty.
Not the least of Dr. Ruthven's
accomplishments was in the lit-
erary college where he gradually
transformed an "academic mon-
strosity" into an orderly and well-
divided organization of depart-
ments.

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THERE WERE OTHER prac-
tical reforms and simplifications
on every side - in the schools and
colleges, in the administration, and
even in such fields as alumni re-
lations.
But the beginning of Presi-
dent Ruthven's administration
was marked with something
more than a University reform
of unprecedented vastness; he
assumed office almost simultan-
eusly with thestart of a great
national depression.
The effects of the market crash
were not long in striking Ann
Arbor. There was an almost im-
mediate drop in enrollment as
hard-pressed parents began pull-
ing their sons and daughters out
of college. Nor was it long be-
fore the University itself assumed
its share of the nation's financial
insecurity. There were drastic
cuts in the school's income in
1932-33, followed by general -
but cautious - trimming of ex-
penses wherever it was possible.
BECAUSE OF THE considered
and intelligent policy taken by the
administration, the University
community as a whole weathered
the extended crisis with a mini-
mum of damage. But for individ-

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