Caption: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1874
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ADDEESS BY DB. J M. GBEGOBY, BEGEET. .
To-day this University, with its banner flung to the breeze, formally enters the new house munificently provided for it by the State. To-day, and here, in the presence of some of the highest officers of the State and of this assemblage of the citizens, representing every section of the commonwealth and nearly every class of its people, we are to dedicate this grand edifice for the high uses for which it has been constructed. It fits well the occasion to retrace briefly the pathway now become historic, by which the University has marched to this happy hour. History drives the baggage train of human progress, and brings forward all the spoils gathered upon the battle fields of the past. Institutions, like men and nations, grow wiser and richer by treasuring up whatever is valuable in their past experience. At the dawn of each new epoch there comes the demand for the historian and the prophet—the one to record the past, the other to forecast the future. It is assigned to me, to-day, to serve as historian, to rehearse to you the history of the University; and since we have no inspired prophets in these days, it may be allowed me to show the trend of the history whose progress I am to trace, and thus give to all the means to forecast for themselves the probable future which lies yet veiled before us. It is not a mere bald statement of facts, such as may be gathered from our annual catologue and the proceedings of the Board of Trustees, to which you are here invited. These may be necessary, as the bones are necessary to the body; but they constitute not the real history of the University. The day and this presence invite us to grander and more comprehensive views and statements. At the centre and base of all true institutions lie ideas. Such an institution is but the incarnation of ideas; it exists for them, and its history is but the record of their development, progress and products. More than all others, this Industrial University is the embodiment of certain great ideas. It has been nourished, shaped and inspired by them 5 and to-day it challenges the judgment of mankind of its fidelity to them. To recite its history without a reference to these grand constructive ideas which lend that history its interest and significance, would be as if I should present you Webster's dictionary as a grand compendium of English literature, because that all the words of that literature are contained in it. Let us indeed carefully note the facts— these are necessary; but let us also interrogate and interpret these facts, for this is also necessary.