UIHistories Project: A History of the University of Illinois by Kalev Leetaru
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Repository: UIHistories Project: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1874 [PAGE 84]

Caption: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1874
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Report of the

itself the style of Industrial University, as not excluding any courses of instruction and knowledge they may require, and that it is specially considerate of the industries of the State. Illinois having adopted a system of education at public expense, which reaches the home of every child within its borders, and offers in every centre of population instruction fitted to qualify each of them for all the common pursuits of life, here crowns that system with a circle of the highest opportunities within its gift. What shall this be % Certainly no partial, one-sided or perverted theory will answer. Your commonwealth—as the civil organization into which all your citizens have entered, and through which only they are able to reach all their interests—needs science, needs art, needs every form of culture, and must furnish for them an opportunity, a chance, a scope—nay, must stimulate, encourage and sustain them. This, moreover, the commonwealth does not for itself, as an abstraction, nor for itself alone, as represented in its officers, but for all the people and all their interests, by whom, through whom and for whom it is so conducted. In a sense, this University is the agency by which science is to be fostered, new fields explored, new applications ot industry tested —by which, too, the diffusion of all knowledge is to be promoted, and by which all the people are to be inspired to a higher intelligence and virtue. Necessarily, as many as will must be fitly aided in their general culture, wThile large and reasonable opportunity is furnished for special preparation for service in the arts and trade. Who could study the position of your University, the sources from which its means have come, or the methods by which it is conducted, without finding in it a beautiful expression of what American educational forces may be? As the nation had set apart a fixed section of laud in each township for its common schools, so it contributed from its domain the first endowment for establishing the superior instruction here imparted, and appropriately and scrupulously refuses to interfere with its administration. Thus, then, you have at once the benefit of a powerful inspiration to local action and to a large and national patriot ism 5 and the commonwealth, by this aid stimulated to effort, takes up the full responsibility, confides it to a board of trust and control, and places the instruction here to be imparted in proper relation to the other schools—elementary, secondary and superior—among you, so as to benefit them all, and to be benefited by all—the State proposing to supplement by the amplest means what the nation has done. In religion the culture now to be imparted here, is nou-sectarian, but not unchristian ; in political, while not partisan, it is not without patriotism; a part of the civil organization, it is not in antagonism with institutions of any grade that may.be established and conducted by the different branches of the church. This harmony of educational forces, to which there is so distinct a tendency in our country, relieves us of evils which are elsewhere encountered. Looking over the history of the world, studying carefully the facts before me, I confess I see in it special advantages. I should become uneasy if there was such action by the civil organization as to preclude the free action of the church, and I should be equally alarmed to see such exclusive control by the church as to forbid this action by the State. With us civilization has made such rapid strides, because here it has been possible to harmonize so many elements, to lay under contribution such a variety and diversity of forces. I am among those w^ho believe that we cannot afford to spare or exclude any social, civil,