Caption: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1896
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BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENT STATION.
To the Trustees of the University of Illinois. GENTLEMEN: The Biological Experiment Station of the University of Illinois was founded mainly to represent the University and the state in an important field of scientific investigation; to do its part towards making the people of the state at large acquainted wTith the state itself; to stimulate and to aid the educational activities of the public schools in respect to the biological subjects and to reform, in some respects, their methods; and to put a foundation of precise and comprehensive knowledge of the system of aquatic life under the practical art of the fish-culturist, especially as this is represented by the operations of the Fish Commissions of our interior states. It hardly need be said that an educational institution may not properly assume and keep the name of university which is content to depend wholly on the abilities and activities of others for the store of knowledge which it distributes to its students, contributing nothing on its own part to the common stock. Such a condition of complete dependence marks it as at best a secondary school. It is also beneath the dignity of a sovereign state to depend wholly on others for the fundamental elements of its welfare, making no effort to render any return in kind. On the other hand, a state university owes its first duty to the people of its own state, and should investigate by preference subjects which concern their welfare. Even though it may do valuable work in remoter fields, it neglects its own sphere of essential and immediate usefulness if it lets its own territory remain unexplored, and its own special problems lie without solution. The teaching of biology has been for many years required in the public schools of Illinois, but it is a commonplace complaint that this work is far less valuable than it should be, and that its progress is grievously hampered because most of our teachers of science have a very imperfect acquaintance with the subject matter which should be taught and with the most fruitful methods of biological instruction. The University of Illinois, through its