DENIES HE BEGS GIFTS
HARPER SAYS FUNDS COME UNSOUGHT TO CHICAGO UNIVERSITY
Addressing the Annual Dinner of the Alumni Club at the Victoria Hotel, He tells
How Large Benefactions Have Been Recieved, Unsolicited, by the Institution and
Specifies the Spontaneous Donors — Hints at Coming Presents — Others Who Speak.
Dr. W. R. Harper was the central figure at the second annual dinner of the Alumni club of the University of Chicago last night at the Victoria Hotel. He made the occasion a memorable one for the club by entering a general and specific denial of the oft repeated charge that the university of which he is the head of a "begging" institution, and also by a vigorous defense of the recent departure of the university which establishes a second-year degree. To prove his statement that the university is not a begging institution Dr. Harper told how some of the large gifts received were offered to the school without even a hint they would be acceptable.
Dr. Harperís denial that funds had been sought was greeted at first with incredulous laughter, but the speaker paused at this and insisted that he was not joking but giving facts.
The club had as its other guests Charles I. Sturgis, President of the Harvard Alumni club, and E. C. Lindley, treasurer of the Michigan Alumni club, each of whom made a short address, besides that delivered by L. Brent Vaughn on behalf of the members present. An original and humorous poem was read by J. W. Linn. The president of the club, William Scott Bond, acted as toastmaster.
The following were present:
E. A. Buzzell,
C. C. Gilchrist,
Phil Allen C. S. Winston,
R. W. Webster W. O. Wilson,
M. D. MacIntyre D. S. Trumbull,
J. W. Linn C. J. Bushnell,
James S. Brown C. E. Fish,
R. H. Hobart L. S. Alschuler
S. D. Barnes W. Schaffner
Henry G. Gale J. E. Raycroft
L. Brent Vaughn Mayo Fesler.,
H. L. Stearn William Scott Bond,
F. W. Hill.
Dr. Harperís Denial.
Dr. Harper was speaking of the recent assemblage of educators and university Presidents in Chicago when he had occasion to refer to the statement that Yale, with its financial resources, was doing more work than any other university in the country. He alluded to the remark made by President Eliot at one of the conferences that he, as the head of Harvard, never asked for money for the support of that institution.
"I may be pardoned if I take the opportunity at this time," said Dr. Harper, "to say that I have never asked any living man for a cent of money for the support of the University of Chicago. You donít believe that?" as a half incredulous laugh arose from the members of the club. "President Eliot was joking when he said he never begged, but I am not joking no.
"Did I ask Mr. Rockefeller for the first and the second million he has give to the university ? No. Mr. Rockefeller first wrote to me concerning the needs of the university, and then sent for me to visit him. I couldnít well refuse the invitation, but on that visit I never asked him for any money. He has since availed himself of the chance he had to give to the university, as you are well aware.
"There is the Hull biological gift," continued Dr. Harper. "I never had seen Miss Helen Culver, nor had I ever heard of her when she made her splendid donation. The first intimation I received of her intention to give the university a million dollars was one evening when I went home and found a letter awaiting me, in which Miss Culver said she wanted to give the university $1,000,000. It was her own free and unsolicited gift.
"Then there is the Hitchcock gift. I knew nothing about it until one day a lady called me up on the telephone and wanted to know if she could see me at my office at a certain hour the following day. It was during my office hours, and I told her she would be welcome. When she came to see me it was to tell me that she had concluded to make the university a present of $200,000.
Cobb Hall and Kent Laboratory
"Silas B. Cobb donated Cobb Hall to the University without any solicitation from any source. While we had our offices in the twelfth story down-town he came in one day and took us all by surprise. Did anybody ask Mrs. Nancy Foster for money ? No. Mrs. Foster came into the office one day, much disturbed, apparently, and wanted to know if the university would take $50,000 from her as a gift. She was not asked for money.
"Take the Kent chemical laboratory as another illustration," said Dr. Harper, concluding his remarks on this subject. "Mr. Kent tried several times to force his money on the university, so to speak, and finally telegraphed his give one day while he was so far away that we couldnít refuse him. Mr. Yerkesí $500,000 came to use in the same way — without the least solicitation on the part of the university. The whole point is that the University of Chicago is not a begging institution, and that its trustees and President have never asked a cent for its support."
Hints at Coming Benefactions.
"In a guarded way Dr. Harper awakened the curiosity of the members of the club by predicting that the future would witness many more evidences of substantial interest in the university. He spoke of the plans being prepared for an assembly house, a student clubhouse, and a commons at Fifty-seventh street and Lexington avenue, at an expenditure of $130,000, and then alluded to the conditions on which Mr. Rockefeller had made his last donation.
"We have $350,000 to raise before April 1," said Dr. Harper, "and Iím not asking anybody to contribute. The opportunity is before the public, however, and if it is embraced, as it is hoped it will be, what is going to happen ? You will realize more than your most visionary dream."