A Clarkson Mosaic - page 20

powers and immunities of a chartered institution of learning, know all men, that acting by the authority of the Chancellor of the
University, I do declare that the Thomas S. Clarkson Memorial School of Technology is hereby recognized and formally
opened in accordance with the wishes and purposes of its founders, for the promotion of the best interests of men, and for the
glory and praise of God.
Second, in the "Literary Exercises" held in the Potsdam Opera House that evening, addresses were
given by Director Eaton; Dr. T. Stowell, principal of Potsdam Normal School; Dr. J. Clarence Lee, president
of St. Lawrence University; Danforth E. Ainsworth, deputy superintendent of public instruction for the State
of New York; and General Francis A. Walker, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who
delivered the chief address of the evening: "Technology and Technical Education." Among other comments
in this address, General Walker uttered some prophetic words for Clarkson:
The present occasion calls sharply to our attention the coming into existence, during the past few years, of a new type
of school which is out of the ordinary line of ascent; which does not confine itself to a definite place in the educational order,
but which seeks objects of its own, and is at liberty to use all the agencies, instrumentalities, and methods which are appropriate
thereto. They propose to make themselves, not to be fitted into a system. Their ultimate form is not easy to conjecture. Herein is
one of the chief reasons for the hope of their future usefulness. First, as the result of their freedom from obligation to the
general system of education, they not only will be at liberty, but they will be strongly impelled to search out those real needs of
the American people in the matter of education which are at present unsupplied.
In the present stage of social and industrial change, change almost bewildering in the rapidity of its movement and in
the extent of the fields over which it is taking place, it is most reasonable to believe that great gaps exist between the public
needs and the accomplished or even attempted supply of those needs by the existing institutions of learning, even including the
schools of science and technology, as developed during the past 30 years [1866-96]. It is essential to this function as I conceive
it, that they should remain largely in a state of flux; open to all impressions; mobile under all influences; not too soon assuming
that they have found their ultimate resting place and have taken on their distinctive character.
Secondly, it seems to me reasonable that we should look to the schools of the new type for continuous
experimentation in regard to specific courses of instruction and technical means and methods of teaching, the benefit of which
shall be chiefly acquired by other institutions. It scarcely need be said that such freedom brings with it peculiar dangers. A
school which has entire liberty to choose its own field of work and to adapt to its own methods, to cut and fit and try on, must
depend on its own boards of instruction and management properly to temper enterprise, courage, and intellectual curiosity with
wholesome conservatism and sound practical sense.
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