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VOL. II.-JANUARY, 1900.-N0. 1.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF UNIVERSITY DAY AT THE
The significance of the reunion of alumni and ex-students at Dallas last October cannot yet be clearly seen, but all appearances indicate that it will be regarded in the future as an epoch-making event in the history of the University of Texas.
The loyalty of the alumni and ex-students has never been questioned; to say that a man has attended one or more sessions of the University has always been equivalent to saying that he is an ardent friend and supporter of the institution; on his return home he has, in almost every instance, become the self-constituted agent of the University, and in consequence, his family, friends, and community have become better informed about its work and character. The ex-student's love for his alma mater has also taken a proselyting turn, and others have thus been attracted to the University to become in turn centers of an influence, which has thus gone on widening with the accelerating rapidity of geometrical progression. In public life, too, the ex-student has invariably identified himself with the interests of the University; indeed, his loyalty has been so pronounced that in the past it has more often been found necessary to impose restraint upon his enthusiasm than to apply a stimulus to his patriotism. Without organization or coöperation of any kind, the ex-students have, as individuals, acted so uniformly whenever the interests of the University have been concerned that, as a result, there his grown up in the practical politics of Texas a University influence which is not to be despised.
Prior to the Dallas reunion i Cctober last, the influence of the alumni and ex-students upon the fortunes of the University had grown out of the interest of individuals in a beloved institution; there had been little or no organization. More than one attempt has been made to supply this deficiency. The annual June meeting of the Alumni Association has been steadily growing in importance, but this meeting has been, and still is, handicapped by disadvantages which have always limited the attendance to a small per cent of the membership, and which will probably continue to do so in the future; the most serious of these disadvantages have been the inaccessibility of Austin and the failure of the University to secure favorable excursion rates from the railroads. A University Association was also organized some years ago for the purpose of bringing University of Texas men into closer relations. It has held annual meetings and has done much to accomplish the purpose which brought it into being. But it has also encountered difficulties which have seriously impaired its efficiency.
A University Day at the Dallas Fair seems to have furnished a satisfactory solution of the problem of organization. The Fair is itself an attraction; the annual football game on University Day affords the means of spending a pleasant afternoon; the informal gatherings in the hotel lobbies, and the more formal meeting in the Auditorium furnish an opportunity for renewing friendships and an occasion for reviewing the pleasing incidents of college comradeship; the banquet, with its formal expressions by chosen orators of the sentiments which animate all, is a fitting end of a pleasant day. Besides, University Day at the Fair is not subject to the most serious disadvantages which detract from the success of the June meeting of the Alumni Association and of the annual meeting of the University Association,—the railroads offer extremely low rates on this occasion, Dallas is easily accessible, and it is situated in the heart of a section of Texas in which our ex-students are especially numerous. The large attendance, the enthusiasm, and the general success of the first meeting justify the hope that a happy solution has been found of the problem of bringing together the old students of the University in an annual friendly reunion.
The results of such an annual gathering are not far to seek. What has been done by individual in the past to promote the interests of the University and to extend its influence, may be done a great deal more effectively by the same individuads : Forking as an organized
body, with their efforts concentrated upon a clearly defined end. In other institutions fellowships and professorships have been endowed, athletic fields have been purchased, dormitories and other buildings have been erected by organizations of a similar character. But such material gain as this is a small part, indeed, of the value of these meetings to the University of Texas. The moral effect of reunions on University Day will be the real gain. The sons and daughters of the institution will go home from such meetings living over again the pleasant experiences of college life, and will become more than ever centers of University enthusiasm and powers for the extension of University influence into the remotest corners of Texas.
In this connection, it is not out of place, perhaps, to point out that the bond which holds together the University people is being strengthened by other means. A change recently made in the Constitution of the Alumni Association gives a voice in the control of its affairs to all members, whether present or absent at the annual June meeting. It is of greater significance that three undertakings of considerable magnitude have recently been launched, which have amply demonstrated the interest of the alumni and ex-students in University affairs: (1) Provision has been made for one or more scholarships in the University; (2) the purchase of the Athletic Field has been assured; and (3) marble busts of ex-Governor 0. M. Roberts and Sir Swante Palm have been ordered for the library. These are signs of a healthy interest and at the same time serve to stimulate that interest into greater activity.
Another sign of this interest is to be found in the organization of University clubs and in the hundreds of enthusiastic letters which reached the Executive Committee in Dallas from all parts of the State. Some of the clubs thus called into life have been made permanent organizations for the promotion of the interests of the University in the communities where they exist. A partial list with officers, is given elsewhere in this number of the RECORD.
The Dallas meeting gave fitting expression to the growing interest of the old students in the University; it strengthened the tie that binds University people together, and sent all home imbued anew with the spirit which makes alumni and ex-students of the highest value to alma midier. The large reuniber present at the meeting proved the time, the place, and attendant circumstances well chosen, and present indications point to University Day at the Dallas Fair as the day for the grand annual rally of the University people.
This notice would be incomplete indeed, if it omitted to mention the services rendered by the Dallas ex-students in making the day a success. Especially to the zeal and labor of Mr. W. M. Odell and Mr. Rhodes Baker and to their committees the University will ever remain indebted.
THE RELATION OF THE UNIVERSITY MAN TO THE
[Address of Marshall Hicks, LL. B., '85, at Dallas, University Day, October 21, 1899.]
Born in a tempest, nurtured in a storm, and grown strong in the struggle of more than half a century, Texas stands today with her loins girded, her staff in hand and her face toward the future ready to go forward into the dawn of a new and larger day. Truly, the horn of plenty has been emptied upon her. As from the wand of some magician, city after city has risen from the midst of silent wastes, bringing with them the rush of commercial activity, while a hundred quiet hamlets nestle upon her broad fields. In furnace and forge the eager fire dances and darts, and the whirr and hum of mighty machinery tell of a land where prosperity reigns and plenty has her home. Her distant cities are bound together by links of steel, while across her broad acres rich cargoes chase each other like flying shadows. Now the mellow fruit hangs heavy in the orchards of the east, the ripening grain glows golden in the west, while over the whole of her rich domain the staple of the State covers the earth like drifted snow. The song of the reaper is heard in the fields keeping time to the ringing sickle. In her ports swift ships go in and out like shuttles binding her in commercial union to the rich ports of the New World or the historic harbors of the Old.Treasure has been added to treasure untjie.coters of þer people are ready to overflow, while her commercial: enterprises havë issumed such pro portions as to baffle computation
Along with this development has coste.a-political and social fabric