It is this distance from reality which makes the university valuable, encouraging at its best new thoughts and ideas unencumbered by prevailing orthodoxies. All too often, however, the result is not original thought, but merely thought drawn along different lines of orthodoxy.
The prestigious universities in the United States have followed such a pattern over the past few decades. Students are taught to doubt and question the conventional teachings of industry and the military. They are frequently not encouraged, however, to apply the same level of doubt to the liberal orthodoxies. Such a dichotomy represents not a new manner of thinking, but an old way disguised as original.
Today's college students more closely resemble those of the late fifties or early sixties than any time since. They are conservative, in a sort of libertarian way, but are more concerned with enjoying themselves and getting a job when they graduate than they are in fermenting revolution. Perhaps they differ from those of 25 years ago most in that they are more self-centered and more serious than those earlier students.
Yet the faculty at many of the Ivy League schools and elsewhere are throwbacks to the sixties, an era of failed romanticism. What was good about that era has long since been incorporated into the culture. The rest has been dismissed except for in some isolated pockets such as academia. It is in these pockets that John Anderson was the candidate of choice and that what Jeffrey Hart has called "victim studies programs" (Native American Studies, Black Studies, Women Studies) are still the vogue. Mainstream America is rejected, but the solutions offerred are ones which have long since been found unworkable.
I am prepared to give the boys more liberties provided they do
not take them.
Michael McCrum, headmaster of Eton
At Dartmouth, we make you into a man by allowing you to remain a
You know, this is what I've always thought a college should look
Dwight Eisenhower, on Dartmouth Row
It is better to speak wisdom foolishly like the saints than to
speak folly wisely like the deans.
I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two
thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a
society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard
William F. Buckley Jr.
That Edison or Lincoln could have been Edison or Lincoln after
four years of Harvard is improbable.
Universities are of course hostile to geniuses.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have the best of two worlds. A Harvard education and a Yale
John F. Kennedy, receiving an honorary Yale degree
About all some men accomplish in life is to send a son to
Edgar Watson Howe
Perhaps Harvard's greatest contribution to our nation is its
requirement that its on-leave professors who want to keep their
crimson seats must return from Washington after 24 months.
The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of
alarmists, cranks, and extremists this side of the giggle house.
William F. Buckley Jr.
The only way to solve a differential equation is to know the
Black Studies: A unique area of vocational training designed to
instill pride in non-white students as a substitute for an
education that would dangerously increase their employability.
At best, most college presidents are running something that is
somewhere between a faltering corporation and a hotel.
Remember that no child is dumb anymore...he is suffering a
developmental lag; problems in the cognitive area.
John T. Beaudouin and Everett Mattlin
Grades are a subtle type of coercion which discourages students
from taking responsibility for their own education. Through
grades the college controls a large part of what we study.
Andy Kipnis, Open Forum
How many more years will our educators continue to lecture us on
the evils of whipping children until they bring home high grades?
Year after year we listen to these fellows tell us that it is not
the grade that counts but the development of the child's
personality. After the lecture they go back to all the best
schools and reject our children because they have C averages.
One modest suggestion for my friends in the academic community:
the next time a mob of students, waving their non-negotiable
demands, starts pitching bricks and rocks at the student union-
just imagine they are wearing brown shirts or white sheets-- and
"Whom are you?" he asked, for he had been to night school.
Willie was a scientist But now he is no more. What Willie
thought was H2O Was H2SO4.
Graffito, from U. of Washington Smith Hall as quoted in Graffiti of the PAC 10 by Haan and Hammerstron
Nothing irks a college student more than shaking out an envelope
from home and finding nothing in it but news and love.
Princeton is a wonderful little spot. A quaint and ceremonious
village of puny demigods on stilts.
The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but the transference of
bones from one graveyard to another.
J. Frank Doyle
Research is something that tells you that a jackass has two
Research is reading two books that have never been read in order
to write a third which will never be read.
From a file in the NASA archives
If you steal from one another it's plagiarism, if you steal from
many, it's research.
In business school classrooms they construct wonderful models of
a non- world.
When a subject becomes entirely obsolete, we make it a required
I wouldn't attach too much importance to these student riots.
When I was at the Sorbonne I used to go out and riot
John Foster Dulles
Educators are as afraid of merit pay as they are of leprosy.
Linus Wright, Dallas school superintendent
There is no crisis to which academics will not respond with a
Prof. Marvin Bressler
When a large Midwest university asked its alumni if they
preferred their life today to the good old days on campus, one
married alumnus voted for his present life because "I have a
College professor-- someone who talks in other people's sleep.
My advice to freshmen: as quickly as possible, become a
My rule on honorary degrees has always been to have one more
than Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
John Kenneth Galbraith
One thinks of college girls working out their orgasm average.
Anthony Glyn, on Americans
History repeats itself; historians repeat each other.
All our yesterdays, it is true, have only lighted fools the way
to dusty death. But we need at least the dates of the yesterdays
and the list of the fools.
God cannot alter the past but historians can.
When a history book contains no lies, it is always tedious.
An event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable
by a competent historian.
Very few things happen at the right time; and the rest do not
happen at all; the conscientious historian will correct these
When Abraham Lincoln was murdered
The one thing that interested Matthew Arnold
Was that the assassin shouted in Latin
As he lept on the stage
This convinced Matthew
There was still hope for America.
Non-linear means it's hard to solve.
Arthur Mattuck, MIT Mathematics professor
We want to build a university the football team can be proud of.
The thing is that 90% of the colleges are abiding by the rules,
doing things right. The other 10%, they're going to the bowl
There are only two kinds of coaches -- those that have been
fired and those that will be fired.
The new rule in the Ivy League is that athletes can only be
awarded letters on the condition that they can tell what letter
The score did not accurately reflect the one-sidedness of the
Overheard from Columbia football fan, after a football game in which Columbia was decisively defeated
I met this Harvard guy last fall and asked him if he'd been to
the game that afternoon and he said, "Not really." Well, now what
does that mean? At least at Dartmouth we know when we've been to
Ken Rosenfield, Dartmouth cheerleader
It was the last game of the year and you were supposed to commit
suicide or something if old Pencey didn't win.
J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
Harvard students have completed more English courses and less
forward passes than any school in this generation.
Does college pay? They do if you're a good open-field runner.
Whether four years of strenuous attention to football and
fraternities is the best preparation for professional work has
never been seriously investigated.
February 11: Dartmouth Winter Carnival opens, proving once again
that bitter cold is no obstacle to going completely out of
Lisa Birnbach, The Preppy Desk Diary
I find that the three major administrative problems on a campus
are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni, and parking
for the faculty.
Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and
pure and very dead.
Education is what you get from reading the small print.
Experience is what you get from not reading it.
I think Tabard's [Dartmouth fraternity] going coed is just a
symptom of the more serious problem which is just that the guys
there don't want to play poker anymore.
Botany is the art of insulting flowers in Greek and Latin.
The Dartmouth staff consists of many people like the
receptionist is housing. You know -- she's the one with the
robin's nest hairdo and the personality of an electric chair.
When I hear the word "culture" I slip back the safety catch on
Policy studies majors usually become government bureacrats --
the same people who brought you taxes and busing. Additionally
policy studies majors can neither read nor write; instead they
"ize" -- you know, they prioritize.
A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete
corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as
Perhaps you have heard about the college executives who were
discussing what they wanted to do after retirement age. One hoped
to run a prison or school of correction so that the alumni would
never come back to visit. Another chose to manage an orphan
asylum so that he would not be plagued with advice from parents.
Robert H. Jackson
All economists should be locked up until they admit that they
don't know what they're talking about.
Every short statement about economics is misleading (with the
possible exception of my present one).
You can make even a parrot into a learned political economist --
all he must learn are the two words "supply" and "demand."
If all the world's economists were laid end to end, they still
wouldn't come to a conclusion.
Unknown tour guide at U.N.
If all the pretty young things at the Vassar debutante ball were
laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
Another difference between Milton [Friedman] and myself is that
everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything
reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper.
Robert Solow, American economist
An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things
he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
Laurence J. Peter
At least 50 percent of being an expert is using the right words.
Thomas Hill, MIT professor
It is possible that the percentage of honest and competent
whores is higher than that of plumbers and much higher than that
of lawyers. And enormously higher than that of professors.
The educational process should not be one of homogenizing. It
should be one of encouraging excellence... when we fail to make
financial aid depend upon performance, we eliminate the incentive
John H. Sununu, NH Governor
Right this second, if you are in college and are not dead drunk
or with a girl or with a dead girl, you are letting precious
time slip by -- time so valuable that you are losing about five
thousand dollars a day in monetary terms.
Philosophers always sound better with a German accent.
Fourth law of the lab: experience is directly proportional to
the amount of equipment ruined.
Dr. Lee Harrisberger
The use of [the computer language] COBOL cripples the mind; its
teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.
In large states public education will always be mediocre, for
the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually
State financing always means State control, and State control in
the educational system is inherently out of whack with
Harry R, Logan, Vice Chairman, W.R. Grace & Co.
Rigorous mathematics is a system in which absolutely no cheating
is allowed because you can always revise the rules.
University of Chicago: A Baptist school where Jewish professors
teach theology to atheists.
There is no damn reason for it; it is just our policy.
Dean of Students at Princeton
History: big abstract words with "isms" at the end.
This exam will be conducted on the honor principle. Please take
seats three rows apart.
I would have done better on finals, but we covered all new
material this term.
You can kiss Smith, but you can Mount Holyoke.
You may be winning, but you're still Harvard rejects.
Harvard Crimson cheer
I believe in the two party system, but not in the same night.
There are no men in Norton, at least none worth looking at or
Woman at Wheaton College
It is, sir, as I have said, a small college, but that does not
mean it needs a small administration.
Dartmouth College official
Why doesn't the dean look out the window in the morning?
Because he'd have nothing to do all afternoon.
Overheard at Dartmouth faculty meeting
I don't give a damn about this truth and beauty stuff...will it
get me a woman?
The intensity of dark circles under a student's eyes is
inversely proportional to the time remaining in the term.
Ignorance is like a delicate,exotic fruit; touch it and the
bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is raically
unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces
no effect whatsoever.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from
time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
His studies were pursued but never effectively overtaken.
Some men are graduated from college cum laude, some are
graduated summa cum laude, and some are graduated mirabile dictu.
William Howard Taft
A college education shows a man how little other people know.
Education -- the ability to describe a beautiful girl without
Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know
what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is
Intellectuals: Effete pawns aspiring to be heroic knights; they
do little but talk of overthrowing the
military-industrial-academic complex to which all of them are
I think that intellectuals who end up in hell will have to read
page proofs and check indexes there.
He's [John K. Galbraith] not an intellectual, he's a humorist.
Law School taught me one thing: how to take two situations that
are exactly the same and show how they are different.
The mind reels at the multiplication of books intended to
justify the author's promotion from assistant to associate
C. Northcote Parkinson
Many of the greatest creations of man have been inspired by the
desire to make money...If Oxford undergraduates were paid for
their work, I would have performed miracles of scholarship and
become Regius Professor of Modern History.