The University Record
University of Florida
State Attorney, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida
August 9, 1934
Vol. XXIX, Series I
No. 9, Extra No. 3
Sept. 22, 1934
Published monthly by the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
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The Committee on University Publications
University of Florida
Dollars and "Sense"-- in Education
SWISH TO EXPRESS my appreciation for this very distinct honor. It was with
some timidity, and certainly with profound humbleness that I accepted the invita-
tion to discuss with this unusual group some of the things which I conceive to be
of appropriate importance; appropriate and important, not only to those passing through
and from the portals of University Halls, but to those who have already been treading
some of the expected and some of the unexpected paths and by-paths of practical life as
it is found, and have had opportunity to observe the effects of a practical application of
University training-and the lack of it.
Generally a commencement address might reasonably be expected to be a contribution
of some literary significance; therefore my part on this commencement program might
prove to be of peculiar value by furnishing to the members of this Class their very first
opportunity, as graduates, to test their ability to overcome disappointments. I make no
claim to special literary attainments-or to special attainments of any other sort, but if I
might be the instrumentality of conveying to you some of the facts that others have dis-
covered in the laboratory of practical life, which you might adopt with profit to yourselves,
I will be doubly grateful for having had the opportunity to do so.
I have referred to this graduating Class as an unusual group. It might be interesting
to you to know that out of the more than one hundred and twenty million people compris-
ing the citizenry of the United States, less than 1 per cent are college graduates, yet this
1 per cent of college graduates have furnished:
55 per cent of our Presidents.
54 per cent of our Vice-Presidents.
33 per cent of the Members of Congress.
47 per cent of the Speakers of the House.
62 per cent of the Secretaries of State.
50 per cent of the Secretaries of the Treasury.
67 per cent of the Attorney Generals.
69 per cent of the Justices of the Supreme Court.
"Who's Who in America" has listed the names, with brief biographies, of the men
and women in this country who have been sufficiently successful in any kind of work to
attain distinction. An analysis of one of those issues resulted in the interesting discovery
that 72 per cent of the persons included had some college education, and that 50 per cent
were college graduates.
"Education," said Herbert Spencer, "is the preparation for complete living, and com-
plete living consists in dealing wisely with one's mind and body, in training one's children
and earning a livelihood intelligently, in performing one's duty to his family and to
society, and lastly in making a wise use of one's leisure time." Thus spoke Herbert Spencer,
perhaps even more wisely than he knew, for the neglect and misuse of the leisure time
of youth has proven to be one of the great curses that today is threatening our American
civilization, for "leisure," misdirected and unrestrained, is found to be one of the cesspools
from which is germinating the great and constantly growing avalanche of crime that has
shocked the very foundation of our governmental structure and brought us into the dis-
graceful position as the most lawless nation on earth.
Dr. Sheldon Glueck, of the Law School of Harvard University, recently inquiring into
the problem of youthful delinquency, discovered in the state where the research was con-
ducted, that more than nine-tenths of its juvenile delinquents were shown to have spent
their leisure time definitely harmfully; and that three-fourths of these delinquents never
once in their lives had been associated with any organized group, boys' clubs, community
center, or any other such organization for the wholesome use of leisure.
Some are inclined to boast of our advancements in education. I hope our pride might
be justified. The fruitage of an imperfect system, or the shortage of adequate facilities,
or our deliberate or careless failure to appreciate and take advantage of what we have
(and I subscribe to the latter view) has developed an unfortunate complexity in our social
order, that challenges the combined thought and efforts of all who accept the definition
that "education consists in training one's children and earning a livelihood intelligently,
in performing one's full duty to society, and in making a wise use of one's leisure time."
Crime and education do not go together if the statement of the Superintendent of the
New York State Reformatories is accepted. He says that of 22,000 criminals examined in
the penal institutions of that state only four were college graduates. (Another confirma-
tion of the fact that you who have sought to prepare yourselves for "more complete living"
to the point of meeting graduation requirements, compose an "unusual group".) The
same authority discovered that in a group of 1,000 of these prisoners only 7 per cent had
a high school education, only 25 per cent had finished the grammar school, and 65 per cent
had attended only the primary schools. This certainly appears to be a strong argument
in favor of giving to American youth every possible educational advantage. It should convince
us that the ends of education justify whatever means may be required for their attainment.
What we don't know costs us the most-in money, in time, in misery, and in failure.
If education is the "preparation for complete living" there could be no other invest-
ment so profitable, for as such it includes all the good that man can hope for, and excludes
all that would weaken and destroy. Education has also been defined as a process as
well as a product-a building whose permanence and value depend upon the carefulness
and material with which it is constructed. "Therefore," says Ruskin, "when we build,
let us think that we build forever. Let it be not for present delight, nor for present use
alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we
lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because
our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and
substance of them this our forefathers did for us."
A statement was recently published that one-twelfth of a cat's life is spent as a kitten;
one-ninth of a dog's life as a puppy; and one-seventh of a horse's life as a colt, but that
one-third of man's existence is spent in the preparation to live. It is no new discovery
that what we do and the earnestness and thoroughness with which it is done during this
plastic preparatory period of our existence, largely controls our destinies and charts our
courses, either toward the goal of success or down the broad road to mediocrity and
A story is told of a father who brought his son to James A. Garfield while he was
president of a small college and asked if he could not take a short course and get through
college quickly, that President Garfield replied: "When God wants to make a squash, He
grows it in one summer, but when he wants to grow an oak, He takes a century."
But he is educated best who serves most. College training therefore is not an essential
to success but only a contributing adjunct, of immeasurable benefit to him with capacities
to appreciate it and convictions to use it for good, for after all, as the poet expressed it:
"Success is found in the soul of you-
And not in the dreams of luck.
The world will furnish the work to do
But you must provide the pluck."
The surest marker along the pathway toward success or toward defeat is our own
attitude toward life itself, and the only way to make the shadows of disappointment fall
behind us is to always keep facing the sun. An anonymous writer has said that
"To every man there openeth a Way, and Ways, and a Way. And the High
Soul climbs the High way, and the Low Soul gropes the Low, and in between,
on the misty flats, the rest drift to and fro. But to every man there openeth a
High Way and a Low. And every man decideth the Way his soul shall go."
The genuine value of a true education, as I conceive it, is, of course, in shaping
character and the moulding of ideals. Better conception, orderly thinking, and improved
conduct are its fruits. But the material or secondary value usually expressed in terms of
financial profit are not to be overlooked. They, too, are very marked and interesting.
A few years ago when economic conditions were more nearly normal, uneducated
laborers in this country were earning an average of $500 per year. This would total
$20,000 in 40 years, the estimated earning period of a man's life. At that time high school
graduates were earning an average of $1,000 per year, or $40,000 in 40 years. Their educa-
tion required 12 years of school, or 180 days of each year, or a total of 2,160 days in
school. Then, if 2,160 days in school add $20,000 to one's earning power, each school day
is worth $9.25 in cash. If, therefore, a boy stays out of school to earn less than that, he
is actually losing money.
The United States Bureau of Education has published the following figures which are
based upon the investigation of the earning power of a number of boys from various school
classes at the age of 25. At that age those boys who had quit school and started to work
at the age of 14 were earning an average of $12.75 per week. Those of the same classes
who had completed high school courses were earning-at the age of 25-$31 per week.
With forty years as the estimated earning period of a man's life, let us assume his
earning power remains absolutely the same after the age of 25, and counting 50 weeks to
the year, the average boy who quit school and started to work at 14 will earn $25,500 in
a lifetime, while the average boy with a high school education will earn $62,000 in the
same length of time. It requires 40 months to acquire a high school education. Forty
months of high school work then will increase the earning power of the average boy
It appears, therefore, that to the boy of average ability a high school course is actually
worth $900 per month, or $45 per day for every day spent in high school.
An investigation of 1,237 farms in the state of Kansas was made by the Kansas Agri-
cultural College, in each case computing the annual earnings and making a record of the
educational experiences of the proprietors. The results were interesting. The proprietors
with common school education produced average annual earnings of $422. The high
school graduate produced annual earnings of $554. The proprietor with a partial college
course produced annual earnings of $859, while the college graduate produced annual
earnings of $1,452.
A survey by Cornell University resulted in the discovery that farmers with a high
school training become tenants two years younger-and farm owners four years younger-
than those whose opportunities have been limited to the district school.
A careful computation of averages and comparisons in various fields of activities re-
sulted in finding that the man with common school education has four times the chance
to achieve distinction that the uneducated man has; that high school graduates have sixty-
seven times, and that college trained men have 800 times the chance of those who are
But success is not easy-it lies only at the other end of the road of adversity. The
strength we acquire in overcoming obstacles constitutes its most valuable elements, for
after all, "SUCCESS IS FOUND IN THE SOUL OF YOU."
And even when you have pursued it to the point of attainment, it is not without its
penalties, for you must expect, as its counterpart, the abuses and invectives of the envious
who would destroy its effectiveness and take delight in your defeat. Someone has said
that when a man's work has become a standard-it also becomes a target for the shafts
of the envious. If it be merely mediocre it will be left severely alone-but if you achieve
a masterpiece it will set a million tongues a-wagging.
Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace
painting. Spiteful little voices of mediocre artists were raised against our own Whistler
long after the world had acclaimed him as its greatest artistic genius. Such is the
penalty of leadership. Such is the Rule of Life, and it is vain to plot or combine against it.
Whatever you write, or say, or do, or build-if your work be stamped with the seal of
success the nasty little invectives of the envious will be hurled at you and the jealous
will strive to slander you.
I hope, therefore, that a casual consideration of the comparisons we have made will
not result in over indulgence by any of these graduates, in the superficial belief that success
is already yours. Your work thus far has only brought you to this "commencement"
which has a very significant meaning.
Today the world lies before you. Tomorrow it will be on your back. Today you are
the distinguished guest of honor. Tomorrow you will join the clamoring crowds. Today
you wear the uniforms of victory and we honor you as embryonic generals. Tomorrow you
will be merged in the great class of restless, surging humanity-the world your instructor-
its problems your assignment. Be not deceived. Tomorrow the world will not meet you
with open arms and the welcome smile of confidence-but more likely with a disapproving
frown and closed fist. Get braced, young men and young women, for mortal combat. Your
new assignment is on the testing ground of life where only the fittest survive. The world
will not lead you gratuitously up the royal road to the success of which you dream. It
will at every turn point you to avenues and side roads that to weaklings are most attractive.
It will extend enticing invitations to you to follow the ways of least resistance which, if
accepted, will lead you only to the land of nowhere. Be most careful. If you falter or
if you fall, the world will extend little sympathy. It will "pass by on the other side." It
hates losers. It despises quitters. It loves only the winner who "can take it on the chin",
if I might use a common expression. The proverbial cruelty of the world you will believe
to exist. Keep your courage. You will need it. You will frequently find the necessity
for an intense bracing of the will, which, after all, is the principal thing that distinguishes
us from the sleeping cat by the winter fire.
But this old world that superficially appears to be so cold and cruel is in fact filled
with an increasing abundance of goodness and beauty for those with capacities to extract,
accept, and absorb them. To cultivate and develop these capacities is the true purpose, the
aims and the ends of education.
To borrow an expression from the late Dr. Lynn G. Broughton, "The world is throbbing
with suppressed magnificence." It is seeking only avenues of expression-just as the little
unsightly worm wiggles its way in apparent misery out from the darkness into the sunlight
-where an understanding God completes its purpose and gives to the world the beautiful
Science has found that the very atmosphere about us is charged with music-good
and bad-and the mere turning of a dial brings it in to us in deafening abundance-but
VERNON HAWTHORNE 353
only those who have developed the powers of "selectivity" and have learned the proper
"combinations" are able to exclude that which is bad and enjoy the music of the masters.
This is true literally and figuratively. The ways of wisdom lead in the direction of
"complete harmony", not only with the elements of the universe about us, but with the
Master Mind that directs their courses.
Tune in with the Infinite. Remember that the "static" in life is but the discords of
misunderstanding. Get all the wisdom you can.
"To each is given a book of rules,
A shapeless mass, and a bag of tools.
And each must make. ere life is done,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone."
In your pursuit of the best that life may offer you-I bid you God speed.