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News Release (February 22, 1967)


Material Information

News Release (February 22, 1967)
Alternate Title:
New College News Release, For Release After 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday Morning, Feb. 22, 1967
Physical Description:
New College of Florida
New College of Florida
Place of Publication:
Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date:
February 22, 1967


Subjects / Keywords:
History -- New College (Sarasota, Fla.)
Planning -- New College (Sarasota, Fla.)
Records and correspondence -- New College (Sarasota, Fla.)
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
News release
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Sarasota


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Three page news release.
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New College of Florida
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New College of Florida
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NEW COLLEGE NEWS RELEASE NEW COL LEGE, SARASOTA, FLORIDA FURMAN C ARTHUR INFORMATION FOR RELEASE AFTER 10:30 a.m., on HEDNESDAY MORNING, Feb. 22, 1967 Sarasota, Fla.--Feb. 22: FolloHinp. is the text of the Presidential Address of Dr. John Elmendorf of New Collep,e, to be delivered at his inaugura-tion as second president on lvednesday morning, at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 22, 196 7, in the courtyard of the Ringling Museum. * A institution seems to provoke adjectives: innovative, experimental, bold, daring, challenging, revolutionary, even avant-garde. Even if College were all of these --and in some we --one fact is ignored in the euphoria of novelty: that every essential ingredient of education is conservative. Some of my friends may be surprised to hear this from me. It needs clarification for, like most labels, the vital information is in the small print. Bear with me while I read that fine print. Before I approach the specific problem implied here, let me indulge in the academician's prerogative of generalization. Our country today is faced with a bewildering collection of problems in education. We have, on the one hand, the "Berkeley syndrome," the questions raised by the huge and monolithic "multiversity," to use Clark Kerr's=t-nmv famous phrase. On the other hand, we have the continuing, insistent voices of individualism, lauding the virtues of the past, or the promises of the future, glorifying the small independent colleges either for their efficacy in resisting change or, at the other pole, for their capacity to leave the past behind and turn their aims to the future. -more-


NEW COLLEGE Page 2 This bas led to still further confusion. The traditional institu tions, particularly the small ones and still more particularly the ebureh related schools. are thoueht of as conservative. The newer schools, some of them also church-related, are then, almost by axiom, defined as progressive or modern or worse. We lose sight, in taking up this either-or position, that neither assumption is necessarily true. Hhile the "traditional" school may be conservative, it may also simply be archaic. The "progressive" school, on the other hand, may have departed so far from the essential facts and values of our culture that it is a travesty, an illusory institition, offering neither substance nor succor to society. But, let me return to the theme I have stated, a plea for some perception in depth of the true nature of college. By all the usual criteria New College is an innovating institution and one of the last, perhaps, to be thought of as "conservative." Hhat is the nature of conser\ratism, and what characteristics of the conservative can be compatible the institution I serve and you today honor by your presence? The first priority for the conservative is to decide what is worth saving. It must be obvious that this is equally true of the educator, for his curriculum, his faculty, his philosophy must all reflect the values he holds dear. As he attempts this, in 1967,he encounters paradoxes. Perhaps he reveres God. "God is dead," says Mr. Altizer.* He may believe in general edu cation. "General education is dead," says Louis Benezet.** He believes in the need for relevance --or excellence. "Relevance and excellence have outlived their usefulness as meaningful concepts," say a whole covey of other educators. He may even believe in leaders, in individualismJ in freedom. but on all sides he finds committees, collectivism, and constraint. does the conservative do? He ignores paradox, heresy and prophesy alike, and determines that reverence, relevance, general education. freedom and so forth valid ends which he can defend, and then sets out to attain them If he is a wise conservative, however, he will now examine the paradoxes 1t10re closely 1 noting that he will have to face them again and again if he is indeed going to save ,.,.hat he wishes to save. So he begins to weigh the temporary against the permanent, the fad, the "in things," the transient against the eternal, the universal. ''What, u he asks, "must endure?" As he finds his answers, he catalogs them, sifts them, eliminates here and adds there, until he has isolated the intellectual wheat from the chaff. Thus, by excluding the irrelevant, holding to the permanent and coping with the present, he preserves the essential. Perhaps, as did the founders of New College, he isolates a very few central values: freedom. respect for the individual, excellence, relevance, dimension. llith eyes fixed on these -more-


NEH COLLEGE Page 3 relevancies, he places them in the context of his times. He recognizes the problems of change, of the future as \V'ell as the present, but he can be more secure now, for he is building with permanent materials, not 'tvith the ephemeral or the fashionable. At New College, have freedom. He intend to conserve it. He have an unusual respect for the human personality, for individuals, for excellence in all things, and for the relevance of learning to man's state. He intend to conserve them. Our educational policies and practices include a regard for both the breadth and the depth of learning ,.,hich have long marked the educated man. intend to conserve them, too. Useful and creative innovation occurs only when the conscientious searcher after truth confronts the reality of his times, when the attitudes and artifacts of the present can be brought into harmony timeless values. This is why the true conservative must innovate, for no one saves that Hhich is of value by ignoring the realities of the society for which it has value. And that is 't-7hy New College must alt-Jays innovate. Thus, novelty, boldness, experiment, daring, challenge, revolution, even avant-gardism, can and will reflect the true conservatism which is the foundation on which the future is and must ahrays be built. -30+ Clark Kerr, former president, University of California at Berkeley Thomas Altizer, "God Is Dead11 Theologist, faculty member, Emory University ** Louis Benezet, president, Claremont (Calif.) Graduate School and University

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