Why I Started This School

By Dr. Lyman Ward

Dr. Lyman Ward (Date unknown)

     "In the founding of this school it has been our purpose to do just two things: First, to provide a thorough course of study; and, second, to provide the means for pursuing such course of study. The first would be to give to every boy and girl a thorough training in the sciences and in literature and art. The second would open the way to him, no matter how poor, of getting an education. In providing a course of study we want to make the work real and practical. The great body of our men and women care very little for ideals save that they can be made practical. Practical men are the result of practical training. To teach the students those things that shall help to make them better and more intelligent citizens is our whole purpose. No matter, though, how practical our course may be, if we go no further than this, a large number of students are necessarily debarred. The problem of one's daily bread is as much a problem to the student as to anyone else.

     "To provide a course of study is comparatively easy beside the task of providing a solution for the bread and butter problem of the student while in school. Philanthropy is of two kinds. The first consists in giving indiscriminately. It concerns itself in simply helping the poor unfortunate out of this difficulty, with no thought of the thousand and one difficulties that may befall him in the future. The other is to help men to help them themselves. This seems to me more rational and practical. The first method tends to pauperize our poor, while the second teaches self-reliance and economy. The first builds only one bridge, while the second provides for a whole series of bridges to be used in the journey of life.

     "Our schools and colleges are in the best sense of the word philanthropic Institutions. The same broad principles of rational charity that we find operated so practically in our modern charitable organizations, why should they not be put to the test in our school and college work? When all the fellowships and scholarships of our educational institutions are taken, we have still a very large class of boys and girls who want the training of the schools. So, what are we to do? There is only one solution, as it seems to me, and that is along the lines of rational charity. Industrial training will do just this. It makes the student self-supporting while in school, and it makes him self-supporting when he gets out into the world. The student who is winning his way through school by the wealth of his own industry is at once elevated to the position of a creator of wealth. He is self-reliant, he is eager to learn, he is happy.

     "Some say, 'What industries would you have?' The answer is simple. I would have any and all that the student demands. I would begin with the simpler ones, such as blacksmithing and carpentry, and work into those that are more complex and varied. We would give instruction to any student, at any age, and would provide the way for him to gain such instruction.

     "The school will receive on an equal footing both boys and girls. It will grant the same privileges to each, and the political and religious liberties of the pupils are never to be infringed upon."

      The above quite from Dr. Lyman Ward was taken from the school's first catalog. On the cover of that catalog are these words:

"Annual Catalogue... The Southern Industrial College - Camp Hill, Ala. 1899-1900"

     Dr. Ward's quote is listed under the heading, "INDUSTRIAL." These words immediately follow the heading and immediately proceed his: "In speaking of the industrial features of the college in this, our first catalogue, nothing better can be done than to quote from Rev. Lyman Ward's first annual report:"

NOTE: Every word on this page in quotation marks has been reproduced exactly as it appears in the 1899-1900 catalog without any deletions or additions.

Brian V. Brunner '64

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