JULY 23, 1942
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I left Asheville, N. C., yesterday afternoon, after a very interesting and pleasant visit to the International Student Service Summer Institute there. Asheville College, which has housed the Institute, was started almost fifty years ago by the Reverend Mr. Pease, who founded the Five Point Mission in New York City. When he retired he bought a farm near Asheville and shortly thereafter he and his wife took in five mountain girls, to help them obtain an education.
From that little beginning grew Asheville Normal Teachers College, which was a denominational college, largely supported by church funds, up to a very short time ago. Most of its students come from a radius of a hundred miles around Asheville and belong to the proverbially large families of mountaineer farmers. The curriculum, therefore, has been arranged chiefly to meet their needs—homemaking, handcrafts, a business course, and courses which would prepare them to teach in the country schools. These have been the things which these young people wanted and have had. They look like a bright and intelligent group, and not very different from the youngsters in our Institute.
The college needs to find new support, new friends who are interested in seeing that these young people get a more liberal education. They are pure American stock. They are strong and fine, and they are deserving of help in the educational field, even from people who do not live in their own state.
A limited number of people have been interested in the past, but the college must make new friends, because the buildings need repairs, and more teachers are required. The president has a fine conception of what education for the world of tomorrow should be.
A good many of the young people in the International Student Service Summer Institute come from colleges in the South, but there is a sprinkling from the West, from Michigan and the Middle West, and even one student who combined his Indiana heritage with a Harvard University education.
The contacts on the campus with the students in the summer session of the college itself have been pleasant and beneficial, and the use of one of the residence halls has given our Institute excellent accommodations.
Mr. Carlton Collier was lecturing when we arrived on the wide porch which affords a wonderful view of the mountains. Mr. Mimms, the director of the Institute, Miss Louise Morley and the two counselors Miss Hildur Coon and Mr. Louis Harris, welcomed us.
There did not seem to be a single one of our Institute students who was not working hard and who did not feel that these weeks have brought them interesting lecturers, new outlooks and contacts, and much that will make their college work more truly a part of the war effort.