JANUARY 14, 1954
CHICAGO, Wednesday—Tuesday morning we went to Kent State University at Kent, Ohio. Our first stop was the office of the president, Mr. George A. Bowman, and from there we went directly to the gymnasium. This is a very big building and the president estimated that it held about 6,000 people. In any case, if the microphone had not been there I would have been seriously troubled about whether my voice could reach into the far corners of the building. Apparently however, I was easily heard, for the audience was attentive and practically no one moved about.
They did not attempt to have questions at the end of my talk, so before I met the press later, we drove around the campus and visited the health center. This is very well-equipped, has a small operating room for minor ailments and very pleasant bedrooms upstairs where two students can be taken care of together. There are three women doctors employed under a doctor who started the whole idea of a health center.
All the students' health records are kept here and he told me that they usually saw each student four times during every semester. If students were in need of remedial work of any kind they would give them that attention. Any polio cases who had exercises to do were exercised in the pool or in any other way that has been prescribed.
When we reached the room in which the press conference was to be held there were a few photographers present and some members of the Akron press, but it was largely a student press conference and there were even some quite youthful schoolchildren present. The questions were somewhat slow in coming but eventually those who wanted to ask questions had all done so and we left for the hall where a large lunch was served after which half an hour was allotted to a question period.
This is a state university which started out as a normal school but now gives a full liberal arts course. They have a special course preparing teachers for kindergarten and elementary work as well as for the other grades and they make a specialty of preparing laboratory technicians and engineers' assistants.
Ohio State University at Columbus has the advanced graduate courses but the courses given at Kent fill the needs of a great many young people. In their home economics course they have a practice house which six students live in during each semester. This reminds me of Cornell and I asked if they took care of a baby, but I was told that only occasionally could they get one into their clutches.
The mayor of Akron presented me with a key to the city and in addition he had seen to it that I was properly watched over on the roads and in the hotel. I kept trying to explain that I am not accustomed to this kind of treatment and do not in any way require it, but as long as it was available there was nothing I could do but be truly grateful for the care and great courtesy of all the young men who have watched over me practically every minute since I arrived in Akron.
We came back to the hotel after lunch and the question period following it and I did a column, read the paper and prepared to return to Kent for a dinner which had been arranged in a private home. The hospitality shown me on these trips is most heartwarming and I am always especially glad to visit universities and have an opportunity to talk to educators and students, two of the most important groups of people in our country at present.