The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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INDIANAPOLIS—On Tuesday I went out by train to Lewistown, Pa., which is about 40 miles from Pennsylvania State University. Toward the end of the trip you are in hilly country and some of it is rather poor as far as living conditions go.

The drive between Lewistown and Penn State, however, is beautiful. You go through a broad and fertile valley with the old-type Pennsylvania Dutch farms and barns.

I had been at the university some years ago for the American Association for the United Nations, but this time I was invited by a student organization which has planned to put on several lectures during the year. Their next lecture is to be given by Lord Clement Attlee and I felt very proud to be considered on the same level!

I opened this series and it certainly seemed successful. There were no empty seats in the auditorium and I was told that the seats were put on sale on a Monday morning at 9 o'clock and by 11 there were no more to be had. The faculty and the town shared 136 seats and that meant very few of the townspeople could be present, so the lecture was broadcast through their radio station to every area.

I held a short press conference on arrival but had 20 minutes to change beforehand and then we went to dinner. Everything went so smoothly and so well and the young people were so evidently anxious to be successful in their first attempt at anything of this kind that I was happy to find the audience attentive and quiet. The question period following the lecture showed active interest in the Soviet Union.

I received a note on arrival from Miss Hilda Thompson, who reminded me that we had last met in the summer of 1943 in North Australia and had toured a number of rest places for our troops together. She was in the Red Cross at that time and I was taking a trip around the Pacific area. She had not been able to get a seat for the lecture, so she came over to the Nittany Lion Inn later and drove to the 1:46 a.m. train in Lewistown with me.

One young member of the committee was assigned to see me safely on the train. His home is in Pittsburgh, and I hope I have the pleasure of seeing both of my escorts again.

Miss Thompson, whose grandfather gave the first land for what today is the university, is full of interest in what is going on in the world and so was my young Pittsburgh student. There is certainly much that youth can give to age and in return, I think, age can contribute much to youth.

It is rather appalling to me to read in the morning paper that Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., is to lose Harold Taylor as its president. He has created an atmosphere at the school that is rather unusual. The students have a real interest in learning. It is reported that he wants to return to teaching, and because of the expansion program which is going on in practically every college and university in the country his burdens in money raising are becoming much heavier.

The same situation holds in practically every educational institution I have been in. Nevertheless, the head of a university or a college should be chosen because he is a good teacher and has a gift for inspiring young people to want to learn. The money raising should be in the hands of the trustees and should not fall on the president.

I feel keenly that our young people need good teachers at the head of our educational institutions, not money raisers.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Indiana (United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 10, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.