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$31,000 towards liquidation of debt and completion of the Science Building, and $100,000 to the permanent endowment of the University. Now, at last, a moderate income being secured beyond peradventure for the "seminary of learning" as result of the struggle prolonged through thirty-three years, Mr. Rollins took the decisive step of making all higher learning except the strictly professional, practically free to the youth of Missouri, by the act approved April 1, 1872, which fixes the matriculation fee at a maximum often dollars. Herewith, then, was the wide round of his direct legislative service in behalf of the University completed, and by a deed clearly marked with the nobleness and generosity of his character. Surely, then, it was not strange nor in any degree unnatural or extraordinary, that, on the expiry of the session of the General Assembly and the return of Major Rollins to his home in Columbia, all such as felt deep or immediate interest in the University should be moved as by a common impulse to some public recognition of the unique relation toward that Seminary in which Mr. Rollins had fairly placed himself by virtue of a long record of meritorious offices—a record that may safely challenge parallel in the lives of friends of learning in America. The students assembled in mass convention, and adopted with unanimity and enthusiasm the following resolutions reported by Henry W. Ewing:
Resolved, That as representing a portion of the youth of the State of Missouri, we tender to the Hon. James S. Rollins our thanks for his eminent services in both branches of the Legislature to the cause of public education in our State.
Second. That as students of the State University, we are especially indebted to him for long continued and unwearied efforts to establish a State University on a firm and enduring basis - an institution of broad and universal culture, which with its School of Mines and other industrial and professional departments will be both a blessing and an honor to the State of Missouri.
Third. That we tender him our congratulations on the proud achievement which has crowned his efforts in behalf of the University, and that we honor the present Legislature for its liberality and enlightened patriotism in the establishment and upholding of institutions which constitute the true glory of a commonwealth.
Fourth. That in honoring Major Rollins and expressing to him our grateful acknowledgments, we by no means forget, nor pass by, the Representatives of this county and other members of both branches of the Legislature, whose names we shall ever delight to honor for their zeal and efforts in behalf of those measures which have given a firm foundation to our University.
Fifth. That we rejoice in the general progress of enlightened sentiment among all classes, and trust that the day is not far distant when Missouri will stand among the first of our American States for those great institutions which adorn and ennoble modern civilization; and to this end, as sons of Missouri, we consecrate our lives.
The Faculty voted a public expression of thanks, in rendering which before a large audience the President, Dr. Daniel Read, made use of the following language:
MAJOR ROLLINS: In behalf of the Faculty of this University, I am authorized and directed in this public manner, in the presence of this Board of Curators, of the students, and of this assembled multitude, to tender to you the expression of their heartfelt thanks for your preëminent services to this institution of learning -services begun in the years of your early manhood, continued in the fullness and maturity of middle life, and increased with the experience and wisdom of advancing years.
Especially, sir, we thank you for this best crowning effort in devising and securing the late act of the Legislature by which our University is placed upon a firmer and more secure basis.
In honoring you, sir, we by no means ignore or forget the labor of others, especially of our honored curators, J. W. Barrett, Henry Smith, Col. S. G. Williams, nor of the representatives of this county, Messrs. Newman and Bass, and many others from different parts of the State whom I cannot name on this occasion.
Especially in connection with this bill the name of the Hon. Senator Morse, of Jefferson, deserves consideration and honor, as, but for his intervention and knowledge as an experienced legislator, we should, at the present at least, have failed of our just right.
But, sir, we know that in every struggle you were the leader — the corypheus of the measure.
We, who have had some experience, know full well the cost of such success — the labors by night and by day, the contests, the misgivings, the hope, the fear; but you have the satisfaction of knowing that it is an achievement, not only for this generation, but for all generations to the end of time. When the struggle is over, and your nervous system becomes relaxed after unwonted tension, and you look back upon the legislative battle and its victory, what amount of money (if money could be put into the balance) would induce you to encounter all that you passed through to win success? But, sir, you have higher and better reward, and when all the strife and contests of party politics are over with you, when personal antagonisms are forgotten, or remembered only to remind you how small and worthless they were, you will then feel that the founding and upbuilding of this University was worthy the best efforts of your life. You will feel a just and proud satisfaction. By others it will be said and written of you — “Non sibi sed patriæ.”
Your life, sir, will be crowned with the blessings of the young men and young women of the State of Missouri; and after you have passed away your name and memory will be cherished as a public benefactor.
The prayer of this Faculty is that you may live to see the University all that you have labored to make it, and that your own life may be as long and happy as it has been honored and useful.
Still more emphatic, and most decisive of all, was the action of the Board of Curators. Prof. Edward Wyman of St. Louis, himself a distinguished educator, presented the following preamble and resolutions:
Whereas, The long and continued services of the Hon. James S. Rollins, commencing thirty-four years ago in the introduction of a bill by him in the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of this State providing for the location of the State University, and the various measures since that time of which he has been the author and earnest and able advocate, terminating with the act passed at the last session of the Legislature making provision for the payment of the debts of the institution, enlarging its library, completing the Scientific Building, and adding to its permanent endowment, deserve a proper recognition and acknowledgment by this Board; be it therefore
Resolved, That this Board are deeply impressed with the value of the important services rendered by Hon. J. S. Rollins and other friends of education, in placing the University of Missouri upon a solid and permanent foundation, where the youth of the State may enjoy equal advantages for higher education with the youth of other States of the Union.
Second. That he has won the honorable title of “ Pater Universatis Missouriensis," and that the thanks of this Board are hereby tendered to him for his great efforts to promote the prosperity, usefulness, and success of this institution.
Third. That the Secretary of this Board cause to be prepared in some suitable form a copy of the foregoing resolutions, signed by the Vice-President and the Secretary, and with the seal of the University attached, and presented to the Hon. James S. Rollins in the name of this Board.
These resolutions were recommended to the Board in earnest remarks and brief recitals of history by Prof. Wyman, the Rev. John D. Vincil, and Col. W. F. Switzler, and were carried unanimously.
But not any nor all of these official recognitions of the unique distinction of Major Rollins with respect to the University were felt to express adequately the personal gratitude, esteem, and affection with which his high desert in the matter of education had inspired the patrons of learning in all parts of the commonwealth. It was a happy thought, therefore, on the part of a number of friends both of the man and of the cause that he had made so especially his own, to present to the Board of Curators for permanent location in the University building a life-size portrait of Major Rollins, executed by that distinguished “ Missouri artist,” George C. Bingham. These gentlemen intrusted the matter to a committee of eleven, who directed a Letter of Presentation to the Board of Curators, through its Vice-President, the Hon. Elijah Perry, in which letter the labors of Major Rollins in behalf of the University were briefly but impressively recounted. The Board accepted the gift by the following resolution, June 26, 1873:
Resolved, That we accept with gratitude the proposed donation, as one eminently fitting and appropriate, and as commemorative of the life and labors of a distinguished citizen who, by his eminent public services, and especially by his earnest and untiring efforts in the cause of education, has endeared himself to the masses of the people, and has deservedly commanded the highest consideration of the members of this Board.
On the same day at two P. M. the Hon. W. F. Switzler, a worthy second to Rollins in the multitude and devotion of his services to the University, pronounced the address of presentation; the response of acceptance from the Board was delivered by Mr. A. J. Conant of St. Louis, while a few well-chosen words of acknowledgment from Major Rollins himself rounded gracefully the ceremonies of this pleasing incident.
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF CURATORS.
THE sketch in hand is not a history, much less a chronicle; the order of thought rather than of time is intentionally followed, and no apology is offered for now momentarily reverting the gaze back upon certain events anterior to some already noted. These may not be passed over wholly without remark, for their testimony is valuable to the breadth of view with which Mr. Rollins regarded the problems of public education, and to the liberal, far-sighted, and effective policy that he brought to their solution. We have seen how early he conceived the notion of forming a special class of trained professional educators who were to make teaching a lifework, to take the place of the transient throng of lawyers, preachers, physicians, and politicians in chrysalis, who follow teaching merely as a temporary makeshift, who don the didactic gown as the insect its cocoon while awaiting transfiguration into some nobler form of being. The West is even now following his far lead in this matter at a slow but accelerated pace. His interest in this elevation of teaching to the full rank and dignity of a learned (rather of the learned) profession did not abate with the establishment of a "Normal Professorship" at the University; but as Chairman of the
Committee on Education he reported a bill that called into being the State Normal Schools at Warrensburg and Kirksville — institutions that have flourished greatly in spite of inadequate support by the State, that have undoubtedly shed far and wide a beneficent influence, and that have already accomplished a work of vast moment in raising the average of fitness among the teachers in the State, however wanting it may be found even yet when weighed in the balance of our just desires.
Another act, not so much of enlightened and sagacious statecraft as of generous humanity, which illumined the close of Rollins's career as legislator, and is fit to be ranked with his earlier advocacy of a similar measure, was his vigorous and successful support of the bill establishing an Asylum for the Insane at St. Joseph. One such incident in the career of a law-maker may mean little or nothing at all; but they become full of significance and determinative when strewn thick along the whole course of conduct from beginning to end.
It was in 1869 that Governor McClurg nominated Major Rollins a Curator of the University of the State of Missouri. To him who bears in mind the facts of the University's history as already set forth, it must be apparent that every consideration both of utility and of propriety must not only have indicated this nomination, but also have pointed to him with fixed and unerring finger as the man of all men fitted to be President of the Board of Curators, and he was indeed elected to this position in June, 1869, a position that he held continuously from that date until his resignation, enforced by ill health, on his seventy-fifth birthday, April 19, 1886. This idency was in itself but a little thing; it was what its incumbent chose to make it. Of salary, emoluments, perquisites, of every material attraction it was bare utterly. Perhaps it did indeed clothe its occupant with honor and distinction, but the honor was entirely empty and the distinction not very generally desirable. It did not lift him aloft and conspicuous in the eyes of the people, inviting their regard and wooing their suffrages; it did not arm him with the long, keen, and flexible weapon of political influence. The President of the Board of Curators was then, and is now, to the majority of electors, more a myth than a reality; at best their notions of him are pale and formless; he has no patronage to distribute, and is wide off from the line of official promotion. Moreover, in the administration