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The first class was graduated in 1849, and the same year the fetters of traditional methods were broken, and the curriculum abandoned for a system of classification in studies, which more fairly recognized the ability and attainments of the student. The new charter had discontinued theological instruction, and no effort has been made to revive it.
Marked prosperity attended the decade from 1851 to 1861. During these years a scheme of enlargement in every department was inaugurated. The endowment grew to the respectable proportions (for those days) of $80,000. Ampler buildings were provided. The attendance of students reached an enrollment of 161. In the domain of instruction it was provided that Latin and Greek should be divided and each given its separate professor. In 1859 it was decided that "a certificate of proficiency be given to a student who has satisfactorily completed the studies of any departinent. The degree of A. B. was conferred for “proficiency in the departments of Latin, Greek, mathematics, natural science and moral science, with the privilege of substituting one modern language or Hebrew for the Calculus." The degree of A. M. was conferred for “proficiency in the whole course except Hebrew."
A DISASTROUS PERIOD.
In 1861 came suspension. Richmond was a military camp. Inter arma silent leges. Silent also were the voices of science and literature. During the war period and extending to tho close of the year 1865, there was fearful loss in every direction. The endowment became almost wholly worthless. The grounds and buildings were seriously injured, the apparatus was a wreck, and the excellent library was robbed of every volume. So that when the trustees assembled to confer as to what might be done, they found only desolated grounds, defaced buildings, and a ruined treasury.
A few brave and generous spirits threw themselves into the herculean task of reorganizing the college. Gradually the hopes of its friends were revived and it was determined to start afresh upon the work of rebuilding. Rev. Robert Ryland, D, D., who had presided over the institution from its origin, resigned, and a new faculty of young men of acknowledged ability was selected. The trustees, supported by the Baptists of the State, collected what money could be raised from an impoverished people, and used it in making the college home as comfortablo as possible under the circumstances, and in providing for such equipment as was absolutely necessary. The first session opened in October, 1866, with the gratifying enrollment of 90 students, and a faculty of 5 accomplished men.
With the reorganization came conspicuous changes in the old order of things. Among these the following should be especially noticed: (1) The system of independent schools was established, with a diploma of graduation in each school; (2) the English language was put upon its proper plane as of equal dignity with Latin, Greek, French, or German; the "School of English " was established and has been, maintained from that time, with its separate professor; (3) discipline was put upon the high ground of honor and personal responsibility; (4) attendance upon religious services was made voluntary; (5) the “ messing system”in boarding was inangurated.
These changes in administration have proved to be salutary and have grown into the life of the college.
The past twenty years have witnessed vigorous growth. In 1870 a strong and effect. ive movement for increased endowment was begun. In 1873 a financial secretary was put in charge of the work of securing funds and preserving them by judicious investment. About the same time the main edifice, which was begun in 1855, was further improved. Cottage dormitories and boarding houses were added, and a more complete system of committee work in the several departments was inaugurated. At this writing the following statement will indicate the present status of the institution:
The property of the corporation consists of a beautiful campus of 124 acres, well set in grass and trees, upon which stand an imposing main edilice, the residences of
the professors, the cottage dormitories, the dining ball, and gymnasiun. The main building afforis ample room for the chapel, lecture rooms, society halls, library, and museum. Here may be seen some of the handsomest pulic rooms in the South. Upon the campus ample grounds are provided for students' sports. The entire premises are thoroughly drained and amply provided with all conveniences of gas, water, and sewerage. The property is without incumbrance of any sort.
The endowment has grown to $300,000 of interest-bearing funds. This belongs to various departments. Among these are two endowedl schools, philosophy and law. The scholarships are separately endowed.
The library rests upon a foundation of its own. The public lectures stand upon an ample funıl, wlich is independent. The current expense account has its own guaranteed income. While the endowment is far short of the future requirements of a growing college, its past increase and security have been matters of constant congratulation and attest thio fidelity and liberality of the friends of education.
The department of instruction embraces nine separate and distinct “schools," Latin, Greek, English, modern langnages, philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemisiry, law. Each school has its separate professor, who is responsible to the trustees alone for its efficient conduct. There are entrance examinations, elective studies, intermediate and final examinations, four degrees. The standard of graduation is very high, based upon numerical valuation in examinations and class standing. Eighty per centum is required before graduation is allowed.
The library, so ruthlessly destroyed at the close of the war, has 12,000 volumes. It is provided for in the Jeter Memorial Hall, a spacious apartment well adapted to its work, and is so conducted, without charge to the student, that it provides the highest inducements to literary and scientific research. Liberal provision is made to secure to professors and students the latest and best works in every department. To tho library a well equipped reading room is attached. The college is building a museum of attractiveness, interest, and value. An elegant hall, named for the late James Thomas, jr., awaits its successful mounting. Paintings, statuary, and valuable specimens on lines of ethnology, paleontology, geology, and mineralogy are displayeel.
The college has for many years maintained, anong other lectures, a course on Biblical themes. This is perhaps the first college in the South to introduce the systematic study of the Bible.
To a vigorous course of lectures delivered eachi session by the professors of the college along the line of university extension, and open to the public, there is an annual course of public lectures provided for under a special endowment known as “ The James Thomas Museum Lectures." This is a course of rare interest. The conditions provide that the ablest men in our own and foreign countries shall be secured and that the publie shall have the privilege of enjoying them. The subjects embraced are science, art, philosophy, and literature.
The Geographical and Historical Soeiety was founded in 1891 for the purpose of research. It has a growing membership of professors and students and its issues are valuable. By anthority of the trustees there has been established under the ausprices of this society a day to be known as “ Historical Day,' devoted to excursions to places of historic interest.
Two literary societies, with a joint monthly magazine, are maintained. These are devoted to the cultivation of the art of speaking and writing. A generous rivalry exists, which is further stimulated by meals and public exhibitions.
l'hysical culture receives due attention. Regular gymnasium training and drill are systematically pursued. Encouragement is given to tield sports, to which honors are attached. These are awarded on the regular field day exhibition.
TIE STIDEST BODY.
The highest attendance crer reached during a single session is 207. Of the annual matriculates Virginia contributes the far larger share, larger than to any other college in the State, but other States and other countries contribute a goodly quota. Tlie average age is 19 years. The conduct of the students is marked by a high degree
of application to work, the bearing of Christian gentlemen, a distinct sense of personal honor. The test of standing is not family or money, but personal worth and successful study. The day's exercises are invariably opened with devotional exercises, conducted by one of the professors. Societies for the cultivation of religious life and usefulness are encouraged. The city affords niany advantages for personal culture and social pleasures, which are cordially embraced by the students.
THE AIM AND TIIE OUTLOOK.
One high aim has ever been kept in view by the college management: Not to gain numbers by the sacrifice of scholarship, but to lay deep and broad the foundations of solid learning, and to make the diploma a veritable evidence of accurate and generous scholarship. So thorough has been tho training that not a single graduate has failed of success in the various competitive examinations before military or naval boards and civil-service examiners, or before the universities to which they have gone for advanced work.
These high purposes of trustees, professors, and students are interwoven with all the history of the institution, and will be scrupulously maintained.'
With an unsurpassed location, a beautiful, unencumbered property, a full and vigorous faculty, a growing endowment, an interested constituency, and fair patrouage, with a generous course of study and high standard of graduation, and with a long line of useful and honored sons interested in her welfare, the future of Richmond College would seem full of promise.
EDUCATION IN WEST VIRGINIA.
By Rev. A. D. MAYO, M. A., LL. D.
(From advance sheets of the biennial report of the State superintendent of free schools of West
Virginia for the year 1893-94.)
It had been my intention for more than one season during a ministry of education of fourteen years in the Southern States, in which I had visited every State ever called by that name, to give a period of several months to an educational tour through West Virginia. For various reasons, with the exception of one midsummer attendanc
State convention of teachers, this had not been accomplished. A partial arrangement to spend a portion of the winter and spring of 1883 in the State failed. It was only on April 1, 1891, that I was able to accept the urgent invitation of the State superintendent of free schools, IIon. Virgil A. Lewis, and, at Charleston, the capital city, began an educational visitation of two months which will be remembered as one of the most interesting of all similar experiences since the commencement of my educational work in the South, in the early mouths of 1880.
This tour was necessarily brief, being closed by the ending of the public school year in early June in many of the places to which I was invited. I soon learued that the educational peoplo of the Mountain State were in the condition of mind represented by a jolly editor in Spartanburg, S. C., who aecompanied an invitation to visit the people of that enterprising little city with the postscript: “You'll find there's nothing mean about us. You can lecture every hour in tho ilay, if you want to, and we will give you the biggest hall in town and all come to hear what you have to say.", " Taking account of stock," on reaching Washington June 1, I ascertained that, during this visitation of two months, including a dozen of the leading educational centers of the State, three of the six State normal schools, the State University, and Bethany College, with an unusual opportunity of meeting many of the most conspicuous educational and public men, clergymen, professional men, and friends of education, I had delivered a larger number of popular lectures, always to generous audiences, than the number of days in my tour; carefully inspected tho schools of all the cities and districts visited; been given the most ample opportunity for a front, rear, and side view of all things going on in educational affairs; and, as