Father and the Boy Visit the University of Idaho The University of Idaho Bulletin, Vol. XVII, March, 1922, No. 11 by University of Idaho


[Illustration: University of Idaho]



Entered as second-class mail matter at the postoffice, Moscow, Idaho

[Illustration: IDAHO]

[Illustration: _The Gymnasium, Crowded From Floor to Roof_]


“Well, son—”

“Well, dad?”

Father and son had a minute alone together on the first evening of their first visit to their own state university—Idaho. Arriving on a Friday afternoon in February, they had been captured by Tom Collins, a sophomore from their home town in south Idaho, and carried off before they knew it to his fraternity house on the college hill.

Here they had seen a pair of grinning freshmen hustled into other quarters to make room for them, had partaken of an abundant, well-cooked supper, had heard a lively program of college songs, and were resting up a bit before starting out to look things over.

“Well, what do you think of them?”

“They surely are fine fellows, dad. Tom’s told me a lot about them before, but I only half believed him. Why, I feel as much at home as if I’d known them for years.”

“They’re good business men, too, if they are only youngsters. Did you hear the steward explaining how they were saving money on food; and all the seniors jumping on the kids who didn’t pay their bills? I wonder if all the houses are run like this one.”

“Bill Jones says his crowd is a whole lot better. And then there’s Lindley Hall, managed by the University. That’s where Stubby Scott is living and he’s crazy about it. We’re going there tomorrow.”

“Do we go anywhere tonight?”

“Do we? There’s a basketball game at the Gym, and after that a student play in the Auditorium. Then Bill wants us to drop in at his house and get acquainted there.”

“But son, it’s seven now, and at home I always try to be in bed by nine. Why—”

A tap on the door interrupted his protests.

“Excuse me,” came a voice from the hall. “Game begins early tonight on account of the play. We’ll have to hurry.”

They found the Gymnasium crowded from floor to roof, with just enough space left for the ten lithe, active young fellows who were already dashing back and forth between the baskets. As the visitors worked their way to the balcony, a slender athlete in white and gold dropped the ball neatly through the hoop, and bam!—an explosion of voices shook the rafters so that Father clutched at his guides and suddenly remembered that a doctor had once warned him about his heart.

“What—what happened?” he gasped.

“First score for Idaho, sir. Looks like a tight game.”

And it was a tight game. Time and again the score was tied. Then another Idaho player would find the basket and pandemonium would break loose once more. A thrilling last-minute rally brought Idaho to the front and the game was won just as the timer’s gun cracked.

The boy was radiant, breathless. His new friends could speak only in whispers.

“Physical Director over there,” one of them pointed. “Greatest football coach in the Northwest. Like to meet him?”

[Illustration: (uncaptioned)]

“There’s nothing like it,” the Coach was saying to Father a few minutes later, while the Boy kept silent and admired. “There’s nothing like regular, well-coached athletics to keep a boy—or girl either—sound and healthy during college years and when they get out in life. We try to get everybody into these sports here, so they will enjoy the exercise they get. We have class teams and fraternity teams; first, second and third teams; and this Gymnasium’s just the busiest place on the campus.”

“Does it take much time from their studies?” asked Father, always cautious.

“Not at all. It clears their brains and they can study all the better.”

“I’d rather make the big teams—like the one tonight,” suggested the boy.

[Illustration: _That’s Why We Win_]

“And you’ll have a good chance, too. Everybody in school has, after his first year.” Then the Coach got enthusiastic. “Before long every high-school boy in Idaho will be looking to the day when he can represent his own state university in athletic sports. We’ll have Idaho coaches in Idaho schools and our teams here will be a big factor in making every citizen proud that he lives in Idaho. There’s no finer loyalty anywhere than our boys have right now. That’s why we win.”

Over in an adjoining building Father and the Boy found a spacious auditorium, beautiful beyond their dreams.

“They say it’s like the old college chapels in England, only newer,” volunteered Tom. “I don’t know much about such things.”

[Illustration: _Student Performers of a Clever Modern Comedy_]

Soon the curtain rose on an attractively-set stage, and student performers, with almost professional skill, began the performance of a clever modern comedy.

“Do they often do this?” asked Father between acts. “It’s first-class training for the actors and the audience too. I’ve always wanted my children to know good plays and good music and good books. I’ve had so little chance for such things.”

He was assured that there were plays as good as this several times a year, with a special one at commencement time. Better still, every student in the University could try out for the parts and in certain classes there was practice in writing plays as well as acting them.

Next morning Father and the Boy were routed out of a sound sleep and hurried down to breakfast.

“Most of the fellows have eight-o’clocks,” Tom explained. “They check up mighty close on absences here.”

Father nodded his approval.

“I think I’ll take you to see the President first,” Tom went on. “He never seems to be too busy to meet new people.”

[Illustration: _An Auditorium, Beautiful Beyond Their Dreams_]

As they strolled up the pathway to the Administration Building in the sunshine of that February morning, the beauty of the campus and its surroundings was revealed to them as they had not even imagined it the night before. The rich Gothic lines of the Administration Building stood out sharply against the rolling hills of the Palouse country, still glistening with snow. To the south appeared the Engineering Building and Ridenbaugh Hall, pleasing in architecture and harmonizing with the main building in the soft red of their walls and the weathered green of the roofs. Slightly to the rear was the Gymnasium, looking peaceful enough now, after the hard battle of the previous night.

[Illustration: _To the North—Agriculture, Mines and Forestry_]

Off to the north, separated by a driveway, stood the closely-clustered buildings devoted to Agriculture, Mines and Forestry. Tom explained that in the valley beyond these was the large experimental farm, with its stock barns, and poultry house. Near at hand he pointed out the Music Building, the University hut, and the Infirmary, and called attention to Lindley Hall and the numerous fraternity and sorority houses clustered about. Students were hurrying to and fro on the walks, for inside the building a gong had just sounded.

“Why it’s a little city in itself!” was the Boy’s comment.

“And it’s getting bigger all the time,” added Tom. “There are more than eleven hundred students on the campus right now—fully twice as many as there were five years ago. I sometimes wonder where they put us all, but we always have found room.”

[Illustration: (uncaptioned)]

“We’re glad to meet anybody from Idaho, particularly south Idaho,” was the greeting Father got from the President. “People in the north have known all about us for years and long ago got the habit of sending their children here. But now all the state is acquiring the habit. State pride and state unity can mean a great deal for Idaho, and the University of Idaho should be the greatest agent in developing this spirit.”

“I’ve been figuring it this way,” said Father. “As my boys grow up and get into business in Idaho, they will need just the kind of friends, all over the state, that they will come to know in four years here at the University.”

“I quite agree with you,” the President assured him. “We are training Idaho boys and girls for the life of Idaho. Just let us show you around the buildings and you will see more and more how closely our courses are related to all the important industries of the state.”

Then the pilgrimage commenced. Father and the Boy first made a thorough round of the Administration Building, largely devoted to classes in Letters and Science. They acquired a somewhat blurred impression of rows and rows of library shelves, of crowded laboratories, of vigorous class-room discussion, and of an array of scientific apparatus that bewildered them. But they caught certain ideas very clearly.

They saw how personal most of this instruction was, what constant opportunity was given for direct contact of student and instructor, how every effort was made to encourage students to think for themselves. They noted too the serious purpose each instructor brought to his work and the interest he took in the young people under his direction. Father was especially pleased with the vitality of the subject matter and the constant applications which were made of it to present-day conditions. He grew so interested in several classrooms that they could hardly drag him away, and the Boy was sure he was going to break in and ask questions. In the course in Business Administration they were talking about taxation and railroad rates and other things he had such deep interest in.

[Illustration: _The Administration Building, largely devoted to Letters and Science_]

Next Father insisted on visiting the College of Law, half expecting to find an actual court-room in full operation. He found more shelves of books and more busy students, and learned with satisfaction how the College is shaping its courses to fit the particular needs of the state.

[Illustration: _Ridenbaugh Hall, the Women’s Building_]

“Mining law, irrigation law, and the law of community property are subjects we have to emphasize here,” said the Dean of the College. “Our numbers are growing fast, and our graduates, while still young, are making good wherever they go.”

“School of Education,” read Father, as they passed an office door. “You boys go on if you want to, but the girls are going to prepare for teaching in a few years, and I’d like to talk to these people.”

He found an interesting and affable group of men who knew as much about the schools in his home county as he did.

“Teaching is a splendid field for service just now in Idaho,” they told him. “The supply of trained teachers is entirely unequal to the demand, and there is such a shortage of teachers in other states that we cannot import from outside as we used to do.”

“Do you prepare teachers for the grades here?” asked Father.

“No,” they told him, “that is done at the state normal schools. Our work is along other lines. We prepare high-school teachers, principals, and superintendents, and give special training to teachers of agriculture, home economics, music, and physical education.”

Even though Father was on the school board at home, this array of names was a bit confusing, but he found familiar ground.

“This home economics,” he said with a show of confidence—“really cooking and general housework gone to college, I’d say. We’ve just installed an outfit for it in our home school that cost a lot of money. I’ll have to see what you have here.”

[Illustration: _Home Economics—A Booth in the Christmas Bazaar_]

At the other end of the long corridor he found the laboratories of the Home Economics department, complete and modern in their equipment. There was a fragrance in the air like baking-day at home, and a group of white-aproned young women were bustling about, very much intent on their work.

[Illustration: _Plenty of Opportunities to Enjoy Themselves_]

The instructor introduced Father to the Dean of Women and to the mother of one of the girls, who was also making a visit to the University and being escorted about the buildings.

“I am certainly glad we decided to send our daughter here,” she assured Father. “The work is just what she needs and the teachers have her more interested than she ever was before. She has so many good friends here, too.”

“Meaning girls or boys?” asked Father with a little smile.

“Well, both,” she replied. “The whole social atmosphere is very wholesome. The young people have plenty of opportunities to enjoy themselves, but they are always carefully directed and chaperoned. They have all the rules they need, but I don’t think there are too many, and there is a Women’s League of the girls to enforce the ones they have.”

[Illustration: _A Tense Moment on the Gridiron_]

“I like to see young folks have a good time,” Father informed her, “but it does seem that somebody has to look after them. I suppose that’s where you come in,” he added to the Dean of Women.

She was able to explain in more detail the wide variety of recreation available on the campus. Father was particularly pleased when she said:

“The spirit of the University is generally democratic. Everybody knows everybody else and there is no distinction of rich or poor. Hundreds of boys and girls are earning all or part of their expenses and are respected all the more for doing so. Fraternities and sororities may have intense rivalry among themselves but they are not snobbish.”

“Do the girls get any of this physical culture, or whatever you call it?” asked Father.

“They certainly do, and we give them more and better opportunities every year. They have a very competent woman to direct their classes and give corrective exercises to those who need them. They now have a chance at inter-class sports just as the men have.”

The ladies excused themselves, explaining that they were due to visit the Music Building.

“Are you acquainted with the work in music here?” the other visitor asked of Father. He confessed that he was not.

“I did hear the University Glee Club in our town last winter,” he explained, “and all the boys at the house where we’re staying can sing like birds. I didn’t know they had any regular department.”

“Indeed they have. It is growing rapidly under some very competent instruction. My daughter thought she would have to drop her music when she left home, but she can carry it right through her entire course. She’s interested in both piano and violin.”

Out on the campus once more, Father found Tom and the Boy with a dozen or more students in military uniforms hurrying along from the direction of the Gymnasium.

“Oh, dad, you should have seen the military work!” the Boy sang out across the campus. “Tom here says he doesn’t like it much, but it looks good to me.”

Tom shrugged his shoulders with the superior manner of one who knows.

“They have a unit of the R. O. T. C. here—the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, you know. Every fellow has to take military his first two years, and then if he wants to keep it up, he may become an officer when he graduates. And he has a uniform furnished him, and gets sent to summer camps, and shoots in the rifle range—I think it’s bully! And you just ought to hear the military band!”

“It is a mighty good department,” Tom confessed. “One of the best in the West, the War Department says. And the Colonel and all the officers are mighty good scouts. We’ll have to get to these other buildings now.”

[Illustration: _The University Gymnasium_]

Father owned a farm, and soon found his way to the College of Agriculture. “You represent the state’s biggest business,” he assured the Dean. “I’m always telling the boy so.”

“Yes,” was the reply, “and if your son expects to make scientific agriculture his life work, as teacher, experimental expert, extension worker, or as operator and manager of a farm of his own, this University is the place for him. Farming conditions in Idaho are distinctive, and he can best prepare to meet them in the Agricultural College of his own state, where they are made a special study.”

Father enjoyed every minute of the hour that followed, during which he was personally conducted through the agricultural buildings and over the farm. Model dairy barns, chicken pens, up-to-date crop demonstrations crowded upon each other. The tractor school then in session particularly interested Father.

“I have been a farmer all my life,” he said, “but I would enter this Agricultural College right now if my son were not ahead of me.”

There was a ringing of gongs throughout the buildings and students came hurrying out as fast as they had entered in the morning.

“Lunch time,” said Tom. “If you go with Stubby to Lindley, you will need to be on time. They’re mighty prompt about their meals.”

Father expressed disappointment that he had not visited all departments.

[Illustration: _One of the Best in the West_]

“You can take in the others this afternoon, even if it is Saturday,” Tom assured him. “Classes do not meet, but there are always people working in these shops and laboratories.”

Lunch at Lindley Hall, with 150 boys and a number of professors, was an abundant and attractive meal. Since it was Saturday these boys lingered too to sing a few songs, and Father and the Boy got acquainted with a large number of fellows from their part of the state.

“These are nearly all freshmen,” the Proctor of the hall told them. “Freshmen had a rather hard time of it, scattered all over town, till the people of Moscow made this building available to us. We are able to charge very reasonable rental to the boys and still meet our obligations to the citizens. The rooms are light and attractive, and the dining department is very skillfully conducted.”

The Proctor also explained his duties as financial adviser to the students, while Father listened with approval. Then they started on a further tour of inspection, this time with Stubby as guide.

Just outside of Lindley Hall Stubby remarked, “Let’s stop here at the Infirmary and see Vic Nelson. He’s laid up with some kind of pip and would surely like to see somebody from home.”

[Illustration: _He was Personally Conducted Over the Farm_]

The infirmary, unpretentious on the outside, was a revelation to them within. The rooms were spotless and the trained nurse in charge seemed to know exactly how to make sick youngsters forget their troubles.

“How do you get in here, anyhow?” asked the Boy. “I expect to come around every time I need a rest cure.”

“That won’t work,” the nurse explained. “I hold consultation hours every day for students who are ailing, and go to see those who are confined to their rooms. If they need a doctor I have them get one. If a day or two in bed will fix them up, we bring them here, but if they seem to be in for a longer illness, they are taken to a hospital down town.”

“That isn’t all you do,” added Stubby none too pleasantly.

“Now he’s referring to my sanitary inspections,” she said laughing. “I make inspection trips to all the rooming houses when they least expect it, and rate them on cleanliness, neatness, and general sanitary condition. They really don’t mind, but they pretend to.”

“They have no right to mind.” Father was emphatic now. “When I use good money sending children to college I want to know that they live right and take care of their health. Is there a medical school connected with the University?”

“No, there isn’t,” said the nurse. “There is a very high-grade Pre-Medical course though, which prepares students for the best medical schools. Many Idaho boys save as much as a year of expensive medical training back east by completing this Pre-Medical work here.”

Then the little procession moved over to the Agricultural Building again, where they still wished to look in on the School of Forestry.

“I got some fine young shade trees from here last year,” said Father to the Dean, “and I thought I’d call and see if the supply is exhausted.”

“By no means,” was the reply. “And yet we have distributed 175,000 of these trees throughout Idaho in the last two years.”

“We people in the south forget sometimes what an interest this state has in forestry,” Father told him.

“Fully forty per cent of Idaho is permanent forest land, you know,” said the Dean, “and the forestry problems of the state are of great importance. Our interest is divided between working on these and preparing young men for the forest service and the lumber industry. We are drawing students from all over the country but we can’t train them and turn them out fast enough.”

In the School of Mines nearby Father learned a similar lesson of the importance of the work to the state and a demand for competent graduates all out of proportion to the numbers the school was able to supply.

“Our teaching falls into three main divisions,” he was told: “geology, to make the students familiar with the nature and occurrence of ores and minerals; mining engineering, concerned with the extraction of these ores from the earth; and metallurgy, in which we study the methods employed in making valuable metal from crude ore.”

[Illustration: _We Can’t Train Them Fast Enough_]

Father and son both were so fascinated by the possibilities of these laboratories that practically every piece of apparatus had to be set going for them before they were content to leave.

“If we could all have the benefit of this kind of training,” Father remarked somewhat sadly, “we wouldn’t all be such fools over mining stocks.”

The professor only smiled.

Back across the campus they went to the College of Engineering. The Boy had been dabbling in electricity and mechanics all through his high-school course and was soon absorbed in a discussion of wireless telephones with the professor in charge. Father walked rather gingerly among the whirring belts and singing dynamos, but felt more at home in the wood and metal working shops nearby. The values of the course in Chemical Engineering were explained to him at some length, but Civil Engineering he knew all about.

[Illustration: _The College of Engineering_]

“You don’t need to preach water power and irrigation to us in the south,” he declared. “We know that the future of Idaho lies in her unlimited water supply and we want plenty of our own boys trained to harness and adapt this to our needs.”

The good roads laboratory also appealed to him.

“I’ve been telling our supervisors for weeks that they are planning to use poor stuff on our county roads this year,” he said. “Now I’ll prove it to them.”

The afternoon was far spent, but Father still insisted on walking down through the town of Moscow while the Saturday crowd was on the streets. He found a busy little city, with good buildings, wide and well-paved streets, and cordial, public-spirited citizens. He learned of the excellent schools, the many churches and the high moral tone of the entire community. He was particularly impressed with the interest of the church people in the social and spiritual life of the students, and commended them highly for their zeal in employing a non-denominational student pastor to give his entire time to student welfare.

[Illustration: _In the Same Old Gymnasium_]

It ended all too soon—that wonderful week-end visit at the University of Idaho. Saturday night the Boy had the time of his life at the annual Military Ball, in the same old over-worked Gymnasium, transformed now into a bower of beauty and bright with colored lights and dainty evening dresses. Father looked on from the gallery and wished that Mother could be there to see. Next day came church services in town, conversation and more music in the fraternity living room, and a Vesper Recital in the Auditorium at twilight. There was a mad rush for the railway station, a chorus of good-bye shouts, and the holiday was over.

As they settled back in the Pullman, the Boy’s eyes glistened with excitement.

“Dad,” he said, “I can hardly wait for next fall to come. I want so much to be a part of this splendid University life.”

[Illustration: _We Love Every Inch of Her Campus Green_]

Father was silent for a minute. Then he spoke out.

“We’ll go a long way before we find a better place for you or the girls either. It’s liberal and democratic, and it’s building mighty fine citizens for the state of Idaho. What was the song we heard so often about the campus and the crested hill? I can’t quite get it straightened out, but it certainly touches the spot.”

And the boy, still aglow with enthusiasm, sat back and sang softly, over and over again:

“We love every inch of her campus green, Each view of her crested hill; We love every man that reveres her name, Our glasses to her we fill. She’s the hope of our proud young mountain state, Allegiance we freely owe. Our Varsity’s the best, she’s the queen of the West. Our own, our Idaho.”

[Illustration: _Freshman Bonfire_]

Press Publishing Company, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by _underscores_.