UNIVERSITY. Introductory.— It is dif ficult to define the American university. In a certain sense it may be said not to exist. When we speak of the English universities, the Ger man universities or the University of Paris, we have in mind educational institutions of distinctive if not of actually unique type whose organization and procedure are crystallized and whose aims and ambitions are clear-cut and capable of definition. The mere term uni versity is misleading in America because in actual practice there is no consistent distinction between the terms college and university. Many institutions which are hardly reputable secondary schools parade under the name of college, and many institutions which are barely able to do work of collegiate grade are bur dened with the title of university. Both the terms lose distinctiveness through illegitimate use.
On the other hand the confusion is worse confounded, in the minds of the lay public at least, by the seemingly indiscriminate use of the terms by thoroughly reputable institutions. The layman who has long been lead to believe that the leading American university is located at Cambridge, Mass., is puzzled when he dis covers that the legal titles of the controlling bodies of this great institution are "The Presi dent and Fellows, and the Board of Overseers, of Harvard College? As a matter of fact there is both a Harvard College and a Harvard Uni versity. The title Harvard College, the original name of the institution, is now ap plicable to the organization and administration of the group of courses in the liberal arts lead ing to the degree of bachelor of arts, and the title Harvard University is applicable to the several departments of the institution as a whole, including Harvard College. In a some what similar way Columbia College persists as a part of the greater Columbia University. There is also still a Yale College within Yale University.
Then, to turn to the other extreme, we discover that such reputable institutions as Colgate University, James Milliken University, De Pauw University and a long list of others which might be named, which make no pre tense outside of their titles of being what they are not, are not in any respect universities in the sense in 'which the term university is broadly used to cover the entire groups of edu cational activities centred in Harvard, Yale and Columbia. In other words, the name or title alone of a higher educational institution signifies nothing in this country. We must know the history and the objects of any col lege or university before we can determine :ts character or its place in our educational world.
While titles are used so indiscriminately that the terms college and university have no concise meaning to the public mind, there yet remains a distinction, very clear in the minds of educators and becoming evident in practice here and there, which gains ground as time goes on. The truth is that we do have insti tutions which merit inclusion under the general term of the American university even though we yet find it difficult to give a concise defini tion to that general term. The American uni versity is coming to have an identity of its own even if its title is not always trustworthy. The Regents of the University of the State of New York, which, incidentally it should be said, is not a university at all but simply the corporate title of a State Department of Education, have defined a college as follows: "An institution to be ranked as a college must have at least six professors giving their entire time to college or university work, a course of four full years of college Fade in liberal arts and sciences, and should require for admission not less than the usual four years of academic or high school preparation or its equivalent, in addition to the pre-academic or grammar school studies."
This definition has been adopted by the Car negie Foundation for the advancement of teach ing and under the frequent use of this agency is operating widely to give identity to the col lege. The definition serves well enough at the bottom but leaves us yet without a definition of a university. The Education Law of the State of New York adds to the confusion by declaring, in defining its own terms, that "the term includes universities and other institutions for higher education authorized to confer degrees? No one has done better than Ezra Cornell in fixing the limits of the American university in a few words. His often-quoted declaration, "I would found an institution where any person can find instruc tion in any study? affords a real distinction between a college as defined above and a real university such as he actually founded at Ithaca, N. Y. Cornell University will be found in any comprehensive list of higher educational institutions whether the list be headed colleges or universities.
Without concern about confused and con fusing nomenclature, the distinction which edu cators make between a college and a university is this: a college is a higher educational insti tution offering mainly courses of instruction leading to the bachelor's degree; a university is a college or group of colleges or departments under one control offering courses of instruc tion leading not only to the bachelor's degree but also to the master's and the doctor's degrees. There is yet another distinction, more academic than real, which would classify as colleges those institutions devoted entirely to work leading to the bachelor's degree and as universities those institutions devoted to scientific research and to the general widening of human knowledge and admitting only graduate students. The general tendency seems to be to regard as the typical American university the institution em bracing the union of college and university of fering both undergraduate and graduate courses. The reputable American university ap proaches this definition in practice no matter what its title is. This definition covers the ac tual activities of many of the leading State uni versities and embraces the ideals of all of them.
State universities help markedly to give character and worth to the American univer sity as a recognized educational institution, and all that can be said with regard to the pres ent status of the endowed universities applies with equal force to the State universities.
The number of endowed American universi ties which have risen to places of assured prominence in the educational world is not large. The origin and development of 10 lead ing institutions in the order of their founda tion illustrate the problems common to the whole group and the reader is referred to the special articles under the respective • titles: