Quotations about   university

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A man may hear a thousand lectures, and read a thousand volumes, and be at the end of the process very much where he was, as regards knowledge. Something more than merely admitting it in a negative way into the mind is necessary, if it is to remain there. It must not be passively received, but actually and actively entered into, embraced, mastered. The mind must go half-way to meet what comes to it from without.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
The Idea of a University, Lecture 9 “Discipline of Mind,” sec. 4 (1852)
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Added on 16-Jun-20 | Last updated 16-Jun-20
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This ideal University of Life … would never take the importance of culture for granted. It would know that culture is kept alive by a constant respectful questioning — not by an excessive and snobbish attitude of respect. Therefore, rather than leaving it hanging why one was reading Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary, an ideal course covering nineteenth-century literature would ask plainly “What is it that adultery ruins in a marriage?” Students in the ideal University of Life would end up knowing much the same material as their colleagues in other institutions, they would simply have learned it under a very different set of headings.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
“Reclaiming the Intellectual Life for Posterity,” Liberal Education (Spring 2009)
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Added on 18-Aug-17 | Last updated 18-Aug-17
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I don’t think the boy of lively mind is hurt much by going to college. If he encounters mainly jackasses, then he learns the useful lesson that this is a jackass world.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“Editorial,” The American Mercury (April 1926)
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Reprinted in Prejudices: Sixth Series (1927).
Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 18-Jul-17
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As I left the building, classes were changing and the students were milling about in the halls. They seemed inconceivably young to me. Full of pretense, massively other oriented, ill formed, partial, angry, earnest, resentful, excited, frantic, depressed, hopeful, and scared.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Chance (1996)
Added on 17-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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Oh, soon we’ll be out amid the cold world’s strife.
Soon we’ll be sliding down the razor blade of life.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Bright College Days,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 18-Feb-16 | Last updated 18-Feb-16
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Every great study is not only an end in itself, but also a means of creating and sustaining a lofty habit of the mind.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Study of Mathematics,” Mysticism and Logic (1918)
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Added on 22-Jan-15 | Last updated 22-Jan-15
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Universities should be safe havens where ruthless examination of realities will not be distorted by the aim to please or inhibited by the risk of displeasure.

Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
Inaugural address as President of Yale University (11 Apr 1964)
Added on 5-Jan-15 | Last updated 5-Jan-15
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The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low.

Wallace Sayre (1905-1972) U.S. political scientist, academic
Sayre’s Third Law

One of several formulations of the same sentiment, which has also been attributed to Richard Neustadt, Jesse Unruh, Henry Kissinger ("University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small"), Charles Philip Issawi ("In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake. That is why academic politics are so bitter"), Lawrence Peter, C.P. Snow, and others, with antecedents by Samuel Johnson and Woodrow Wilson. Most of the attributions come in the early-mid 1970s, though Herbert Kaufman, a colleague, claimed Sayres had used the phrase for decades.

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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-Mar-19
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