Education: Almus Pater

When slight, precocious, 16-year-old Freshman "Murray" Butler got his first glimpse of Columbia in 1878, it was a college with 227 students and a little cluster of buildings on one city block. Last week, when 83-year-old Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler handed in his resignation as president of Columbia, the university could boast 30,000 resident students, assets worth $231,561,407, a reputation as one of the biggest and finest universities in the world.

Columbians have long referred to Dr. Butler as "Almus Pater." The luster of world acclaim he received through his ubiquitous personal activities...