Rhodesmen at Swarthmore

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(See front cover)

U. S. colleges and universities had by this week gotten their commencement announcements and invitations printed, their degrees engrossed and signed. There would be academic processions, speeches, sermons. Old grads would come trooping in with golf clubs, tennis rackets and bottles, many of them to put on rakish costumes, to talk of hard times, old times, babies. Eminent Men were ready to receive honorary degrees. The U. S. educational scene was in its most public and familiar phase. Last week one college was ready to celebrate with a difference.

On the tree-girt campus of Swarthmore College near Philadelphia, 150 of the 1,200-odd Rhodes Scholars in the U. S. and Canada would for the first time hold a sizeable reunion. For them, few bottles, no antics. Most of them would bring wives and for those who brought children a nursery had been established. The program was to be scholarly indeed. Dean Willard Learoyd Sperry of Harvard Theological School, first Rhodesman sent abroad from Michigan, would deliver the Swarthmore baccalaureate. English Professor Charles Frederick Tucker Brooke, first Rhodesman from West Virginia and now Yale's expert on Marlowe, would give the Phi Beta Kappa address. The Swarthmore commencement address would be delivered by Sir Francis James Wylie. who lately retired as resident host and welcomer to Rhodes Scholars at Oxford (TIME, March 7, 1932) and this year, with his white-haired, U. S.-born wife, has been visiting Rhodesmen old and new about the land (TIME, May 22). And. to tune in with the times, the Rhodesmen would hold a symposium on International Cures for Depression, chief speaker Newton D. Baker on "The Superstate."

Rhodes's Idea. As the Rhodes Scholars assembled for their first big reunion, some of them now greying after 31 years, observers pondered their record. Had they fulfilled Cecil Rhodes's plans? Had they, as a group, showed themselves more able than their U. S. classmates?

Rough, strong-headed Cecil John Rhodes who dug a fortune out of Africa was a strong believer in Anglo-Saxondom. One day he took seriously a conversational suggestion by the late Editor William Thomas Stead of the British Review of Reviews that the British Empire join with the U. S. Republic under a constitution based on the U. S. Cried Rhodes: "I take it—I take it! ... Dear me, how ideas expand. I thought my ideas were tolerably large, but yours have outgrown them. Yes, yes, you are quite right!" So Cecil Rhodes set up a £1,000,000 trust fund (now grown to £2,000,000) to bring 68 young men annually from the colonies, from the U. S. and Germany to attend Oxford for three years, to learn England and understand it. The young men should be of good character, high scholarship: they must be athletic and "leaders." Through them, hoped Rhodes, would come Anglo-Saxon world unity. That was in 1902.

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