Rhodesmen at Swarthmore

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Oxford v. Punch. Also very much in sight at Swarthmore would be Frank Aydelotte, president of the College and key man in Rhodes affairs on the west side of the water. Frank Aydelotte was an early Rhodes Scholar (1905-07). A shy country lad from Sullivan, Ind., he had gone to Indiana University, played football despite the admonitions of his parents and doctor, later coached a crack high school team. At Oxford, he rowed, played rugby. Back in the U. S., he taught English at Indiana University until 1915, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 1921. U. S. education was growing rich and vast and Frank Aydelotte's notion was that it needed culture. All very well to provide education-for-all, but he feared pedagogs were neglecting the bright students who, if given the chance, could strike out for themselves and get ahead of their duller fellows. Democracy was a good thing, but applied to education it dragged the able men down. Dr. Aydelotte would reprieve democracy from mediocrity. Oxford was his model, where well-bred young men did not "take courses" but studied subjects whole with their tutors and, on their own initiative, went to lectures when they felt like it, getting their work up not in term-time but during vacations. He observed that Rhodes Scholars went to Oxford full of U. S. "punch." Oxford smoothed and quieted them, sent them home to spread scholarliness among their fellows. In 1921 Frank Aydelotte had a chance to put the Oxford idea into practice, when Swarthmore made him its president.

"Work, Golf and Work," say his friends, are Frank Aydelotte's hobbies. Golf he shoots under So. Work he does at high speed. Bald, far from handsome (his large ears are always a target at the annual Swarthmore ''Hamburg Show''), he is dynamic and persuasive, with a disarming sunny smile. He talks forcefully, sometimes lurching a shoulder forward, sometimes clasping hands on his stomach and swaying. He it was who in 1918 persuaded the Rhodes Trust to let new Scholars be chosen by old ones, and got the job of managing it for himself. In 1929 he pounded on Parliament's door, got the bill through to redistrict—equivalent to breaking the Rhodes will. For the great copper family he organized the Guggenheim Fellowships, is still chairman. For Swarthmore he put across two $2,000,000 endowment drives, thereby tripling the endowment to $6,268,000. Frank Aydelotte did not try to enlarge the college enrollment (now 588, half female). He sniffed at people who thought it would be nice to have 5,000 students. He preferred to raise it from an average small college to one of the best.

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