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UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 1830 - 1831:
Inaugural Address of the Provost, 1828

AN

INAUGURAL ADDRESS

DELIVERED BEFORE THE

TRUSTEES, FACULTY, AND STUDENTS

OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

IN THE

COLLEGE CHAPEL,

ON

Wednesday, September 17th, 1828.

 


BY WILLIAM H. DE LANCEY, D. D.

PROVOST OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA


 

Excerpt from the Speech: Opening Remarks

 

GENTLEMEN,

The circumstances under which we meet at the present period are, in every view that can be taken of them, peculiarly interesting to us all.

To you, Gentlemen of the Board of Trustees, the occasion is one of interest, since it is the opening of that new course of exertion in behalf of the University of Pennsylvania, on which the earnest expectation of an interested community, as well as your own equally earnest desires, are fixed, as the means of its future elevation; and since, by the recent measures of your Board, you stand pledged to the public on the responsibility of your word, honour, reputation, and stewardship, to throw the entire weight of your extended and powerful influence into the scale of the institution of which you are the constituted guardians.

To us, my brethren of the Faculty, the present circumstances are interesting, almost beyond the power of an estimate. For, whether the view be just or unjust, a scrutinizing public invariably associates the prosperity or decline of a literary institution with the character, diligence, and talents, of those who conduct its government and its instructions; and they cannot be deterred from regarding, nor from pronouncing, the measure of the former the certain standard of the latter. To us, then, the present occasion marks the commencement of a career of labour in which not merely our personal and domestic interests, but, to a wide extent, our character and standing with the public, are deeply implicated.

To you young gentlemen, the Students of the University, our present meeting is one of interest, because it is the beginning of a system of instruction and discipline, in some respects new, under the tuition and control of a faculty who are in some degree strangers to you; but who, nevertheless, will cheerfully pledge a paternal interest in your welfare, and their utmost energy in the effort to expand your minds, enlarge your acquirements, and implant the seeds of that knowledge which must be the foundation of your future eminence, respectability, and happiness, in the world.

To the friends of the University, under which term I trust may be included not only the respectable audience whom I now address, but the great majority of the community within the limits of Philadelphia, the present meeting may be prounounced interesting in the extreme. An institution which was originally called into life for your accommodation; and which, however it may retain a nominal, can have no efficient and profitable existence without your patronage and favour, is, we trust, on the eve of resuscitation; and, at this moment, comes forward to ask at your hands, not only a candid interpretation of the measures of its Governors, but a favourable estimate of its present claims; and your countenance to the united exertions of its Trustees and Faculty, to render it, in respect to its future discipline and instructions, as worthy of your support, as it is, in regard to its location, deserving of your favour. Every individual among us, who now sustains, or who shall ever sustain, the endearing and tender relations of a parent, must respond from his inmost soul to the present effort to revive a college, where his sons may attain an adequate collegiate education without encountering the increased expenses, and the moral perils, of an estrangement from the delights, associations, and counsels, of the parental roof.