I rejoice, as everybody must, in Mr. Carnegie’s enthusiasm for using his wealth for the benefit of his less fortunate fellows and I think his devotion to his adopted land’s welfare has set a striking example for all time.
The General Education Board, of which Mr. Carnegie has now become a member, is interesting as an example of an organization formed for the purpose of working out, in an orderly and rather scientific way, the problem of helping to stimulate and improve education in all parts of our country. What this organization may eventually accomplish, of course, no one can tell, but surely, under its present board of directors, it will go very far. Here, again, I feel that I may speak frankly and express my personal faith in its success, since I am not a member of the board, and have never attended a meeting, and the work is all done by others.
There are some other and larger plans thought out on careful and broad lines, which I have been studying for many years, and we can see that they are growing into definite shape. It is good to know that there are always unselfish men, of the best calibre, to help in every large philanthropic enterprise. One of the most satisfactory and stimulating pieces of good fortune that has come to me is the evidence that so many busy people are willing to turn aside from their work in pressing fields of labour and to give their best thoughts and energies without compensation to the work of human uplift. Doctors, clergymen, lawyers, as well as many high-grade men of affairs, are devoting their best and most unselfish efforts to some of the plans that we are all trying to work out.
Take, as one example of many similar cases, Mr. Robert C. Ogden, who for years, while devoting himself to an exacting business, still found time, supported by wonderful enthusiasm, to give force by his own personality to work done in difficult parts of the educational world, particularly to improving the common school system of the South. His efforts have been wisely directed along fundamental lines which must produce results through the years to come.
Fortunately my children have been as earnest as I, and much more diligent, in carefully and intelligently carrying out the work already begun, and agree with me that at least the same energy and thought should be expended in the proper and effective use of money when acquired as was exerted in the earning of it.
The General Education Board has made, or is making, a careful study of the location, aims, work, resources, administration, and educational value, present and prospective, of the institutions of higher learning in the United States. The board makes its contributions, averaging something like two million dollars a year, on the most careful comparative study of needs and opportunities throughout the country. Its records are open to all. Many benefactors of education are availing themselves of these disinterested inquiries, and it is hoped that more will do so.