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VOLUME LXXXII

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OUT WEST MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER, 1924

No. 9

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A Mountain University

S THE COVERED WAGONS of the forties, bearing seekers

for rich land and for gold in the Pacific West, jolted into the valleys of western Nevada, there came to the pioneers visions of a great civilization in the country they had just discovered. Among their dreams was that of a great state university, educating the youth and serving the commonwealth-a beacon blazing forth their ideals.

A few weeks ago the University of Nevada, located at Reno, paid tribute to the aspirations of these pioneers. Students, alumni and faculty celebrated the institution's first fifty years of successful effort, which has just ended. The dreams of the covered wagon drivers have come true.

The struggle for the development of the university has been typical of the struggle of the state for the development of its natural resources and to secure the benefits of civilization.

A half century ago there stood on a hill half a mile from Elko, surrounded by sagebrush desert and rocky desolation, a small building, called the University of Nevada. The name was a courtesy, for there was nothing about the school housed in that structure to give it university rank. Within the build

ing were seven pupils, gathered without regard to preparation, from the nearby country, and one teacher, who acted as the entire faculty and administration. The subjects taught were of the caliber. now offered in our upper grammar grades.

Today, on another hill, in Reno, stands the real University of Nevada. It is a restful, green spot of beauty. There

are

a score of beautiful buildings. Within the halls are three colleges in which nearly a thousand students are taught the higher branches of learning by a large and well-prepared faculty.

In the gap between these two pictures lies the story of the building of the university through five decades-a story of the fight made by pioneer settlers and pioneer educators against the handicaps of a rough, Western land.

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Mount Rose and Slide Mountain-look down on the campus. To the south of the University is the city of Reno, and, stretching off for many miles of green, the fertile Washoe valley. On the east lies the brown Virginia range, from which has come much of the wealth that helped build San Francisco. But on the north, even creeping insidiously up to the very edge of the campus green, is the barren, sage-grown desert. Not so many years ago the campus was only a continuation of that desert. The first students in Reno trudged over sagebrush and through adobe to their classes.

Years of struggle against the desert have made the University of Nevada campus one of the most beautiful settings for an academic institution.

The hilltop that composes the sixty

acre campus is now carpeted with turf. Where only sagebrush grew, now are green trees that tower above the warm, red-brick buildings-academic elms, rustling cottonwoods, box elders, ashesand many varieties of shrub. Nestling alongside the buildings is Manzanita Lake, a sparkling body of water, fed by mountain streams, in which the men's and women's dormitories and other buildings mirror themselves at night. A rushing, tree-banked stream wanders about the campus edge. Around the long, tree-lined quadrangle are arranged. the University halls. Some are of an incongruous design, reminiscent of older days. The newer ones, pleasant colonial

halls of red brick with tall, white columns that shine through the trees, represent the type which soon will prevail on the whole campus and make it an architectural unit. Upon the slope of a natural amphitheatre are built the concrete, column-sheltered seats from which the athletic events on the field below are watched. The field itself is one of the best to be found anywhere. Altogether there are a score of well-equipped buildings in which is carried on the University's work.

When the establishment of a state university was proposed, a sceptic scoffed the idea. He declared no one would attend an institution set on the rocks and in the sage, when he could study on the green, pleasing campus of some easily accessible school in a neighboring state. And he declared impossible the erection of such universities as there are elsewhere, in Nevada. But today students come from many other states to Nevada University, where there is greenness and freshness. After his trip across the brown plains and hills, the returning student and the prospective one must find the U. of N. campus a very restful place.

The University of Nevada probably has a larger proportion of its state's population enrolled as students than has any other state university.

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The Mackay School of Mines

EVADA is one of that group of Western states which covers a tremendous area. One hundred and ten thousand square miles of valley, mountain and desert are within the broad sweep of her boundaries. She is sixth largest of all the states in area.

Yet, within this tremendous expanse there live only 78,000 persons, scattered over the great territory in mines, on ranches, upon the range and in the towns. Forty-five cities in the United States contain more residents than does the State of Nevada.

But of these scattered Nevadans, one in every 150 is a student in residence at the State University. In the college year just closed, 521 of the 855 students enrolled in the only higher educa

tion institution in the state, were Nevadans.

If the student body were entirely of residents of the state, from small and isolated communities, an undesirable provincialism might result. This has not happened. A healthy cosmopolitan and democratic spirit exists. There are students enrolled from every county within the state. Some of these must travel a thousand miles from their homes to reach the University, and they pass many other colleges on the way. Twenty-two other states are represented in the enrollment, as well as two territories. California, with some hundreds, leads the outside commonwealths, and from the Golden state forty-four of her fifty-eight counties are repre

sented in the Nevada University. The school is a true outgrowth of the interests of the state it represents. It is a Nevada institution for Nevadans, although it does welcome a certain number of students from outside the state's borders. Realizing this and recognizing the advantages of a small institution, the board of regents, governing body of the University, has limited the enrollment of those from the outside the state to fifty per cent of the number of students from Nevada. This mean that for some years there will not be more than 1,000 regularly enrolled students at the University.

Small as she is, in comparison with such great state universities as that of California, Nevada's big neighbor to the west, Nevada is, nevertheless, a very complete little school. The University includes three colleges and seven schools.

Of these probably the best known and most representative is the Mackay School of Mines of the College of Engineering. Nevada has been pre-eminently a mining state and the important part she has played in the life of the Pacific West is centered around her great campus-Virginia City, Tonopah, Goldfield and others. That there should have been emphasis on courses in mining from the very first years of the University and that there should have been developed the strongest mining school in the West is only natural.

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HE MACKAY SCHOOL of Mines is a memorial to one of the most fortunate of the pioner miners of the West, John W. Mackay, who shared in the enormous wealth of the Great Bonanza of the Comstock Lode. The building in which the school is house is one of the numerous gifts from his wife and from his son, Clarence H. Mackay, president of the Postal Telegraph and Cable Company, who now resides in New York City. This structure, which is in the colonial style, was designed by the late Stanford White, modeled after the University of Virginia building style. By it the plan under which all subsequent buildings have been erected and all future ones will be was determined.

Before its shrubbery-set columns stands the greatest art treasure of the University and the expression of the spirit which has made the institution what it is "The Man with the Upturned Face," Gutzon Borglum's statue of John W. Mackay. The pioneer miner is represented clad in the rough

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garb of his work, holding a piece of the Great Bonanza ore in one hand and grasping a pick with the other. His eyes are lifted toward the peaks of the mountains about Virginia City, where he dug a fortune from the rock. It is the spirit of always looking up that has led the University through fifty years to its present high status.

The School of Mines building and the statue are not the only means by which Clarence Mackay and his mother have sought to express their debt to the state. Together they form the greatest benefactor of the University. The Mackay Quadrangle, grass-carpeted, tree-shaded and paralleled by red brick walls, is another Mackay gift. One of the best athletic fields in the West is Mackay Field at the University of Nevada, with its concrete grandstand and artistic training quarters. These, again, are the gifts of the Mackays.

At the semi-centennial celebration in May Mr. Mackay announced plans further substantially to increase his gifts to the University in the near future.

The citizens of the state have been

loyal in their support of their state school for higher education, the only place in Nevada such training can be had. Aside from the Mackays, the University is without substantial benefactors and the colleges and schools have been supported by moneys from the state taxes. Again, in that its material resources have come from within the state, the University is typically Nevadan.

The government of Nevada's university is more democratic than that of most commonwealths. Its control is vested in a board of five regents elected by the citizens of the state from among the citizens of the state. It is believed that this plan is more in keeping with our form of government than is the appointment of regents by the governor, which is the custom in many other states.

Although mining still contributes greatly to the industry of Nevada, its future is thought to be agricultural. The University early recognized this and for many years has been turning out technically trained Nevada agriculturists. This work has had its effect on the state. With the development of irri

gated sections, such as the Newlands project, has come the discovery that Nevada is peculiarly suited for the growth of certain farm products. Although cattle and sheep continue to range the great open spaces of the state and keep Nevada in high rank among the stockraising areas, there have developed chicken raising, the breeding of dairy cattle, and the production of vegetables and the ordinary farm crops.

In the University, for the training of students, there is the College of Agriculture, with its School of Home Economics and its School of Agriculture. For use in training students and for expérimentation is the University Farm of 213 acres, a few miles from the campus. To benefit those not in attendance at the University, there is a strong agricultural service. This is centered in the Agricultural Experiment Station, which conducts research into agricultural problems facing the Nevada ruralist. Through the Agricultural Extension Division instruction and practical demonstration in agriculture and home economics is given in every county in

the state.

President Walter E. Clark

The service to the state as a whole does not stop with the agricultural divisions. Within the University, as the nucleus of the education program of the state, are centered all public service headquarters.

Available to the miner are two services which have modernized and developed the mining industry in the state until in many respects it is the most scientific anywhere to be found. Particularly for the prospector is the State Mining Laboratory at which any citizen of Nevada may have ores and minerals taken from within the boundaries of the state analyzed without charge. For the miner in general a corps of trained metallurgists, mineralogists and chemists. is continually at work in the United States Bureau of Mines Rare and Precious Metals Experiment Station, operated on the campus in connection with the Univeristy. The present problem at the bureau concerns the possibility of developing more commercial uses for silver, a problem vital to the state. The bureau is responsible for many improvements in ore milling methods valuable to the Nevada mines.

Working on problems which will benefit Nevada is the University Engineering Experiment Station, recently established.

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O protect the health of the state there has been organized the State Hygienic Laboratory, which provides facilities for the diagnosis and control of infectious diseases. Further to insure the physical well-being of Nevadans is the Pure Food and Drugs Laboratory, in connection with which is the department of weights and measures. The State Veterinary Control Service has as its purpose to keep domesticated animals free from disease. It has been active in seeing that Nevada is uninfected by the foot and mouth disease.

The Mackay School of Mines, while serving the engineering interests of the state more directly than other divisions of the College of Engineering is but one department of that college. Others which make the college complete are the schools of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

Education in the arts and sciences, the backbone of all specialized training, is the most popular in the University of Nevada. Consequently, the College of Arts and Science has the largest enrollment. Within that college professional training in business, journalism, chemistry, teaching and other lines is offered.

The science of educating the youth of the state and country has a special divi

sion, which has had much to do with the high educational standard of the state, in spite of the obstacle of sparse and scattered population. This training is given in the School of Education and Nevada State Normal School, where teachers are prepared for grade school and high school instruction.

In the relation of the students and of students and teachers, the University of Nevada is again typical of the spirit of Nevada and of the West. In it is an informality, a comradeship, not lacking in respect, that is productive of inspiration and interest. This is due, in part, to the smallness of the institution, which throws everyone, whether he will or not, in contact with his neighbor. In the classroom the spirit expresses itself in small classes, where a friendly, informal attitude is encouraged. The proportion of teachers to students is larger than in most institutions, giving opportunity for more individual attention.

One of the greatest struggles has been to raise the University from less than a preparatory school to the academic standards of the best universities in the country. This was accomplished in 1920, when Nevada was placed on the approved list of the Association of American Universities. Since then standards have gone up still more, until today no student can enter Nevada from outside the state who is not prepared to enter the best universities in the country.

Very far from recognition as a university was that mythical University of Nevada that a young man fresh from Princeton University, D. R. Sessions, came into the wilds of the West to take charge of. Young Sessions found a single building, erected by the people of Elko county, standing in the desert near the town of that name, on land donated by the Central Pacific (now Southern Pacific) Railway Company. There were no students, no faculty members, not courses of study-nothing but a building known as "the University."

It had taken the state many years to reach even this humble starting point. In the fall of 1864 Nevada was permitted to become a state, mainly because its strength was needed to support the Union in the Civil War. The Nevada constitution makers, meeting in that year, provided for a state university and placed its control in a popularly-elected board of regents.

For nearly a decade the University of Nevada existed only in the constitution of the state. There was little need for a school of higher education. Early in 1873, however, after meetings of the board of regents of the mythical institution, it was decided to establish an actual university. The legislature acted accordingly and the Elko site was selected.

(Continued on page 416)

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