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Ld3668m31969 00034

acquiring a thorough knowledge of the various branches of literature, science and the arts." The University was to consist of six colleges: the College of Ancient and Modern Literature, Mathematics and the Natural Sciences; the College of Agriculture; the College of Law; the College of Medicine; the College of of Practical Science, Civil Engineering and Mechanics; and the College of Fine Arts. The latter, however, was to be established only when the income from the University's endowment reached one hundred thousand dollars annually, Control of the University was placed in the hands of the Board of Regents, whose twelve members included nine elected by the legislature. The remaining three positions were held by the governor, who was president of the Board, the state superintendent of public instruction, and the chancellor of the University. From the first judicial district the governor appointed^2 John C. Elliot of Otoe County, Robert W. Furnas of Nemaha County, and David R. Dungan of Pawnee County. Representatives on the Board from the second district were the Reverend J. B. Maxfield of Cass County. William B. Dale of Platte County, William G. Olinger of Burt County, and F. H. Longley of Washington County represented the third judicial district. Regarding this first group of regents, C. H. Gere commented, "A great weight of responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the Board of regents, and . . . upon their action . . . depends much the future prosperity and the intellectual status of the institution." Editor Gere reminded the people of Nebraska that as yet few state universities had fulfilled the expectations of the people. Most of them in fact lagged far behind private colleges. Diligent care and constant support would be needed if the University of Nebraska was to achieve the intellectual standing which its most outspoken supporters sought for it.

Few of the regents were overly opitimistic. All appeared to understand that a great task lay before them. Of immediate concern was a decision regarding the aims of the University. Among interested Nebraskans a few wanted to stress the practical approach, with a view to producing the professional people so urgently needed by a frontier society. Others believed that the University would do well to concentrate its efforts upon the production of stalwart citizens well versed in the history and traditions of the nation. Some felt that the single most important function of the University was to exist as a beacon to future immigrants. To say the least, these broad and very general ideals did not indicate a well-defined educational policy, but the circumstances which attended the founding of the University left little time for philosophical discussion. There were many, many practical problems at hand that needed immediate attention. The philosophizing would have to wait, and in the meantime the University would be erected upon the guidelines provided in the Charter. The impact of Nebraska's frontier experience would in time bring modifications in the ideas and structure of the University, but these changes could not have been predicted in 1869. In all honesty it must be noted that the larger number of Nebraskans, striving to make a living on the prairies, probably did not even know that the University of Nebraska had been chartered. Those who did may have thought that it would be a long trip for their children from a sod house to the ivy-covered halls of the University.

The Controversy over University Hall

The ease with which the Charter passed through the legislature was not a portent of the University's immediate future. Almost from the outset the insti
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2: The first Board members, for the years 1869-1871, were appointed by the Governor. The first elected Board of Regents held office from 1871 to 1873. The incumbent governor was always ex officio president until 1876.

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