University of Nebraska had to be a traditionalist, since he was first and foremost a public relations man. His position in the state would have been untenable had he paraded as the purveyor of new and daring ideas in education. While frontiersmen might upon occasion embrace radical political and economic ideas, their educational philosphy was notably conservative. Benton was not one to go against their preferences.
Late in the summer of 1871, just a few weeks before classes began in the University, Benton went on a trip to the East. During the tedious railroad journey, the Chancellor, according to a frequently repeated story, mused over the University and its philosophical basis. Finally he drew a piece of paper from his coat pocket and began to sketch a seal for the University which would embody his educational ideals and objectives. In the center of the seal he drew an open book, symoblic of the library arts. Around it he lettered a Latin phrase, Literis dedicata et omnibus artibus (Dedicated to Letters and All the Arts). Around this central figure Benton placed the symbols of the colleges and schools which he hoped the University would in time include: a sheaf of wheat for the College of Agriculturel; a locomotivve for the College of Mechanical Engineering; the scales of justice for the College of Law; surveyors' instruments for the College of Civil Engineering; the American flag for the military department; a mortar and pestle for the College of Medicine; and an artist's palette for the Fine Arts. In this dramatic and permanent form Benton set down the basic structure of the University of Nebraska.
Finances and Administration
The most pressing of the problems confronting the regents and the Chancellor were the need to determine the University's financial base and to devise a reational administrative system. The financfial situation in particular caused grievous trouble, and much of the University's history, then as later, is told in the perpetual battle of the budget.
Under the terms of the Charter, the University received an annual income derived from a one-mill levy against property in the state, but many believed that
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