MARCH 14, 1940
KOKOMO, Ind., Tuesday—We reached Lansing, Mich., yesterday afternoon in time for me to have a chat with the Democratic vice-chairman of the State Central Committee, Mrs. Belen, and the head of the Eleanor Roosevelt League, Mrs. DeVitis. Then we had an hour drive around the campus of Michigan State College.
These wonderful state universities are a constant surprise and a matter of great pride to me. This college has the distinction of being the one where agriculture was first taught for college credits. Many of the people who have made names for themselves in other parts of the country, received their education here. Mr. Liberty Hyde Bailey of Cornell fame, and Mr. Ulysses Prentiss Hedrick, of the Geneva Experiment Station in New York State, both came from this university.
Michigan State College has evidently taken every advantage which the Federal Government offered it. The number of buildings which have gone up during the past few years is really extraordinary. They have a perfect little music building, an atheletic building which will be the envy of many universities, dormitories and many other buildings.
They tell me that a boy or girl can go through the university on $500 a year. They have made good use of NYA grants and the college also gives a great many work opportunities because, like nearly all state universities, a great many young people work their way through and, what is more, live on bread and milk to do it.
I did not have time to visit any WPA or NYA projects, but the results of one of the NYA projects was brought to me at the hotel after my lecture. It was a delicious smoked turkey which the NYA directors from Wisconsin had taken with them. They are training boys in both Wisconsin and Michigan in work which may augment the cash incomes on farms on marginal land.
When we awakened in Chicago this morning, we discovered that Illinois had a sleet storm during the night. Trees and shrubs and winter grasses in the field are encased in ice. It is very beautiful to look at, but not so pleasant when you have to drive about. We went slowly through the streets of Chicago to our breakfast at the Stevens Hotel and now we are on our way to Kokomo, Ind.
Everywhere I go I am hearing more about the project which the professional and service department of WPA is planning for the week of April 22nd to 27th. They are hoping for twenty million visitors to their projects during that week. They will open the week with a twenty-five cent dinner where they hope sponsors, workers and staff members will sit down together and listen to a national broadcast and prepare for the coming week, in which every community, we hope, will become acquainted with what is getting through the work done on WPA.