JUNE 6, 1942
WASHINGTON, Friday—I came into Washington early this morning to find a beautiful day. Since there is a new regulation which asks passengers to leave the train by 7:30, one of the officials of the company greeted me on my way out. He smiled and said: "At least, Mrs. Roosevelt, we do not have to hurry you off the train. You are always among the first to get up!" Whenever I am up early, I think how foolish we are not to get up with the birds in the summer.
The first thing I came across in my mail this morning was a statement writtenby Dr. Remsen Bird of Occidental College, on the present situation facing many of our colleges. With so many students going into the Army and Navy, graduate schools are going to suffer. Yet, it seems to me that in one way or another, we must preserve our higher educational systems fostered by cities and states. We must also aid independent colleges, which are valuable just because they are independent of government.
One small college in Iowa, Iowa Wesleyan College of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, is the oldest college west of the Mississippi. It is actually older than the state of Iowa and will celebrate its hundreth anniversary on June 8th. It is facing again a crisis it has faced before. During the Civil War the number of enlistments among the students was so great, it was almost forced to close its doors. The Spanish-American War and the last World War presented similar problems.
You will remember seeing in the paper not long ago that perhaps the state of Iowa had the largest percentage of men in our forces in the Philippines. In any case, many of this little college's graduates were there and some have not been heard of for many months.
Iowa Wesleyan seems to breed adventurous young people, perhaps because the college itself rather likes adventure. It was the first college ever to confer an educational degree upon a woman. This was given to Mrs. Frances W. Berglehas, who is now living in Seattle, Wash., and is 97 years old, a graduate of the class of 1862!
Somehow I think history will repeat itself and Iowa Wesleyan College will weather the storm. So will all our other institutions which are really needed and doing a constructive piece of work. We citizens must recognize the need for their work and put our shoulders to the wheel. A few people may not be able to carry the financial burdens, so the interest we all take in higher education must increase.
I am just starting out for my second visit to the unit personnel section of the Army at Hains Point. Later, a few people will join me at lunch. This afternoon I have several appointments and there will be some people at dinner.