NOVEMBER 16, 1948
LONDON, Monday—I have had a delightful, if crowded, weekend in London. I had looked forward to it for a long time and was very glad that I could make it.
Saturday morning we started out from London to drive to Oxford, where I was presented with an honorary degree in civil law by Lord Halifax. It was very cloudy and foggy, but the countryside was lovely with the soft browns and reds of autumn.
Upon arriving at Oxford, we went immediately to Wadham College where I chatted with a group of young American students who were studying here. Most of them, I found, were hoping to teach in many different fields—history, literature, law, etc.
I was interested to find how very enthusiastic they were of the things they had access to in Oxford—many of which would not ordinarily be available to them in the U.S.
Age and tradition of the school may mean less physical comfort to these students but it adds greatly to the interest of their work.
Time always runs too fast on these occasions and I was sorry we had to move on in accordance with our very tight schedule.
We lunched at All Souls College.
This college is very interesting to me since it is made up for the most part of students who have been granted fellowships. Some of them taking extended post graduate work in recognition of academic achievements or as a result of particular promise in some special field. They can go on indefinitely with their work, whether it is science, politics or literary. They always have their rooms and are sure of stimulating companionship. I can recall only one college in the United States which has anything like this.
Most of my information regarding this fine school came from Sir Campbell Stuart, who was and still is a student there.
After lunch, I donned a beautiful scarlet robe and black hat and took my place in the academic procession. We marched into the Sheldonian Theater, where the convocation ceremonies took place.
Lord Halifax presented the honorary civil law degree to me in glowing terms.
* * *
I was particularly impressed with the many ex-GIs who are living under very uncomfortable conditions in order to study here.
It is remarkable what young people will do to acquire added education. And I am sure that those who go back to teaching in the United States will have broader vision and a great deal more to give their students.
In my crowded tour I had talked with students from nearly every state in the union, and it was quite obvious that the influence of Oxford had spread extensively in the United States and promised to attract even more American students into its grand old halls.
I chuckled at hearing of the delightful old British gentleman who spoke of some of England's newer colleges, "only five hundred years old."