SEPTEMBER 16, 1949
WESTBROOK, Conn., Thursday—The Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion met recently for its tenth annual discussion at Columbia University to take stock of what they had accomplished up to date and to review their achievements.
Five Americans at the meeting were awarded citations because they had been "pre-eminent in the advancement of civilization through higher education, improvement of inter-group relations and the wide interpretation and dissemination of scholarly and scientific ideas." It was the first time the conference had made such awards. The Board of Directors voted to mark their tenth anniversary by giving these citations and the first vice president, Dr. Lyman Bryson, presented them.
Those chosen for the awards were: Dr. James Bryant Conant, Dr. Frank Porter Graham, Dr. Robert Maynard Hutchins, the Rev. John LaFarge, S. J., and Arthur Hays Sulzberger.
This was an interesting choice, and it was to be expected that those chosen would come primarily from the educational fields.
In the citation read on Dr. Conant there are certain things that stand out. "He came to his wartime duties after deep reflection on the implications of a democratic society, and he was one of the first men of high position in the country to state our duty to oppose Nazism by force. He has returned to academic life with a still more urgent concern to foster the equality of opportunity without which democracy fails."
The sentence I like most in the citation given Dr. Graham is: "He has demonstrated anew that human enmity is unproductive, that good will is rich as gold, and that humane faith and works to match are the secret of our national progress."
We should remember and be grateful to Dr. Hutchins because they said of him that one of the reasons he deserved this citation was "for his pronouncements on the necessity of education as a basis for democracy, on the character which that education should have, and on the importance of making education accessible to all, subject to no limitation except their ability to profit by it; for his constant reminder of the importance of quality and content in education rather than numbers and adventitious interests or vocational objectives; and for his pioneering effort to reorganize and rationalize the periods and sequences of educational units from primary school to college."
Father LaFarge, Associate Editor of "America," was cited for playing "an important role in a number of movements to promote social justice, including the Rural Life Program, the Co-operative Movement, the Cause of International Peace, and to improve human relations. For almost 40 years he has been actively interested in the promotion of better race relations in this country."
In giving the citation to Mr. Sulzberger it was brought out that "for 14 years he has directed The New York Times. To the structure highly erected by Adolph Ochs he has added new stature and new influence."
It is good for all of us when such a group as this gets together. That is why I wanted to emphasize this particular meeting and recall to us all the service of these men.