University of Virginia Library

8734. UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, Elective studies.—

I am not fully informed
of the practices at Harvard, but there is one
from which we shall certainly vary, although
it has been copied, I believe, by nearly every
college and academy in the United States. That
is, the holding the students all to one prescribed
course of reading, and disallowing exclusive
application to those branches only which are
to qualify them for the particular vocations
to which they are destined. We shall, on the
contrary, allow them uncontrolled choice in
the lectures they shall choose to attend, and
require elementary qualification only, and sufficient
age. Our institution will proceed on
the principle of doing all the good it can without
consulting its own pride or ambition; of
letting every one come and listen to whatever
he thinks may improve the condition of his
mind.—
To George Ticknor. Washington ed. vii, 300.
(M. 1823)