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A Lever Long EnoughA History of Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science Since 1864$
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Robert McCaughey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166881

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166881.001.0001

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A Corner in the University 1889–1929

A Corner in the University 1889–1929

(p.55) 3 A Corner in the University 1889–1929
A Lever Long Enough

Robert McCaughey

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on developments at Columbia University's Schools of Mining, Engineering and Chemistry during the years 1889–1929, when the university underwent transformation from a small, provincial, classics-focused college under the “church influence” of George Templeton Strong's era to the thoroughly secular and comprehensive national university recognizable today. In 1900 Columbia was the largest and richest university in America, and its president, Nicholas Murray Butler, was the nation's most recognizable academic leader. For all the promise of a prosperous future for Columbia, while some of its schools were to prosper, others—including engineering—found their place in the university increasingly circumscribed and even contingent. This chapter considers the reorganization of Columbia under Seth Low, the university's eleventh president, and Low's dispute with Charles Frederick Chandler, dean of the School of Mines. It also examines the controversial “3/3 plan” implemented by the Columbia School of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry as well as the Columbia trustees' preoccupation in the early 1900s with “the Hebrew problem”.

Keywords:   trustees, reorganization, Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler, engineering, Seth Low, Charles Frederick Chandler, School of Mines, 3/3 plan, Hebrew problem

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