Delivered: June 1946
Your annalist has been on this Hill at Commencement for more than half of the intervening Commencements since 1896 and accordingly is in a position to give the testimony of a competent witness, speaking from personal knowledge, as to changing conditions over these many years.
The Class of 1896 had on its list at various times 52 men. Thirty-two were graduated at 24 are still alive. Thirteen are here today.
We have had representatives of good and high repute in science, in the ministry, in teaching, in business and in the law.
We have made a record in that we have had four members of the Board of Trustees, each a loyal and efficient member of that important body. One of those trustees recently died, leaving a most helpful sum of money to the College; three continue their services to the College on the board.
I should like to report that we have had sons of more members of 1896 at Hamilton but the list contains only eight men, sons of five of our members: Alison, three; Scovel, one; Thomas, one; Bacon, two; and your annalist, one. So far as my list shows, however, all of the 1896 sons have come to Hamilton and the number is not due to lack of loyalty.
Fifty years have brought many changes to this country and to the College. Some of them are good. This country 50 years ago was a country distinguished by its American traditions and still under a democratic government of, by, and for the people. At present, and we hope temporarily, this country is governed by a few labor leaders who have no thought of the good of labor as a whole, but mainly are devoted to increasing their own personal power and profit.
This College 50 years ago had a small physical equipment but it had that most essential asset, a group of great teachers and great souls on its faculty.
Old Greek, who spoke, thought and lived dactylic hexameters, a charming and delightful character of great influence upon the student body.
Brandt, one of the great scholars of all time in the field of modern language and philology.
Terrett, a great thinker and a great teacher.
Morrill, one of the great biologists of all time.
President Stryker, an individualist, a leader and an inspiration.
And, to many of us, the most beloved of them all, “Square Root,” a great teacher, guide, counselor and friend of all undergraduates and alumni. This College owes much to him and his influence will be sharply marked upon this hillside.
There are others whom we cannot forget: Fitch, Saunders, Squires, Scollard and Shepard.
The Class of 1896 pays its matured tribute to all of these.
Now there are many changes. Our physical equipment is, as you see it, of fine efficiency and on the way to being still more modern and scientific. Our College output is an asset to the nation in these trouble times of uneconomic labor-leader domination.
And now, in place of North, Brandt, Stryker and Root, we have, if we are to awake, a president from Groton and Harvard.
We, members of the Class of 1896, with our matured and intelligent knowledge of life, and of men and events, to which I have already adverted with pardonable pride, have the strongest admiration, respect and affection for our new president.
Hamilton, we of 1896 are proud of you.
Hamilton, we of 1896 love you.
Down to the last surviving member on this earth we shall be faithful. And beyond, even from the dim unknown, we shall send by whatever wave may pass the spiritual stratosphere, our messages of cheer and devotion.
March on Hamilton! Hamilton, march on!
Frederic Parkman Warfield was born in Prattsburgh, N.Y., and prepared for College at the nearby Canandaigua Academy. While at Hamilton, he was a member of Sigma Phi and graduated as valedictorian of his class. He attended the Columbian, now George Washington University School of Law, where he received the bachelor of laws degree in 1899. He then served as examiner at the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C. In 1901, he opened a law office in New York City. He served his alma mater on the Board of Trustees.