ESTABLISHED, 1783 RE-ORGANIZED, 1833 REASONS FOR ABANDONMENT IN 1869 LOSS OF STUDENTS AND SCHOLARSHIP ADVANTAGE OF SCHOOL TO STUDENTS AND COLLEGE RE-ESTABLISHED, 1877 EMORY HALL SUCCESS.
AT the establishment of the College, the advantages of a Preparatory School, in connection with it and under the more immediate care of the faculty, were recognized, and the organization of such a school was the first work of the Trustees. Throughout the first half century of the College, the school continued in existence, and its prosperity was as earnestly considered as that of the College itself. In 1833, the first act of the re-organized Board of Trustees, under the Methodist Church, was the opening of a Preparatory School, and it formed a prominent feature of the re-organized institution, and contributed largely to its prosperity in numbers, and, perhaps, even more to thoroughness in scholarship. Men of first class ability were put in charge of it. Among them occur the names of Bishops Scott and Bowman, Doctor George R. Crooks, Stephen A.
Roszel, and others of eminence. At one time the experiment was made, of connecting it even more intimately with the College, by making its principal a member of the faculty; with a certain amount of work in the College classes, but it was soon abandoned, as unsatisfactory.
The objectionable feature of the school was that the younger pupils occupied rooms in the college buildings, under the same statutory regulations as the students in the college classes, and no distinction in discipline or restraints imposed, could be made between them. This objection increased with the gradual change in college discipline to less rigidity in form and surveillance in details. In 1869, the school had also become an expense to the College, mainly by the reception of scholarships for tuition, contrary to the original intent. Other schools, of lower than collegiate grades, established by the Church, being, at that time, in successful operation, the Preparatory School was abandoned, with the expectation that these schools might , furnish even more than the usual supply of students to repair losses by graduation, &c. The result did not justify the expectation. The numbers entering College were not increased. Many young men, impatient of the restraints of school, and anxious to enter upon the active pursuits of life, and, perhaps, even more averse to a change of school associations already formed, as well as to the renewed expense, preferred to remain content with the lower curriculum, and never found their way to any college. The average preparation of the applicants was also found to be less thorough. Many young men, with entrance to college in view finding in the seminary course much that was not required for admission to college, preferred to prepare upon the required branches alone, with such opportunities as they were able to command, not always of the best, whilst others applied directly from the high schools of the State, well prepared generally, in every thing but the ancient lan-
guages. The alternative was presented of admitting such applicants, with the expectation that they would make good their deficiencies by extra work, or of rejecting them, with the advice to go elsewhere for further preparation. Whilst some of the first class, more mature in mind, with well formed habits of study, could manage to assume a regular position in the class by earnest application, they always labored under serious disadvantages. Few of the latter class were known to return to renew their applications. Most of both of these classes would have cheerfully acquisced in a recommendation of the Faculty to spend a year in further preparation in a school having some connection with the College, and near at hand, and the standard of scholarship would thus have been more fully sustained, as well as the numbers increased.
In such a school, too, both economy in time and money in preparation for college can be promoted, as well as thoroughness of preparation. It is unreasonable to expect that seminaries, deriving most of their large patronage from those who expect to be satisfied with a general education, below that of the college, should adapt their courses of study to the wants of the comparatively few who intend to enter college subsequently. The result is, that much of the time of the student must, necessarily, be spent on branches not required for admission to college, but which are more fully treated in a college course, to the curtailment of that spent upon studies purely preparatory to admission to college. So impressed were many of the friends of the College with facts of this nature, that the establishment of such a school, near enough to the College to be under its direct supervision, was formally recommended by Conference resolutions of the Church, and the Trustees, in the summer of 1877, authorized the faculty to inaugurate it. The question of a suitable building seemed providentially solved. The two congregations of Methodists had agreed to unite as one in
the new Centenary Church, and Emory Chapel, a tasteful edifice, in which the College was already pecuniarily interested, was relieved of a debt resting on it by liberal hearted friends of the College, and presented to the College. The building is every thing that is necessary for the purpose, and, besides, contains a large audience room, used for various society exhibitions, commencement exercises, &c. which, by re-seating with moveable settees, could easily be converted into a hall for social purposes in connection with commencement occasions.
The School has been in successful operation for two years, and has already proved of great benefit to the College, and to the young men who have attended it, whilst by reason of its exclusive attention to the preparation of students for college, it has not, in any appreciable degree, come in conflict with the other seminaries, which are regarded as tributary to the College, and from which students are admitted to the Freshman Class, upon the certificate of their instructors, without further examination.