BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION CLERICAL REPRESENTATION PRINCIPAL
EX-OFFICIO PRESIDENT V ACATION OF SEATS CHANGE IN TENURE OF OFFICE.
THE success of a college depends to so great a degree upon the body from which emanate all measures connected with it, and in which the decision of all matters concerning its interests is finally lodged, that the manner in which it is constituted and perpetuated is of the highest interest. In these particulars institutions differ very widely, and most of them have, at times, experienced changes, with some real or fancied advantage in view. The original charter of Dickinson College placed it "under the management, direction, and government of a number of trustees, not exceeding forty, or quorum or board thereof." This quorum, in a subsequent section, was fixed at nine members, but to dispose of property, required the assent of at least seven. The forty individuals named as trustees in the act of incorporation, and their successors, were empowered to fill vacancies, as they might occur, by new elections, and thus perpetuate the body, with the restriction that the number of clergymen, one third of the number, should not be diminished, and that neither the principal nor professors, whilst they remain such, should be capable of the office of trustee. In 1826, the first restriction was altered so as to prevent more than one third, at any time, from being clergymen , and in 1834, the
principal was made ex-officio president of the board of trustees, with all the rights of any other member; at the same time the discipline of the College was vested in the faculty, they being held responsible for the proper exercise of it, and an omission in the original charter, of any provision for the removal of trustees who neglected the duties of the office, was remedied, by giving the board power to declare the seats of members vacant who shall have been absent from the meetings of the board for two years, or who shall, from any cause, be rendered incapable for one year, of attending to the duties of the office.
Within the past ten years, many suggestions have been made of modifications in the mode of election, and in the tenure of office of members of the board, looking mainly to a more intimate organic connection of the patronizing Conferences and of the Alumni with the Institution. As a result, the Board, with great cordiality, extended an invitation to the official visitors, appointed from year to year, from the Conferences, and five visitors, appointed by the Alumni Association, to be present at its sessions and to deliberate with it, and directed that said visitors be notified of the resolution and times of meeting. Notices are accordingly sent, as to members of the Board, and visitors have generally been in attendance, and taken part in the discussions. Those from the Alumni Association are elected by that body for five years, the term of one visitor expiring each year. A complete revision of the charter was made at the sessions of 1878 and 1879. The subject of Alumni representation in the Board was fully considered and strongly advocated by some, but it seemed to be the judgment of the majority that it was not expedient, especially in view of the fact that the Board, at present, is largely constituted of Alumni. Certainly, the College is largely indebted for valuable counsel, as well as substantial aid, to many who are not Alumni. The most marked change, however, which is to go into effect at the
meeting in 1879, is the limitation of the tenure of office of mem bers of the Board to four years, and the election of one fourth of the Board every year. There seems to have been, practically, no dissent on the part of members of the Board of Trustees, or of the Conferences, to this change, whilst, by many, it is regarded as full of promise for increased vigor and interest in the administration of the College.