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Retirement

James Burrill Angell
The Michigan Alumnus


Dr. Angell's official
 retirement from the
 Presidency, which 
took place with char
acteristic unostentation, the first of 
this month, marks definitely the close
 of an era, not in the history of this
 University alone, but in the history
 of American education. His years 
of service have bridged the gap between the old and the new in the Mid
dle West. He came to his life work 
at Michigan in his prime, when the
 success or failure of the revolutionary 
idea of education by the state was 
still unsettled and Michigan was almost the only effective representative
 of the "Prussian" idea.

In the four de
cades of Dr. Angell's service the state
 universities have become as effective 
as the privately endowed institutions, 
 and they are entering, equally with 
others, upon an era of expansion the 
limits of which no one can foresee. 
 How much the state universities of the
 West owe to James B. Angell, through 
his services as the President of Mich
igan, and as the Dean of all State
 University Presidents, no one can say. 


Although his services to the Univer
sity in their multifarious aspects have 
been recounted many times, this 
is surely a proper place to give
 again a few of the facts which sig
nalize his administration. His first 
speech at the University was deliv
ered as the Commencement oration of 
the Class of 1871 and he took up the 
duties of President in October of the 
same year. When he became Presi
dent the University had granted 3,364
 degrees, while during his administra
tion 22,009 degrees were granted: 
23,517 persons altogether have received degrees from the University. 
 The number of students in the University during the year 1870-71 was 
1,100, considerably less than a fourth 
of the present attendance of 5,223
 students.

The income of the Univer
sity at that time was $105,000, now it 
is $1,150,000. When President An
gell came the Faculty numbered thirty-five altogether while now it is near
ly four hundred, more than that, in
 fact, if the administrative officers were 
counted. The central wing of Uni
versity Hall was completed the year 
of his arrival, and this, with the Old
 Medical Building, the four original
 professors' houses, a small chemical
 laboratory and the Law Building, 
 formed the University of that day. 


But more than this material in
crease, it has been Dr. Angell's privilege to carry to completion many 
of the details of the future University seen by Chancellor Tappan, his
 great predecessor, and to inaugurate 
or else foster many departures in the
 educational world, which were tried
 and found worthy at Michigan before 
they were accepted at large. The first
 women were graduated from this Uni
versity — the first women to be grad
uated from any University — the year
 he came, and he has never wavered in
 his belief in the wisdom of the step. 


Under his administration the prestige 
of the University has grown enormously, and it has been his constant 
sympathy with the highest educational
 ideals, tempered, as needs be in the
 head of a state university, with kind
ly and practical diplomacy, which 
has helped to make the University
 of the present.

His resignation
 brings us to the final break with the 
old regime, for Dr. Angell has stood
 for some years almost the sole repre
sentative of the brilliant Faculty which 
greeted him thirty-nine years ago this 
month. It is with tenderest feelings 
in our hearts for the man who for
 forty years has stood for the Univer
sity of Michigan in the eyes of the
 world, that we wish him, in behalf of 
the thousands of alumni of the University who have known and loved
 him, all the happiness and enjoyment
 life can offer him in his well earned
 rest.