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Photo Friday: The “Shaping of an Educated Heart”

Black and white photograph of Ernest L. Boyer receiving an honorary degree from Fordham University. - BCA

Black and white photograph of Ernest L. Boyer receiving an honorary degree from Fordham University. – BCA

Last week’s Photo Friday showcased Ernie Boyer’s many, many honorary degrees — and the decorative quilt creatively constructed from them!

This week’s post zeroes in on one of those honorary degrees — a doctorate conferred by Fordham University in New York City in 1973 — and the speech Boyer gave at its acceptance.

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Boyer, Franklin, and the Social Purpose of American Education: A Recap of Dr. Ira Harkavy’s 2015 Boyer Award Acceptance Speech

Dr. Ira Harkavy, recipient of the 2015 Ernest L. Boyer Award from the New American Colleges & Universities, delivers his acceptance speech last week.

Dr. Ira Harkavy, recipient of the 2015 Ernest L. Boyer Award from the New American Colleges & Universities, delivers his acceptance speech last week.

by Cynthia A. Wells

Last week, I was in Washington, D.C., for the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges & Universities. And as we mentioned on the blog last week, the AAC&U meeting was the forum in which Dr. Ira Harkavy of the University of Pennsylvania received his much-deserved 2015 Ernest L. Boyer Award from the New American Colleges and Universities (ANAC). I was privileged to attend Dr. Harkavy’s acceptance speech. Here’s a quick summary.

In accepting the Boyer Award, Dr. Harkavy delivered an incredibly thoughtful and inspirational address. His words interwove the history of higher education, the words of Ernie Boyer, the founding of the University of Pennsylvania, and the mission and work of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships as he laid out his argument for the connected university, an institution that lives out a commitment to the broad social impacts of higher education.

Harkavy asserted a key idea that unites the work of Ernest L. Boyer and Benjamin Franklin: “That core idea,” he said, “is this: Service is the basis for their revolutionary vision of higher education”. Harkavy continued,

The purpose of higher education is service to society, for the progressive betterment of the human condition. And to realize that purpose, Franklin in 1749 and Boyer two hundred and forty-five years later in 1994, each wrote in effect proposals to create the New American College. Franklin broke with tradition by founding the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) as deliberately unaffiliated from any religious denomination and therefore radically different from existing institutions of higher education in America or Europe. The College of Philadelphia was ‘dedicated to the advancement of scientific learning and knowledge for the betterment of humanity.’

While Boyer, a 1948 graduate of Messiah Bible College (now Messiah College) had a radically different religious orientation than the deist Franklin, he could not have agreed more with Franklin’s view that American higher education had a social mission. And for Boyer that mission specifically was realizing America’s founding democratic purpose. In 1994, in what has been extraordinarily influential in forming the New American College, he wrote: ‘Higher education and the larger purposes of American society have been from the very first inextricably intertwined.’

Warm congratulations to Ira Harvavy for this well-deserved honor! Thank you for your wonderful address that was such a meaningful tribute to the Netter Center, to the good work of ANAC, and to the ongoing and generative influence of Ernest L. Boyer.

Scholarship Spotlight: Themed Issue of Christian Higher Education Journal on Ernest L. Boyer

Editor’s Note: This “Scholarship Spotlight” is the first of what we hope will become a regular or semi-regular series of posts on the site. The goal with these posts is to highlight scholarly projects that utilize (in part or fully) the resources of the Boyer Center Archives, particularly the digital collection. Stay tuned for future entries in this series!

Christian Higher Education journal

Christian Higher Education journal

Creative Calls for Coherence: Ernest L. Boyer and Christian Higher Education” was the theme for a special 2014 issue of Christian Higher Education, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on issues and problems in contemporary Christian higher education. Published by Taylor & Francis, the issue is available online for free.

Guest edited by Taylor University scholar Todd C. Ream, the special issue explores Boyer’s considerable influence on education, especially Christian higher education.

The issue focuses on Boyer’s “creative call for coherence.” As explained in a preview for the issue:

[Boyer’s creative call for coherence], or his compulsion to draw together the frayed intellectual and/or social threads defining our society, offers a powerful means of assessing his significant impact on education. Although anecdotal evidence indicates Boyer’s ideas influenced a number of Christian colleges and universities, no systematic efforts come to terms with this influence.  This theme issue attempts to provide some basic frameworks for further research efforts while also looking at the impact Boyer’s Christian college experiences had upon him.

The first half of this issue seeks to introduce Boyer’s life, his faith, and the influence of Christian higher education on him. The second half of this issue is topical in nature and explores Boyer’s influence on some critical dimensions of the lives of Christian colleges and universities.

In his opening article, Ream highlights the work of the Boyer Center Archives in preserving and making accessible Boyer’s intellectual legacy:

Although Boyer passed away almost 20 years ago, his work continues to receive considerable interest absent a biography of him in any form. Most of Boyer’s publicly accessible works are found in reports published by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For example, in Creating Campus Community: In Search of Ernest Boyer’s Legacy (Jossey-Bass, 2002), William M. McDonald and associates reviewed the impact Boyer’s reports had on how educators now design both curricular and cocurricular learning communities. In a comparable sense, John Braxton, William Luckey, and Patricia Helland’s Institutionalizing a Broader View of Scholarship Through Boyer’s Four Domains (Jossey-Bass, 2002) considers the impact of the ideas Boyer offered in Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990).

However, until recently a considerable number of Boyer’s ideas remained inaccessible to the general public. Initially, Boyer’s unpublished papers were housed in Princeton, New Jersey, under the care of the Carnegie Foundation. In the late 1990s, those materials (primarily comprised of large numbers of speeches and letters) were transferred to Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Over the last several years, officials at Messiah have labored to make those items available to the public via a digitized archive system.

The completion of this process proves to be of considerable benefit to a number of groups, with one such group being scholars concerned with the well-being of Christian higher education.

Several articles in the issue, including Taylor University historian Drew Moser’s “Ernest L. Boyer and the American Christian College: Historical Considerations,” draw extensively on material from the archives.

The full table of contents for the issue includes:

  • Todd C. Ream, “Creative Calls for Coherence: Ernest L. Boyer and Christian Higher Education”
  • Paul S. Boyer, “Ernest L. Boyer’s Career in the Context of Post-World War II American Education”
  • Douglas Jacobsen & Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, “The Religious Roots of Ernest L. Boyer’s Educational Vision: A Theology of Public Pietism”
  • Drew Moser, “Ernest L. Boyer and the American Christian College: Historical Considerations”
  • Cynthia A. Wells, “Renewing Our Shared Purpose: Considering Ernest L. Boyer’s General Education Vision for Christian Colleges and Universities”
  • C. Skip Trudeau & Timothy W. Herrmann, “Ernest L. Boyer, the Christian College, and the Uneasy Tension between the Curriculum and the Cocurriculum”
  • David I. Smith, Joonyong Um, & Claudia D. Beversluis, “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in a Christian Context”
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Photo Friday: A Quilt of Many Honorary Degrees

Boyer's quilt of doctoral hoods, made by his mother, Ethel, on display at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. - BCA

In this undated photo, likely from the 1980s or 1990s, Boyer’s quilt of doctoral hoods, made by his mother, Ethel, hangs on display at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. – BCA

In his lifetime, Ernie Boyer earned many, many honorary degrees. His achievements as SUNY chancellor, U.S. Commissioner of Education, and president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching — among other professional accomplishments — led to honorary conferrals from well-regarded institutions of higher learning, like the College of William and Mary and Fordham University, to lesser-known institutions like Hope College and Alfred University.

In fact, at one point in his career he’d earned so many honorary degrees that his mother, Ethel Boyer, used the academic hoods given to him to stitch a decorative quilt! That quilt is the focus of today’s Photo Friday post. (For another shot of the quilt, click here.)

Today, this fascinating piece of Boyer memorabilia is a part of the Boyer Center Archives’ object collection and hangs on display in the Boyer Center office at Messiah College. On your next visit to campus, stop by and check it out!

To see photos of Boyer receiving honorary degrees, click here.

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Boyer Award Given by New American Colleges & Universities

Tomorrow, at the annual American Association of Colleges & Universities meeting in Washington, D.C., a University of Pennsylvania administrator will receive the Ernest L. Boyer Award for his leadership of a unique Penn program focused on community engagement.

Here’s the press release from the University of Pennsylvania:

Ira Harkavy, the associate vice president and founding director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, will be honored with the fifth annual Ernest L. Boyer Award on Jan. 23 during the annual Association of American Colleges & Universities meeting in Washington, D.C.

Awarded by New American Colleges & Universities, a consortium of private, comprehensive colleges that are grounded in the liberal arts tradition, the award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to higher education.

Harkavy was selected for his pioneering work in university-community partnerships and the civic engagement of students and faculty. . . .

The Netter Center now focuses on two primary approaches that allow Penn to connect with the West Philadelphia community: academically based community service courses and university-assisted community school partnerships.

Academically based community service courses are a form of service learning that’s focused on real world problem solving, such as those related to poverty, education and health care. These integrate learning, community service, teaching and research. . . .

After receiving his award, Harkavy will present a lecture on “Creating the Connected Institution: Toward Realizing Benjamin Franklin’s and Ernest Boyer’s Revolutionary Vision for American Higher Education.”

Read more about the Boyer Award (including a list of past winners) at the NAC&U website. Read the complete Penn release here.

What Would Boyer Think About Free Community College?

Ernest L. Boyer speaking at the 1977 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Convention. - BCA

Ernest L. Boyer speaking at the 1977 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Convention. – BCA

Editor’s Note: Last night in his “State of the Union” address, President Barack Obama announced, among other proposals, his plan to provide two free years of community college education to American citizens. In her first post here at the blog, Dr. Cynthia A. Wells — director of the Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah College — reflects on the question: What would Ernest L. Boyer have thought about the President’s plan?

By Cynthia A. Wells

In 1972, Ernest L. Boyer delivered a speech entitled “Thinking about the Unthinkable: Tuition and Student Fees in Public Higher Education.” In that speech, he outlined some useful ideas for considering the connections between public funding and educational access. He notes that few issues are capable of generating so much heat as the question of who should pay the bill.

This is a helpful reminder as we consider President Obama’s proposal of a “bold plan to reduce the cost of community college . . . to zero” put forth in his  State of the Union address. Debate as to the merits and challenges of the plan, entitled “America’s College Promise,” is widespread.  Jeff Selingo suggests that free community college is a response to the “middle-skills gap,” that it helps individuals acquire those skills that don’t require a four-year degree but are not outcomes of a high school education.   Julie Hirschfield Davis and Tamar Lewin, in their coverage of the proposal in the New York Times, describe the proposal’s capacity to transform publicly financed higher education in order to address growing economic inequality.

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Discussion as to the merits and challenges of the community college funding proposal is no doubt just warming up, and Boyer’s 1972 text offers some generative ideas as we consider it.

First, Boyer reminds us that over our national history, the basic level of education judged to be essential for the coming generation has progressively risen. Indeed, in the late 19th century, grade 12 replaced grade 8 as a minimum level of necessary education.  The demands of the 21st century require looking anew at what education is considered (and funded) to be universal.

Second, public policy related to higher education attends to enriching both the lives of individuals and the well-being of our society.  Boyer said, “The central principle to be affirmed is the right of every American to receive . . . the education needed to achieve personal dignity and economic independence. Historically, and in practical terms, this means that public funds are used to provide a basic level of free schooling for the children of all citizens, believing that in this fashion each successive generation may make the maximum possible contribution to the common good.”

So, what would Boyer think about the President’s proposal? We can’t say with any certainty, but this speech — and others — offer a starting place for reflection.

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Quote of the Day

“[D]eep down inside, the belief persists that education at its best can hold the intellectual center of society together. . . . And this—it seems to me—is precisely the point where “the humanities” move center stage. There is, I believe, more than an accidental connection between such words as human, humane and humanities. They identify an area of inquiry with people at the center. The humanities focus on the consequential common experiences of the human race and in so doing they seek to integrate and give meaning to all the [disciplines].”

— Ernest L. Boyer, in a manuscript published by the Community College Humanities Association, 1981.

Read the full manuscript here.

Boyer on the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  in 1964 -- Wikimedia Commons

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964 — Wikimedia Commons

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the birth of an American civil rights leader, activist, and religious leader. Across the country, people will be reflecting on the life and legacy of Dr. King and participating in acts of service as a way of remembering his important role in our national history and in the quest for civil rights for African Americans.

In 1988, at a conference sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, Dr. Boyer shared his own reflections on Dr. King’s legacy and its relevance to American education. In the speech, Boyer highlights three aspects of King’s life and career on which student should focus. Here’s an excerpt of the speech:

We all rejoice, of course, that a national holiday has been dedicated to the memory of this extraordinary individual.

But it is my conviction—and it shall be the theme of my remarks today—that

if we fail to bring the message of Dr. King into the nation’s classrooms, memories will fade, our celebration will become increasingly superficial, and the holiday will be a time when we remember only the symbols, not the substance, of his work.

Specifically, I’m convinced that the curriculum in our schools should include a study of Reverend King for three essential reasons:

First, all students should study the life of Martin Luther King to understand, more precisely, the social and intellectual heritage of our nation. . . .

[Second,] I’m convinced that all students should learn about Martin Luther King not only to gain historical perspective, but also to understand the power and poetry of the written and spoken word. . . .

[Third,] all students also should study the life of Martin Luther King to understand more fully the relationship between what they learn and how they live.

Read the entire speech here.

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Photo Friday: At Home in the “Chancellor House Mansion”

Black and white photo of Ernest L. and Kay Boyer sitting in the living room of the SUNY chancellor’s home in Albany. - BCA

Black and white photo of Ernest L. and Kay Boyer sitting in the living room of the SUNY chancellor’s home in Albany. – BCA

Earlier this week, Service Fulfilled previewed Many Mansions: Lessons of Faith, Family, and Public Service (ACU Press, 2014), the recently-released memoir by Ernie Boyer’s wife, Kay. In the book, she traces her family’s life journey by focusing on the many homes they occupied throughout the U.S.: from their first “Honeymoon Cottage Magical Mansion” in Orlando, Florida, to their final “Family Home Mansion” in Princeton, N.J.

One of the mid-life homes — the “Chancellor House Mansion” — was the Boyer’s residence while Ernie served as the head of the State University of New York from 1971-1976. Today’s Photo Friday post showcases a photo of Ernie and Kay relaxing in that home. (More details about the photo here.)

In Many Mansions, Kay describes the house’s primary function: hospitality.

From our earliest days in the Chancellor House, we felt it was important to reach out with warmth and hospitality to many groups. Ernie wanted to focus his leadership on students, so our first big event at Chancellor House was a large reception for student-body presidents, members of student senates, and student editors from all of the sixty-four SUNY campuses. A little later, we gave a reception to show friendship to the people living on our street, and then to a large group of members of the news media. Ernie and I shook hands with everyone and then moved among the guests to show friendship.

The main function of the house was as a gathering place for the daylong meetings, special lunches, and formal dinners. These could involve groups of the campus presidents, administrators, faculty leaders, student representatives, Ernie’s central administrative staff, and others. The goal was to create a warm, friendly, home-like atmosphere that would make it easy to create personal connections. Ernie and I both made considerable efforts to remember each person’s name at every event. This was all part of his leadership style, and I enjoyed working in partnership with him. I planned the menus and directed events, which gave me wonderful opportunities to meet many outstanding students, faculty members, and administrators.

To read more about the “Chancellor House Mansion,” as well as the Boyer family’s other residences, check out Many Mansions, now available to purchase.

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Quote of the Day

From the very first, community colleges, often called “the people’s colleges,” have stirred an egalitarian zeal among their members. . . . [But] The inspired sense of purpose that drove the growth of two-year colleges has somewhat eroded, and, in the hierarchy of American higher education, too many people look condescendingly at the system. But most disturbing, perhaps, the percentage of students transferring from community colleges to senior institutions has declined, and the argument is being made that educational opportunities, especially for minority students, are too restricted. . . .

By sharpening their goals and strengthening their academic core, community colleges can continue to fulfill, in new and creative ways, their traditional mission as “colleges of the people.”

— Ernest L. Boyer, in “Community of colleges ready for a facelift,” published in The Times Higher Education Supplement, May 6, 1988. (Boyer had a regular column in this publication for many years.)

Read the whole article here.

Many Mansions: Kathryn Boyer’s Memoir

Ernie and Kay Boyer on their wedding day. -- ELB Center Archives

Ernie and Kay Boyer on their wedding day. — ELB Center Archives

If you spend enough time immersed in Dr. Ernest L. Boyer’s professional work, it won’t take long to discover tiny glimpses of his life at home. Anecdotes of his family crept into speeches and impromptu remarks. It’s a nice reminder that despite his devotion to public service and commitment to quality education he also held a deep devotion to his family. Boyer understood that serving his wife and children as a good husband and father was just as (perhaps more so) important as his career.

Now we have the opportunity to peer deeper into Boyer’s dedication to his family with the publication of Kathryn Boyer’s memoir, Many Mansions: Lessons of Faith, Family, and Public Service.

many-mansionsOfficially released last year at a private reception at Messiah College, the memoir chronicles the myriad experiences of the Ernest L. Boyer family. Each chapter focuses on a different house (there are 20 total!) the family lived in and the memories made in those homes. For any scholar of Ernest L. Boyer, Kathryn Boyer’s memoir in memory of her husband expands his legacy even further and widens our comprehension of the man behind the service.

You can purchase your copy of the book, published by Abilene Christian University Press, here.

Look for more posts about this book coming soon!

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Photo Friday: Molding the Life of a Future Educator

Photo of Ernest L. Boyer as a 1948 graduate of Messiah Bible College -- BCA

Photo of Ernest L. Boyer as a 1948 graduate of Messiah Bible College — BCA

Blogger’s Note: This post launches a new regular series here at the “Service Fulfilled” blog: Photo Friday! Each week, we’ll highlight a new image from the Archives’ photographic collection. Our image collection (which is only partially digitized) documents each and every stage of Boyer’s life, from his early years in Dayton, Ohio, to his latter years in Princeton, New Jersey. So entries in this regular series will provide an understanding of Boyer’s life and work from many different times and at many different places. Enjoy!

By the time this post goes live, the spring semester at Messiah College — the institutional “home” of the Boyer Center and its archive — will be well underway. Students have returned from their winter break and have entered into a new season of classes and extra-curricular activities. Campus is buzzing with activity now that students are back and another semester has begun!

Here in the Boyer Center Archives, the start of a new semester has me thinking about the student days of Ernie Boyer, who attended what was then Messiah Bible College from 1946-1948. (He had graduated from Messiah Academy, a two-year high school-like program, earlier.)Boyer’s 1948 graduation photo is highlighted in today’s post.

By most accounts, Boyer was a model student at the Bible College — beloved by his teachers, and popular with his fellow students. As the College’s academic dean wrote to Boyer’s father, Clarence, in 1946, “Ernest is well respected by the student body. We feel much of this is due to the interest which you as parents have had in molding his life.”

As you might suspect, Messiah was a very different institution back in the early 20th century! At the time it was owned by the Brethren in Christ Church (it no longer has legal ties to the denomination, although it maintains a close relationship) and emphasized training for missions and religious service over other vocations.

Still, the College’s present-day educational commitments — to academic excellence, to training for service and leadership, to emphasis on building community — are very much rooted in its history. In fact, in later years, Boyer would comment on the College’s “legacy” and the ways that its past continue to influence its present mission and identity. What’s more, these commitments clearly shaped Boyer personally, since he would later go on to champion such issues as education for service and community-building on campus.

We’ll be sure to highlight Boyer’s time as a college student — both at Messiah and his undergraduate alma mater, Greenville College — in future posts. Stay tuned!

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Quote of the Day

It is my urgent hope that by the next century this nation will give more recognition and more status to the teacher. . . .

Excellence in Education means Excellence in Teaching. And . . . if the future of this nation is to be made secure, our top priority must be to give more status and more recognition to the teacher.

— Ernest L. Boyer, “Education in the Year 2000,” delivered at the University of Wisconsin system’s conference on teacher education, December 15, 1988.

Read the full speech here.

We’re Back!

Welcome to Service Fulfilled, the new and improved blog of the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives at Messiah College!

Our blog takes its name from a quotation that Ernest L. Boyer often used in his speeches:

“The tragedy of life is not death, it is destined for us all. The tragedy of life is to die with convictions undeclared, and service unfulfilled.”

When Boyer passed away in 1995, he left behind a legacy of fulfilled service to America’s students, parents, and educators. This blog — and the archive that sponsors it — is dedicated to preserving and providing access to the speeches, manuscripts, and other documents that capture Boyer’s legacy for future generations.

Stay tuned for posts that showcase the valuable resources of the Boyer Center Archives; that offer behind-the-scenes “sneak peeks” at the goings-on in the Archives; that connect Boyer’s writings to contemporary issues in American education; and that advertise news, events, and current and future projects of the Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah College!

The Mastery of Language

If there is one constant throughout the work of Ernest L. Boyer it is his empahsis on the mastery of language.  He stressed it in speeches and featured it prominently in Carnegie Foundation publications like Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation, High School: Secondary Education in America, and College: The Undergraduate Experience.  Whether his work pertained to primary education, secondary education, or college, language was a key element regardless.  Boyer spoke candidly of his own personal joy learning to read while attending Miss Rice’s first grade class.  His earliest introduction of language obviously made a lasting impression and, from an outsider’s perspective, established a sort of lifelong love affair.  Language was the key to not only a quality education, but a quality life.  In the words of Boyer, “…language defines our humanity.”

Combining his leadership in the field of education and his deep personal love of language, Boyer promoted literacy throughout his entire career.  At the 1988 Virginia State Library and Archives Literacy Conference, he reminded the crowd that advocating for literacy went beyond the mechanics of learning to read.  That is merely the surface issue.  But beyond that is comprehension and the ability to make connections.  “Literacy means the ability to think clearly and creatively, and engage in constructive discourse.  Above all, we need integrity in literacy – an understanding that the use of language is a sacred trust.”  Language is a tool all humans use, all day, every day.  Have you ever considered it a sacred trust? My guess is most of us view it as a common necessity.  Boyer reminds us, though, that it is anything but a necessity.  It is the fount of emotion.  It is the source of connection.  It is the key to life.

Word cloud of Boyer's speech "Today we learn to read."

Read Boyer’s entire speech delivered at the 1988 Virginia State Library and Archives Literacy Conference, “Today we learn to read.”

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Family Values

“There may be differences in lifestyle – some of it by choice, others by necessity.  But for us to somehow draw moral skirts around us and say that we’re holier than someone else because of their family circumstances is a lose-lose situation.  [It] doesn’t make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn’t make you feel any better either.  So I think that’s not the issue.  The issue is that although people’s family circumstances might differ, overwhelmingly we are convinced that we ought to do right by children.  That’s the point that brings us together.” – Ernest L. Boyer, when asked about “family values” during an interview on the Carnegie Foundation publication “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation”.

*Sometimes you’re watching an interview with Ernest L. Boyer and are struck by a profound statement and need to rewind and pause multiple times to jot it all down, because the words still hold so much meaning today.*

The Leaden-Eyed

On this last day of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem frequently quoted by Dr. Ernest L. Boyer: Vachel Lindsay’s “The Leaden-Eyed.”

Let not young souls be smothered out before

They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.

It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull,

Its poor ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.

Not that they starve; but starve so dreamlessly.

Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap,

Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve,

Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

Quoted in a speech entitled “Truth in Education,” October 29, 1979.

Access to the Archives: Spring 2014

All of the chapter manuscripts for Ernest L. Boyer’s Ready to Learn have been digitized and are available online for the convenience of researchers.  The two publications the archives team is currently working on are: School Choice and Campus Life: In Search of Community. Student workers are in the process of digitizing the School Choice manuscripts and records are currently being added for Boyer’s Campus Life report – digitization has begun for those boxes too.

Manuscript box 025 holds various manuscripts from the Carnegie Foundation publication "Campus Life: In Search of Community." All the archival processes for this box were completed on April 15, 2014.

March Madness

It’s that time of year again.  Rabid college basketball fans are obsessing over their bracket picks and following every game in the NCAA basketball tournament.  As a freshman at Messiah Bible College, Ernest L. Boyer played guard for the varsity basketball team.  The team ended the season with four wins and one loss.  Their opponents?  Various alumni from Grantham, Carlisle, Franklin, and Lancaster. Judging from the photo below it seems Boyer specialized in defense.

Ernie Boyer - a defensive specialist.

Ernie Boyer (bottom row, first on the left) with his intramural basketball team.

Access to the Archives: Kicking off 2014

Happy 2014, all!  It’s been a few months since we updated the blogosphere about the current work being done at The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives of Messiah College. With a new year, we figured this was the perfect time to provide a little insight into the daily operations of the archives.

Due to the return of our work-study students this fall we have digitized all the chapter manuscripts of the Carnegie Foundation publication Scholarship Reconsidered (catalog numbers 1000 0001 9635 – 1000 0002 0644). Currently the chapter manuscripts for Ready to Learn (catalog numbers 1000 0002 0645 – 1000 0002 1799) are being scanned and made available to researchers online.  Recently the manuscripts for Tribal Colleges (catalog numbers 1000 0002 1800 – 1000 0002 1833) have been cataloged and are next on the docket for digitization. School Choice is the Carnegie Foundation publication currently being organized and cataloged in preparation for digitization. We better get back to work!

Champion of Education

“Education is the great engine of personal development.  It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.  It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

– Nelson Mandela

International Education

Ernie and Kay Boyer, Moscow April 1974.

Last week Messiah College celebrated “International Education Week.”  It provided an opportunity for the campus community to celebrate the various cultures represented among the student body and the strength those cultures add to the educational experience.  As a leader in education in the 20th century, Dr. Ernest L. Boyer played a fundamental role in promoting that very understanding.  Colleges must do everything in their power to establish and advance an intercultural exchange – bridging nations and cultures with one’s own is an education of itself that lasts beyond the classroom.

As the United States Commissioner of Education, Ernest L. Boyer was invited to speak at the Conference on International Education in Washington, D.C. on February 28, 1979.  In his speech he discussed his trip to Moscow, Russia the year before where he, as Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), signed an agreement with representatives from Moscow State University, agreeing to an exchange of faculty and graduate students.  Four years earlier, in 1974, an original agreement between the two universities had been signed ensuring an undergraduate student exchange. This was the first compact of its kind between an American and Soviet educational institution.

Dr. Boyer was proud of his efforts to further the reach of international education and believed deeply it added needed dimension to one’s education.  Any reminder that global citizens are more alike than different was worthwhile in his book.  Boyer ended his speech at the Conference on International Education by saying: “I’m confident that as we better educate ourselves and make more sensitive the human spirit, we will indeed make our future more secure and prevent this angry, frightening world from self-destruction.”

Thoughts on the Digital Humanities

“I hope to see an age of radical access soon, where we pour energy into making our collections as discoverable and usable as possible. We’ve worked hard to digitize and to inform others of our collections. But researchers often find it difficult to locate our materials, and discovery tools that make that process as easy and rewarding as possible are really needed. There is such inspiring potential at the intersection of rare materials, linked data, digital humanities, and beyond, and I feel lucky to be part of this profession at such a transformative time.”

– Anne Bahde, History of Science Librarian in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at Oregon State University.

Source: Fine Books & Collections.

Ernie at Sea: Solid Ground

Here is our last installment of Ernest Boyer’s participation in a humanitarian relief effort with the Brethren Service Committee after World War II. Thanks to a scrapbook, we have been able to share photos and journal entries written by Ernie.  This final installment includes Ernie’s last days on the Wesley Barrett – read further to discover the condition of the sea, the beauty of a rainbow, and where the crew learns the ship will dock.  On July 20, 1946, Boyer went through United States Customs and re-entered the country in Highgate Springs, Vermont.  After over a month away, Ernie returned with a German helmet, a German gas mask, some chinaware, and plenty of memories.

Friday, July 12, 1946 –

A typical “calm after the storm” day the sun shone brightly and the sea was calm.  This afternoon I spent the time taking a sunbath and got rather “red.”

Saturday, July 13, 1946 –

It was rather cloudy today.  The sea is “choppy” again.  Got official news today that we are going to Montreal Canada.  The cowboys are really in an uproar because there is a possibility we cannot get off the ship since that is a foreign part.  They say we may have to stay by it for another trip.  Sea got very rough again tonite!  I could hardly sleep because I kept rolling from side to side and cups, plates, glasses [and] the like kept rattling [and] breaking.  Solid ground would feel very good right now.

Sunday, July 14, 1946 –

It was a very nice sunny day even though the boat was very rocky.  Had our Sunday service today with Melvin Hess in charge.  Ship still heading for Montreal.  We are supposed to stop at Halifax Nova Scotia to get maps of the St. Lawrence.  Had a chicken dinner today.  Spent the afternoon taking a sun bath.  Had news tonight that the ship might be turned over to Canada.  Don’t know if its the truth or not.  Rocky tonite again.

Monday, July 15, 1946 –

Today was rather cold and chilly.  The sea is becoming more calm which is proof that we are getting near land.  Tonite we got our first glimpse of land which was Nova Scotia.  We stopped at Halifax to pick up charts of the St. Lawrence River.  Land sure looked good.

Tuesday, July 16, 1946 –

Have been going past land all day still Nova Scotia and surrounding territory.  The country is beautiful up here.  We were within several hundred feet of land.  We entered the Bay of St. Lawrence this evening.  Since it was such a beautiful day, I was up in the turret most of the day enjoying the sun.

* I forgot to add that on Monday evening I viewed several of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed.  First of all we were called up on topside to witness the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.  Words cannot describe it but as compete semi-circle formed in the Eastern sky the colors grew in intensity until they were almost unbelievably rich and distinct, richer than any artist could paint it.  And then as a crowning feature, another one formed just above it.  The colors were just as distinct although slightly paler.  The area within the semi-spheres was very light and radiant while without it was rather dark.  It reminded me of a very immense [and] indescribably beautiful amphitheater.  These had hardly faded out until a most beautiful sunset met our gaze.  To top it off, about ten o’clock a gorgeous full moon appeared that lit up the sky and made a glorious reflection on the water.  I don’t imagine I will ever witness such a night again.

Wednesday, July 17, 1946 –

When I awoke this morning it looked as it would be a beautiful day.  However it has been cloudy and windy all day.  We entered the mouth of the St. Lawrence this morning.  Our fears of not being able to get off the boat were smashed today when Mr. Crist told us to sign up if we were getting off and that our checks would be waiting for us.  I am thinking now of hitch-hiking home.  Anyway it will be good to be back in the states.

Thursday, July 18, 1946 –

It was another beautiful day.  I slept until almost noon.  I was up on deck all afternoon watching the scenery as we steamed down the St. Lawrence.  It was really beautiful.  We were at Quebec about 3:00 PM today.  It is said we will get to Montreal about 6:00 A.M. tomorrow morning.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.

Ernie at Sea: Reverse Course

Continue on with Ernie Boyer and the crew of the Wesley Barrett as they set sail once again – this time heading back west.  Read the next ten entries and discover how the sea treated the liberty ship on its back to the states.

Tuesday, July 2, 1946 –

It was clear today.  Our messman has been sick for several days.  The dishes are not washed and the food is not served right.  Today we had a showdown.  Some of the fellows went to the Captain and others went to Mr. Crist.  The cowboys organized and elected a chairman.  We set sail about 2:45 P.M. for America.  We had a fire and boat drill.  We anchored just off the harbor while the ship was searched for stowaways.  We entered the Baltic Sea that afternoon and it was rougher than the other time we had crossed it.

Wednesday, July 3, 1946 –

It was clear and warm today.  Our messman is finally back with us.  We turned our watches back an hour.  Expecting to hit Kiel Kanal about 12 A.M.  Saw Sweden clearly this morning.

Thursday, July 4, 1946 –

It is a wonderful day.  The sun was hot.  Around 12 AM we dropped anchor at Kiel and a waterboat came out [and] filled up our water tanks.  We entered the Kanal about 7:30 this morning.  I thought of the folks at home [and] what they would be doing since this was the “fourth.”  Traveled through canal all day and left it about 5:30 P.M.  We then entered the North Sea.

Friday, July 5, 1946 –

It was cold [and] windy today.  The sea was rough.  We are traveling about 13 knots an hour.  The slopchest was open today.  Not much happened except tonite we entered the channel.

Saturday, July 6, 1946 –

Today was clear and cool.  We spent the day coming down the English Channel.  We passed Dover [and] her Cliffs about 3 A.M.  We saw the shores of England this morning.  Turned watches back [and] left the Channel about noon.

Sunday, July 7, 1946 –

It was a clear warm July day.  We are now in the North Atlantic.  Had our Sunday services at 10 A.M. and Mr. Crist was in charge.  We had a good Turkey dinner.  I was feeling a little dizzy since the boat is rocking a little more.  The slopchest was open for the last time.

Monday, July 8, 1946 –

It was cloudy [and] cool today.  We had a discussion period today on God vs Evolution.  Had another fire [and] boat drill.  Some fellows caused a lot of confusion [and] noise last night by pretending to clean the joint up about midnight [and] waking every one up.

Tuesday, July 9, 1946 –

Cloudy again today.  Another day that was almost uneventful except for reading, sleeping, and playing games.  What a life.

Wednesday, July 10, 1946 –

It was chilly [and] cloudy again today.  Sea was very rough.  This makes it bad because we loose time.  A notice came in today that the ship was going to Seattle, Wash and then to Hawaii, from there to China.  It had the cowboys pretty excited but it is probably just a joke.  We can’t be sure where we are going to land since we have heard Boston, New York, Newport News, Houston, Pensacola [and] Baltimore.

Thursday, July 11, 1946 –

It was cloudy [and] chilly again today.  The sea was the worst I have seen it yet.  The water would come shooting over the bow which is 50 or 60 ft high.  The bow would raise about 10 ft out of the water and then plunge in the water to a depth of about 30 ft.  Large waves about 30 ft high would roll past the boat and she would really toss.  It wasn’t safe to walk across the deck.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

Ernie at Sea: Poland

This installment of “Ernie at Sea,” sees Ernest Boyer come face to face with the destruction and terror of the Second World War.  In the final days of June, 1946, the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, reached Poland to unload cattle – part of a wider humanitarian relief project aiding war-torn Europe. These next four entries of Boyer’s account highlight his reaction to the scenes in Poland he stumbles across and seeks.

Friday, June 28, 1946 –

It was warm and cloudy today.  We fed cows for the last time.  We brought up our equipment for the last time.  The poles started unloading the ship about nine.  After dinner we were given shore leave and for the first time in two weeks, my feet touched land.  We [hopped] a bumpy ride to Tangford and from there took a ride in another truck (their bus system) to Danzig.  The destruction is almost beyond description.  Block after block of houses and buildings completely destroyed and laid to the ground.  Children would flock around us and beg for cigarettes and candy.  It is surprising how soon you become accustomed to the destruction and poverty and hardly notice it.  That is the shame of it.

Saturday, June 29, 1946 –

It was clear and warm today.  We were not permitted to have shore leave after 9 A.M.  I did go ashore in the morning to try to get souvenirs.  However most of the stores were closed due to election time.  Went ashore in the afternoon again to take some pictures.  Went to a bombed out church.  We were not back on the ship until about 3 P.M.  The [?] had the ship unloaded by this time and had the manure hauled out.  They did a very thorough job and even scrubbed the ship down with water.

Sunday, June 30, 1946 –

No shore leave permitted again today.  Still due to the elections.  The streets are considered unsafe.  However we were told that after 6 P.M. we had shore leave.  Some of us went to a battlefield.  It is supposed to be the place where the first shots were fired at the beginning of World War II.  We were warned of the Poles to be careful because there were still a lot of land mines around.  There were pillboxes in which there were helmets, gas masks and other equipment.  I got several for souvenirs.  There were also skeletons of men lying around with parts of clothing still on their frame.  We returned to ship about 9 P.M.  We didn’t have any church service today.

Monday, July 1, 1946 –

It was clear [and] warm today.  Went ashore in morning until 10 AM at which time we were supposed to be back on ship.  The ships board then read that we would sail 9 AM. Tuesday.  I then went ashore [and] took more pictures.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

Ernie at Sea: Land Ho!

We last left Ernest Boyer and the crew of the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean heading to Europe.  After two weeks at sea, land is finally spotted – the countryside of England.  Read Ernie’s next five entries as he describes entering the English Channel and continuing on through the North Sea before reaching his ultimate destination, Poland:

Sunday, June 23, 1946 –

Today was the day!  We had entered the English Channel about midnight last night.  Although it was foggy earlier it lifted about 9:45 A.M. and we got the first sight of land.  It was a point on the English coast called Lizards Point.  It was very pretty and we could see farms and pasture land.  Had our Sunday Services on deck after dinner.  We were also given a short talk on what to do and what not to do in a foreign part.  Almost rammed another boat this evening.  Wrote home and to Kay because we were to stop for a pilot at Dover who would take us through the channel.

Monday, June 24, 1946 –

Cool cloudy today.  It rained this afternoon.  We saw the coast of England again today and around ten o’clock we saw the white cliffs of Dover.  It was almost hard to believe I was viewing a spot I had heard so much about.  They were very impressive as seen through the mist and fog of morning.  About 10:30 we dropped anchor at Dover.  At this point our pilot got off and took our letters ashore.  Since we were anchored we had a good view of land.  We entered the North Sea late this afternoon.  Some of the fellows  are getting sick again.  The percer says it is probably due to the change of climate.  I have been getting along O.K. though.

Tuesday, June 25, 1946 –

Two cows died today.  It will probably not prove of interest later on but it is important news on ship.  We took on a German Pilot to guide us through North Sea since this area is heavily mined.  We saw many sunken ships which was proof of the fact.  Around seven o’clock we could see the German coast and around nine o’clock we entered the Elbe River.  After going down the Elbe for about three hours we came to the entrance of the Kiel Kanal.  There we were so near land we could almost touch it.  Men flocked around the boat trying to trade all sorts of things for cigarettes.  I stayed up until about one but finally retired knowing I had to get up at six.

Wednesday, June 26, 1946 –

It is a clear warm day.  This proved one of the most interesting days of the trip.  We spent nearly all morning going through the Kiel.  We past the very beautiful part of German countryside.  Children ran down to the waters edge and we threw them oranges and apples.  Leaving the Kanal we entered the Kiel Bay at the City of Kiel Germany.  We entered the Baltic Sea this afternoon.  Mr. Templeton, one of our foreman has become very ill.  Our destination is not far off.

Thursday, June 27, 1946 –

Cloudy this morning.  It rained about dinnertime.  We saw land about suppertime and at 8:00 P.M. we entered the Harbor of Newport, Poland.  A tug took us in and docked.  Polish officers entered the boat with Tommy-guns strapped to their backs.  It seemed like about every officer or soldier carried a rifle or something.  They had a hard time finding the stowaway.  We stayed up late mainly because our bunkroom was filled with Poles trying to trade off cameras, binoculars etc. for cigarettes.  We finally got to bed.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Ernie at Sea: Crossing the Atlantic

In the last installment of Ernest Boyer’s adventure on the Wesley Barrett, the crew finally set sail for Poland to deliver cattle to the war-torn country. This installment continues the trek across the Atlantic Ocean.  What does Ernie consider “one of the most beautiful sights [he] has ever seen”?  Want to know how he helps a stowaway that joins the trip?  Find out below.

Here are Ernie’s next five entries:

Saturday, June 15, 1946 –

Rained again today.  We passed two other ships.  Got into the routine of feeding watering and bedding the cows.  We turned our clocks up one hour.  It cleared up this evening and there was a full moon on the ocean.  It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen!

Sunday, June 16, 1946 –

It was a beautiful day on the ocean.  We had to move some cattle up [a] deck because Hold 2 was too hot.  After supper we had a short religious service.  Mr. Wolgemuth was in charge.  We passed another ship today.

Thursday, June 20, 1946 –

Arose this morning to see another day of fog.  Had a wonderful meal this noon.  It was claimed it was due to the Louis victory since our entire Galley crew is colored.  Fog lifted a while in the afternoon but settled down again this evening.  We saw sea gulls today so land can’t be too far.  Turned our watched up another hour.  Passed another ship.

Friday, June 21, 1946 –

Today was a perfect sailing day.  There were no white caps and the ocean was peaceful.  When we got up we could see the Queen Elizabeth several miles away.  There were more sea gulls.  We are anxiously awaiting the time we will see England.

Saturday, June 22, 1946 –

It was rather cloudy again today.  Had a rather interesting experience today.  About two-thirty I felt our engines stop so went topside to see what the trouble was.  I discovered we had been hailed by the Boulder Victory and were given stowaway from that ship to take back to Poland.  He was a young fellow who was going to try to get to his uncle in New York City.  His parents were dead.  I gave him a shirt and he seemed thankful.  Worked pretty hard today pulling straw.  We turned our watches up another hour.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2.

Ernie at Sea: Setting Sail

Continuing the story of Ernie Boyer’s participation in a humanitarian relief effort after World War II, here are his next four entries as a “seagoing cowboy”:

Tuesday, June 11, 1946 –

Got up at about 5:30 and packed.  Ate breakfast and went to Pier X.  Sam decided to wait for Bruce so that was one less.  We were told we would leave on the Wesley Barrett a liberty ship which took cattle to Danzig, Poland.  We reported back at 1:00 P.M. at which time we were injected for Tetnus and [examined] for V.D.  The Maritime Commissioner signed us on the ship and we then boarded a launch to the Wesley W. Barrett.  We started bedding stalls and really had to work hard.  Since we had missed ships supper and hadn’t eaten any supper we were really hungry.  All we had to eat was salmon and crackers.

Wednesday, June 12, 1946 –

They started loading the cattle on about 12:30 A.M. and finished about noon today.  I didn’t feel too good.  I think it was the fish and crackers.  We watered and hayed the animals.  We set sail for Poland about 7:30 P.M. and about 10:30 P.M. the boat began to rock.  Went to bed tired but not seasick.

Thursday, June 13, 1946 –

Got up at six which was our regular rising hour.  I began to feel dizzy and so did most of the fellows.  I didn’t do much work.  Sent my breakfast and dinner overboard.  I was alright laying down but when I tried to walk I would get dizzy again.  I was lucky though.  By the afternoon I was feeling O.K.  It [made] me feel better to laugh at the other fellows.  A good joke was when Prof. vomited his teeth overboard this afternoon.

Friday, June 14, 1946 –

Feeling good today.  Some of the fellows are still pretty sick.  It rained today which made it rather gloomy.  We were assigned regular places to work.  My place is hold 2 with Joe Brechbill, Bert Asper and Nevin Smith.  We had a fire Emergency Drill today.  Saw another ship.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1.

Ernie at Sea: Pierside

Back in July we unveiled the story that in the summer of 1946, seventeen-year-old Ernest Boyer, traveled to Poland by sea on the Wesley Barrett and helped deliver over 900 cattle to the war-stricken country.  At the time the blog post was written, we had only a letter Boyer wrote home to his family on June 11, 1946 and a notecard from the Brethren Service Committee thanking him for his assistance with their livestock project.

Last Friday, Sarah, a Boyer Archives work-study, was accessioning a box and came across a scrapbook entitled “Cattle Boat Trip to Poland.”  Jackpot! Ah, the joys of working in an archives – you never know what treasures await you in a box.

The scrapbook includes a day-by-day account of Ernie’s experience at sea and photos he snapped along the way.  Over the next few days, we will share his entries and offer a glimpse into the life of a “seagoing cowboy” after World War II. His notes have been transcribed and any spelling or grammar mistakes have been preserved for authenticity purposes.

Here are Ernie’s first four entries detailing the buildup before setting sail:

Friday, June 7, 1946 –

We left Lancaster, Penna about 8:00 A.M. and traveled by car to New Windsor, Md.  We were told to go from there to Newport News, Va. And be ready to sail in a few days.  Ate dinner at the Brethren Service Center and left about 2:30.  We hitch-hiked to Baltimore and took a ferry to Norfolk.  We traveled all night and arrived at our destination about 6:30 A.M.  We took the ferry with no reservations so I slept on an overstuffed chair.

Saturday, June 8, 1946 –

Arrived at Norfolk about 6:30 and took another ferry to Newport News and took a taxi to Pier X which is the UNRRA [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration] shipping dock.  There we were told to resort [?] Monday morning.  We went back into town and secured lodging at the Catholic Maritime Club.  The fellows in our group were as follows: Barry Paugstat, Joe Brechbill, Prof. Wolgemuth, Bruce Lehman, Sam Derr (?), Royce Saltzman, Bert Asper, Ellis Krieder, Jean Kerr, Bob Lehman, Clyde Solhenberger, Nevin Smith and Melvin Hess.  Booked the town over that afternoon.

Saturday, June 9, 1946 –

Went to church at a large Methodist church.  We were made to feel very strangely, the “Southern Hospitality.”  After loafing that afternoon we returned there for the evening service.  Shorty decided to leave the group and take a coal boat to Maine.  We were sorry to see him go but he was determined.

Sunday, June 10, 1946 –

Found out we were to leave Tuesday at 8:00 A.M.  This made me feel good since we were tired waiting.  We bought sport equipment to be used on the ship.  Spent the afternoon at the Lutheran Service Center reading and playing games.  Went to bed early.

Want to know what happens next?  Check back soon.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Freshman Year

Today marks the start of classes for the 2013-2014 academic year at Messiah College.  Books have been purchased, pencils have been sharpened, syllabi are ready for distribution, and I am almost certain that assignments have already been allocated.  For returning upperclassmen, this routine is old-hat. For incoming freshman, however, every experience is a new one.  It’s both exhilarating and terrifying all at once.  On the one hand you can have only dessert for dinner and your parents don’t have to know.  Exhilarating!  On the other hand you may experience startling moments of comprehension that you are well on your way to being a full-fledged adult.  Terrifying!  Freshman year for anyone is full of changes, transitions, and a new beginning.  And yes, even Ernest Boyer was once a young freshman at Messiah Bible College during the 1946-1947 academic year. Perhaps following Ernie’s lead will make for a successful freshman year.  The excerpt below is what The Clarion had to say about Boyer under his yearbook photo:

ERNEST BOYER – Full of fun… congenial…interested in the deeper things of life.

Boyer served on student council, sang in the male chorus, played guard on the varsity basketball team, and was editor of The Clarion.  So, for those incoming freshman wondering what they should seek out during their first year in college, just ask yourself “what would Ernie do?”.  The answer seems to be…a little bit of everything.  Most importantly, enjoy your first year of college because it will be over faster than you expect.  Oh, and remember to be congenial too.

Access to the Archives: End of Summer

As the summer is winding down, we here at the Boyer Archives are still scanning all the chapter manuscripts from the Carnegie Foundation publication Scholarship Reconsidered. Once the students return to Messiah College and our lovely work-study students are back in the archives all seven boxes full of the manuscripts will be available online soon!

Image: word cloud of Ernest L. Boyer’s speech “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate.”

Seagoing Cowboy

Two weeks ago we shared a quote from Ernest Boyer regarding the influence his grandfather had on him and his understanding of service.  The importance of service is very apparent through the many works of Dr. Boyer. For instance, the Carnegie Foundation’s publication, High School, suggested that American high schools incorporate a service unit that students must complete before they graduate and enter the “real world.”  In the mind of Boyer, community service was just as valuable a learning experience for high schoolers as efficient time in the classroom.  As it turns out, Boyer knew about the significance of service as a high school student firsthand.

On June 12, 1946, as a recent high school graduate, a young and vibrant Ernie Boyer left Newport News, Virginia on a ship called the Wesley Barrett bound for Poland.  Fighting in Europe had finally ended one year earlier, but the devastation left in the wake of the Second World War could not be mended overnight.  After World War II ended, European countries were desperate for aid – in any and all forms.  Countries around the world and renowned service organizations rose to the occasion and worked hard to help get an entire continent back on its feet.

One such form of aid was shipping livestock across the Atlantic to ensure that families living all throughout Europe had access to basic food. Providing a family with a cow rather than just a ration of milk, helped provide ongoing relief.  And after an event as destructive as World War II, that’s exactly the type of aid most Europeans needed.  This is still the premise of Heifer International today.  Of course, shipping livestock from one continent to another is no easy feat and requires volunteers willing to make the month-long trip with the animals.

Heifer International estimates that over 7,000 “cowboys” crossed the Atlantic Ocean with these shipments of animals, caring for them along the way. Ernie Boyer, at age 18, was one of them.  After becoming involved somehow with the Brethren Service Committee, a faith-based organization shipping livestock to Europe after the war, Boyer left for Poland.  In a letter to his family, dated June 11, 1946 (a day before his departure), Boyer wrote: “We are really lucky to get heifers because almost every boat leaving is taking horses.  Our supervisors said it would be at least an 8 week trip because we have a slow ship.”

It is probably not wrong to imagine that many young men signed up for this task because they sought a sense of adventure.  It gave them the chance to see more of the world, meet new people, and experience new things.  I’m sure Ernie Boyer was thrilled to have that opportunity.  One can also imagine, though, that despite the excitement, the joy of serving others in need and making a small but powerful impact had more of an effect on the young man than anything else – one that shaped his future career, beliefs, and energy – all because he chose to serve.

Check out the history page of Heifer International for more information about seagoing cowboys.

Access to the Archives: The High School Study

The box currently being digitized in The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives contains some of the sources, correspondence, and manuscripts related to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s publication High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America.  In 1983, Ernest Boyer and the Carnegie Foundation published a comprehensive study on the state of high schools throughout the country.  The Carnegie Foundation spent more than two years gathering information and conducting interviews and observations in various high schools.  Recently digitized is the entire manuscript of the high school study, dated July 18, 1983.

Access to the Archives: Scholarship Reconsidered

Want to know what we’re currently working on in the Boyer Archives?  These seven boxes contain the countless manuscripts and final printing proofs of the Carnegie Foundation Report, Scholarship Reconsidered.  Each box is in a different stage of the cataloging and digitizing process and will be available to researchers online soon.  So, if you’re interested in reading the very first version of this report and then the final version – stay tuned!

Scholarship Takes Time

In 1990, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, with Ernest L. Boyer at the helm, published Scholarship Reconsidered.  The book challenged the traditional teaching v. research model for university professors and offered ways to widen the general understanding of scholarship throughout the world of higher education.

Ever wonder the effort it takes to publish such an esteemed report? Consider this: the Boyer Archives has 120 versions of chapter 1 (“Scholarship over Time”) alone! It seems the popular saying that there is no great writing – only great rewriting rings true.

Read the very first manuscript of chapter 1 here.  And then check out the final proofed version of “Scholarship over Time” here.  Notice the changes?

Quote of the Week

“Education must prepare students to be independent, self-reliant human beings. But education, at its best, also must help students go beyond their private interests, gain a more integrative view of knowledge, and relate their learning to the realities of life.”

This quote seems extremely relevant in the midst of graduation season.

Ready to Learn

Two weeks ago President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the country.  In his speech, he made a point to acknowledge the importance of early education and stated that every American child has the right to enroll in a quality preschool program.  President Obama gave three specific reasons as to why focusing on early education is good for the nation in the long run: it will ultimately boost graduation rates, reduce teen pregnancy, and reduce violent crime.  During his second term in office, the President explained that he and his staff will look to work with states to ensure that all children start their education career in a respected preschool program.

If you’re aware of the work of Ernest L. Boyer, this may sound familiar.  During his career as a lifelong advocate for education, Dr. Boyer had a lot to say about the early years and how critical they are for further development.  In a speech entitled “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation,” he posed a simple question: “Children are our most precious resource.  In the end, they’re all we have.  And if we as a nation cannot prepare all children for learning and for life, then just what will bring America together?”  With the polarizing nature of American politics today, President Obama could have posed that same question to that nation two weeks ago.

Dr. Boyer’s speech was derived from a special report of the same name published in 1992 by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  The report outlined seven initiatives for school readiness.  The third priority had to do specifically with preschool education.  The Carnegie Foundation stated that every disadvantaged child is entitled to a good head start in a high quality preschool program.  In his speech, Dr. Boyer again challenged his audience, asking: “How is it that we [the United States] can spend $300 billion every year on national defense?  How is it that we can send space shuttles into orbit?  And never seem to have enough money for our children?”  The Carnegie Foundation’s report also wanted to recognize the importance of preschool teachers by raising their salaries, hopeful that doing so would also bring them respect.

President Obama perhaps said it best during his State of the Union address: “These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing – all these things will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs.  But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.  And that has to start at the earliest possible age.”  I think Dr. Boyer would agree.

Miss Rice

Page from Dr. Boyer's school scrapbook.

Think back to all the teachers you’ve ever had.  There may be a couple you are more than happy to forget about, but I’m sure there are a chosen few that rise to the top of the list.  If we’re really lucky almost everyone has at least one teacher they could never forget.  For me personally, I know I’ll never forget my very first teacher – Mrs. Bentz.  Thanks to her, I have very vivid memories of my experience in preschool. Mrs. Bentz ensured that each preschooler felt supported and loved and worthy of her attention. I can still recall the extremely specific feeling of joy after receiving praise from her.  I’d say she did her job right if I still have such fond memories of her after all these years, and I think Dr. Boyer would agree.

In fact, Dr. Boyer himself did not shy away from reminiscing about his former teachers. In a number of speaking engagements he recalled a night when he couldn’t fall asleep and instead of counting sheep, decided to count his past teachers.  Like most of us, one name in particular towered above them all – Miss Rice, his first grade teacher.

Here’s what Dr. Boyer had to say about his recollections of her:

On the first day of school she said, “Good morning class, today we learn to read.'” Those were the first words I ever heard in school. We spent all day on four words – “I go to school.”  We traced them, we sang them, we even prayed them.  I ran home that night ten-feet tall, and, announced proudly to my mother, “Today I learned to read.”  I doubt I had mastered decoding but I had been taught something much more fundamental.  Miss Rice had taught me that language is the centerpiece of learning.  Fifty years later, when I got around to trying to write a book called High School, I had a chapter right up front entitled “Literacy: The Essential Tool.”  And in our book on College, we have a chapter on the essentialness of language.  I say that to pay tribute to an unremembered first-grade teacher – Fairview Avenue Elementary School, Dayton, Ohio, 1930 – who said something of the foundations of formal learning and shakes my thinking to this day.  Great teachers live forever.

Miss Rice had no way of knowing that her presence in young Ernie Boyer’s life would be so monumental.  Nor could Mrs. Bentz say with certainty that her preschool students would remember her fondly as adults. These two women were simply doing their jobs and being great teachers.

To read more about Dr. Boyer’s experience as a first grader and his thoughts on acknowledging teachers read, “A Celebration of Teaching.”