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FIRST PROVOST HAS LAST WORD -- IN STONE

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   “Education is learning to use the tools which the race has found indispensable.”

   Anyone who has attended an event in Royce Hall has undoubtedly wondered about this anonymous inscription over the auditorium’s proscenium arch.

   These words have not been without controversy. They were placed over the arch by architect David Allison, and originated from a suggestion that Provost Ernest Carroll Moore gave to Allison when the architect was building a hall at UCLA’s first home, the Normal School on Vermont Avenue.

   Allison, however, never consulted Moore about including the inscription in Royce Hall, nor did he receive authorization to do so from University of California President William C. Campbell, which would have been the proper course.

   Campbell was not pleased. He objected strongly to the “English composition and the educational philosophy represented by the inscription,” and he wrote Moore that several “learned friends” agreed with his stance.

   But by then it was too late. Moore’s words were literally set in stone. Moore apologized, but not without adding in his reply to Campbell that using “tools” such as art, music, literature, philosophy, religion “or any idealistic subject” as “aids and means to the performing of the work of life É makes them of worth to use. And that I most profoundly believe.”

   Moore wasn’t quick to forget the president’s criticism. In “I Helped Make a University”  published decades later  he wrote: “I stick to the motto of the university over the proscenium arch in Royce Hall.”                           

 

Copyright 1998 UCLA Today
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