Last week, we introduced a gem from the North Dakota Quarterly archives, a reader compiled by Elizabeth Hampsten and Stephen Dilks in 1997. The NDQ Reader Volume 1 features a carefully curated selection of material from the first 86 years of the NDQ.
Over the next few months, we’ll be releasing links to the various selections in the reader starting with an article from the first issue of NDQ in September of 1910. Titled “The Two-Fold Function of the University” and written by noted Canadian physicist Frank Allen from the University of Manitoba, the article is the text of a speech delivered at the installation of Frank McVey, the University of North Dakota’s 4th president.
Allen makes a compelling and contemporary argument for the structure of the modern university which he grounded both in history and in his own experiences at Cornell and the University of Manitoba. For Allen, the university has two functions: the creation of knowledge and the dissemination of knowledge. The former is embodied in research and creative activities and the latter in teaching. The former benefits the world and the future, and the latter benefits its constituents (or as we’d call them today “stakeholders) most proximately and immediately.
In the early 20th century, as UND was rapidly modernizing under the presidencies of Frank McVey (1909-1917) and Thomas Kane (1918-1933), projects like North Dakota Quarterly were consistent with the profile, responsibilities, and philosophy of the emerging class of public universities with professional faculty, ambitious middle class students, and a growing sense of their place in the economic, intellectual, and civic development of the nation, state, and local communities. This article from the archives is a thoughtful expression of the moment which gave birth to both NDQ and the modern university.