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By REV. JOHN P. BKAUlEY, ^resident
By way of an amusing and clever parable, Rolfe
Neill, Publisher of The Charlotte Observer, recently
showed in his column how governments and their
bureaucrats strive to persuade people that, despite the
common sense adage to the contrary, there is after all
such a thing as a free lunch. Now most of us, I am sure,
Mr. Neill included, are not, against free lunches, if they
really are free with no strings attached. And surely
here at Belmont Abbey College we have plenty of real
live evidence that there are still people around whose
Christianity provides the incentive to work for the good
of others without being paid to do so-recently it was
calculated that each Benedictine who works in the
Coll ege contributes an average of some $7,000 every
year to the education of our students. What Mr. Neill, I
assume, and many others of us, resent is the attempt to
persuade us by the abstruse trickery of some prac
titioners of the dismal science, economics, that this or
that is free when in fact it is not. Interestingly, I read
recently in an article by a Cambridge don who taught
at King’s College, Cambridge, when Lord Keynes was
there, that Keynes made arrangements for a change in
the status of a part of King’s College’s endowment, and
the result was that the College suffered substantial
economic loss. One would think that after the dismal
experience Britain has suffered from the dabbling of
academic economists in the running of their country
everyone should by this time be well warned about the
perils of such dabbling.
As I read Mr. Neill’s piece, the thought occurred to
me that we do indeed live in strange times, but I
believe that most people, despite the dedication of
politicians to the spending of money we don’t have, still
don’t really appreciate anything they get for nothing,
unless, of course, it is a personalized gift motivated by
love, respect, etc. Indeed, I believe that this is one of
two traits common to most people: the other trait is
this: most people want to help others get the benefits
they themselves got when they needed them.
With regard to the first contention, namely, that
people don’t really appreciate anything they get for
nothing, I am sure many illustrations of this could be
found. But one stands out in my mind perhaps because
it was told me years ago by a dear friend and respected
colleague, the late Howard “Humpy” Wheeler, after
whom the College gymnasium is named. During World
War II, Humpy was an officer in the Navy, and among
his other duties he was responsible for the crew’s
recreational facilities while at sea. He told me that he
was particularly proud one time of being able to obtain
a well publicized recently issued movie for showing to
the crew. He had posters printed announcing the
showing of the movie and in large letters at the foot of
the poster appeared the line: ADMISSION FREE. To
Humpy’s utter astonishment, very few showed up for
the movie. After thinking this over. Humpy decided he
would show the same movie again. He had new posters
printed, but with two changes: the new date of the
showing and, this time, at the foot of the poster ap
peared the line: admission 25 cents. “That did it,”
Humpy said. “This time there were no vacant seats.”
Two stories may serve to illustrate the second
contention, namely, that most people want to help
others get the same benefits they themselves got when
they needed them. The first story was told recently at
the Alumni Weekend dinner here at the College 1^ Mr.
Ty Boyd, the speaker that evening. Ty told of a'series
of small huts dispersed a number of miles apart in the
snow-and ice-bound Yukon. Each hut, he told us, has a
stove and a supply of firewood. On the wall above the
firewood there is a notice saying that there is no charge
for the use of the hut, but that the user is asked to
replenish the firewood supply for the benefit of others
coming after him. Evidently this request is
A second illustration was provided by a lady who has
spent many years on the Board of a Foundation which
gives financial aid to assist needy and worthy students
to obtain a college education. She told me that the
Foundation decided a number of years ago to have the
beneficiaries sign a form promising to reimburse the
Foundation if they are ever able to do so, in order that
others coming after them would get the same benefits
they got. This did not imply any legal obligation, but
simply underlined the ageless wisdom of the Golden
Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto
you.” The lady told me that the response to this over
the years has been excellent; so good, in fact, that
other Foundations, impressed by the record, have
written for information with a view to adopting a
It should be no surprise that reflection on these
matters led me to wonder why colleges and univer
sities have not, as far as I know, paid much attention to
the two human traits I have been discussing. Ad
mittedly, I have wondered frequently about many
things colleges and universities do or don’t do.
Nevertheless, since administrators in private colleges
know well that throughout the nation students on
average pay no more than 70 percent of the actual cost
of their education, one would think that the students
should be told this. Yet, as far as I know, they are not
told this and in my experience students have very little
knowledge, if any, about the difference between the
price they pay and the actual cost of their college
education. Similarly, the students in the public sector
should be told that they pay a very small percentage of
the actual cost of their education and that the dif
ference is picked up by the taxpayer, and also, in
creasingly nowadays, through the public institution’s
vigorous pursuit of private gifts. If students, whether
at private or public institutions of higher education,
are not given this important informat’on, they are
deprived of the opportunity to exercise the human
traits discussed above. In the Epistle to the Romans,
there is a verse asking if people do not hear about Jesus
Christ, how can they believe in Him? If students do not
hear of the”^great benefits they receive from others,
why should we expect that later on in their lives, if they
are in a position to help others obtain the benefits they
got, they will be eager to do so?
Consequently, I have asked the Business Office at
Belmont Abbey College to make a recommendation on
how best to inform students and-or their parents about
this most important matter, a way that would I) show
the actual cost of the students’ education; 2) show the
much smaller figure they have to pay; 3) show in as
suitable a manner as possible how the College provides
or proposes to provide the difference between the price
they pay and the actual cost so that the budget can be
balanced. Apart from anything else, this would
educate the students on an important fact of life, viz.,
how, in some detail, they are provided with an
education and how much actual help from others they
have received~an important part, one would think, of
the students’ education for life. At the same time it
would give the students an appreciation for the
generous donors who help to make their education
possible and might prompt some of them to write a
thank-you letter to certain contributors, something I
believe contributors would treasure much more highly
than the most eloquently worded letter of gratitude
from a college president.
Similarly, it seems to me that public universities and
colleges should provide their students with this kind of
information, particularly since, generally speaking,
they pay a much smaller percentage of the actual cost
than do students in the private sector and have,
therefore, more to be thankful for.
Finally, since the public colleges and universities are
public, this kind of information should be given not only
to the students, but should also be well publicized so
that the public whose taxes pay for so much of the
actual cost are informed in some detail about the use to
which their tax dollars are being put. This kind of
information might help them to understand why
President Friday has had to request a one billion-dollar
budget for public education during the next biennium.
This kind of information might also cause them to ask
themselves how much more than one billion dollars
President Friday would need for his budget if the 38
private colleges and universities in North Carolina had
to close their doors.
(Cont. From P. 4)
Snock, Bernard C., Rev.;
Underwood, Jack R.
Cornell ‘D’ Echert,
Blaise; Mashourn, John
D., Jr.; Ross, Michael;
Salem, John M.;
Wheeler, Royden J., Jr.
Collins, David L.;
Cybrynski, Robert C.;
Fadel, Sam; Harrington,
Stonewall J.; Hiter,
William W.; Kerr,
William E.; Littrell,
William L.; Maher, Brian
P.; Neagle, Joe A.; Ros,
Bard, William R.;
Carroll, Thurston, D.
Cusick, Patrick A.
Gruenther, Alfred M.
Hoyle, Leonard L.
Huggins, Grady F.
Long, Virginia B.
• CROSSROADS - Page 5
Ringler, Charles A.;
Schraudt, George E., Ill;
Smith, Andrew J., Sr.;
Stewart, William A., Jr.;
Tangredi, Abert J.
Baumer, Thomas M.
Carroll, James M.
Hannan, John J
Jenkins, Robert J
Leffler, Carl 1
Leonard, John W., J:
McCorry, Peter C
Pettit, Jerry E.; Shan
non, Eugene H.; Sum
mers, Robert J.
Hand, Edward L.;
Kale, Dan E.; Kincaid,
Bonnie M.; Lytte, James
R.; Murray, John V.;
Schmitt, Robert A.;
Segars, Otis L.; Sallitto,
Richard C.; Steen,
Robert B.; Stowe,
Richard P.; Sullivan,
Shaun V.; Tuller,
Wili am E.
Aguirre, J. Edward,
Jr.; Cox, James L.; Fox,
Melvyn M.; Gallagher,
Patrick L.; Gulledge,
Emmett C.; Husemann,
Brenda G.; Johnson,
Genevieve H.; Jcnes,
John R.; Korte, John B.;
Kuhn, Joseph D.; Lanier
James R., Jr.
Larrazabal, Luis JG
Lawing, Arnold O., Jr.
Miller, Donald C.
O’Brien, Michael P.
Plageman, David D.
Ross, C. Eugene; Ryan,
Rose Gregorg, Sister;
Schrum, Jacob P.
Stanley, W. Dallas
Wilkins, James H.;
Williams, Virginia W.
Devany, William K.;
Elmore, Eugene L.;
Hawkins, J.W.; Knight,
Francis W.; Lund,
George Edward, III;
A.; McGuinness, John J.;
Reaney, William P.;
Shardella, Rocco A.;
Spotts, John C.; Taylor,
Albert J., Jr.; Torma,
Carey, Ann Carol;
Clapp, Donald C.;
Daughtry, Russell J.;
Daw, Charles W., Ill;
Falck, William E.; John,
R. Burke; Lange,
Michael D.; Murray,
Lawrence B.; Reese,
William W., Jr.; Scott,
Paul M.; Stevens, James
E., Jr.; Tabet, John S.;
Talbott, Donald E.
Boags, Martin A., Bro.;
Burrell, Ray G.; Canyes,
Michael B.; Driscoll,
Stephen P.; Edmonds,
William H., Jr.; Hern
don, Aubrey H., Jr.,
Lalley, Michael J.
Lapham, Harry F., Jr.
Maher, Joseph V.
McCluskey, Jerome P.
Prather, James K.
Ranken, Paul F.
Sailliez, Charles S.
Shaffer, Robert J.
Spates, Thomas H., Jr.
(Cont. On P. 6)