Letter from M.A. Harris, Dean, Elmira College, to Alfred E. Stearns, April 12, 1928


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Letter from M.A. Harris, Dean, Elmira College, to Alfred E. Stearns, April 12, 1928


Letter from M.A. Harris, Dean, Elmira College, to Alfred E. Stearns, April 12, 1928


My dear Mr. Stearns:

I think you are exactly right in regard to Mary Sun. Nobody here doubts that she has ability. Our doubt is in regard to her interest. Is it not possible that her father might be induced to approve of a shift in her college course which would allow her to do what a number of American girls are doing here. The course they take is a five year course. If Mary took it it would be necessary for her to work three more years. The five year course specializes here at the college in Physical Sciences and allows the student to take practical work and instruction at the Arnot Ogden Hospital so that at the close of the fifth year they are able to graduate with a B. S. degree from this college and to take their diploma in nursing at the hospital. This program calls for summer appointments at the hospital and is likely to take also other vacations but the girls who are taking the course are full of enthusiasm and do not seem to grudge the time that is stolen from what would otherwise be recreation. If Mary Sun’s people desire for her the advantages of a thorough college education and if they are willing to compromise with her in the way I suggest it may be that her problem will be solved. If you are in correspondence with her parents or can bring pressure to bear through other friends in China it seems to me that a very great kindness would be done both to the family and to Mary. If something of this kind can be arranged I think that so far as the college is concerned Miss Sun’s present low stand work will be overlooked in the hope of better results next year. If something of this kind cannot be done it seems to me unjust to the girl and her classmates and the college for the present situation to continue.

Our president, Dr Frederick Lent, is and has been for some weeks quite ill so that it is and has been impossible to report any college matters to him. I feel however that he is likely to approve the plan I suggest and I shall be interested to hear what you, who know more about the conditions at Miss Sun’s home, regard as possible.

Very cordially yours,


M.A. Harris


Phillips Academy


April 12, 1928


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