Lawrence A. Kimpton, chancellor of the University of Chicago, last week compared aspects of the university which he heads to Harvard and found Chicago inferior. In a speech which created an uproar on the Chicago campus, the recently-installed Kimpton said specifically that "undergraduate life at Harvard is better rounded than at Chicago."
Kimpton, giving an informal talk before a group of students, said that Chicago undergraduates are "over-loaded" with course work, and that they should have more time for extra-curricular activities. It was in this context which he mentioned Harvard.
Furthermore, declared the successor to Robert Hutchins, college courses at Chicago are "too abstract and theoretical." Without further comment he affirmed that they should be in closer touch with reality.
Right after his reference to Harvard, Kimpton said that "The University community should have some traditionalism, some symbolism. We've gone too far the other way and overdone the intellectual side."
Kimpton castigated Chicago students for their over-emphasizing of the importance of grades. Terming this concern "fanatical," Kimpton pointed out that "A liberal education should elevate the mind beyond the point of worrying whether you get a C or an A."
The University chancellor was immediately answered by Maurice Cramer, chairman of the humanities department. Cramer was quoted by the Chicago Maroon as saying "it would not be easily possible for the humanities courses to be in any closer touch with the real and concrete since the theoretical in these courses exists as a means to apprehend the real and concrete. In any case, there is more of the real and concrete in the humanities than there is of the theoretical."
Kimpton had no reply to this.