The change in the name of Dudley House and the appointment of its first Master last autumn were important steps in the evolving history of the non-resident student at Harvard College.
The question of the commuting student has been the subject of more than twenty-five years of discussion at Harvard, and as recently as a few years ago, there were still those who felt the special "problem" of the commuter could best be resolved simply by allowing the Houses to adopt all non-residents.
Happily for Harvard and for the non-resident the reaction to this proposal was negative, and the decision has been made to allow the non-resident to keep his special place in the College with his own individuality and his own House. It is now the task of the Administration and the non-residents, working together, to seek ways to improve life of the non-resident in the College. Despite the failure to date of our appeal for funds to build a center for commuters worthy of the name "House," this goal is still very much in mind. If Harvard's ambitious plans materialize for the Dunster-Holyoke block, the need for a new commuter center will be even more imperative.
Our non-residents are an important undergraduate group who, more than ever, provide a significant link with the people and activities of Greater Boston. It is good for a university, no matter how national in scope, to keep its roots in a community. Of course, it would be ideal if all students coming here could afford the cost of a full-residential experience and if we had a place for them in our dormitories. But in this less than the best of all possible worlds we sometimes have to compromise. Our present arrangement for commuters seems to me a good one, and we may hope that it can be further extended in the future.