The colleges of the country are sinking in tone, lower & lower, in accordance with the opinion & manners of the people—I mean of what is considered even the best educated portion of the people. Practical ability, physical science, knowledge that may promote success in the great & absorbing ambition of all—making money—are now immensely prized & preferred to literature, philosophy, & art. Parents wish to see their sons successful men of business, not scholars & gentlemen, & to gratify this desire the colleges are reducing their standard of excellence & admitting the natural sciences to the foremost place among the studies prescribed.
Sidney George Fisher, 18 December 1869
A Philadelphia Perspective: The Diary of Sidney George Fisher, edited by Nicholas B. Wainwright (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1967), 556.