“Our Alumnae” Proceedings and Addresses of the Alumni
Jubilee and the Semi-Centennial Commencement of
Hanover College published by the Bohemian in 1883
by Rev. Dr. Irwin

          When asked a few moments ago to respond to this toast, in place of brother Torrance, I was calculating upon the inspiration of the ladies and the presence of the lady graduate — I find she is absent, and therefore my speech is absent. I know that this is a new department in the history of Hanover College, and I had hoped that the lady who was honored as the first graduate of the College in this department would be present with us to-day. Why she is not, I cannot understand.

          But, sir, while we have differences in regard to this great subject of coeducation, I cannot but express my conviction and my delight, that all over this land there is a healthy sentiment in regard to the education of the women, that the education of our females to-day is broader, more substantial than in the former history of our land. We are indebted to these ladies for so much of our comfort and our happiness, that if I had one sex to educate, it should be the girls, the women; for, elevate woman, and you elevate man, educate woman, and you educate the race, and with the education of the woman, we could make out of the next generation a happier, more useful and a broader-minded people. I was thinking, while you were speaking of the benefactors of Hanover College, that Hanover College is indebted to the women — we are indebted for that which we enjoy to-day, as the Alumni of this Institution, to the women; we are indebted very largely to the prayers and the self-denying efforts and the consecration of the noble Christian women, the wives of the members of the Faculty, and mothers who sent their sons here and followed them with their prayers and their earnest longings — we are indebted largely to the women for that which we enjoy as a college.

          I have no further remarks to make, sir, than these, but I trust that upon the part of this Institution, there will be a wider and more growing interest in the education of the women of our homes, and that, while we open our colleges to them and let them sit side by side with our sons in recitations, and share in all the honors of the colleges, we will remember the responsibilities which rest upon the women of our land, and seek by our sympathy and our helpfulness in every department to broaden their views and to increase their faculties for usefulness.