AS early as 1896, President Angell said in his annual report: "It would be of value to us to have a small fund, as many universities have, with which to bring scholarly lecturers on special topics before our classes." This suggestion was not carried out until fifteen years had passed, but in the meantime there were sporadic references in the Proceedings of the Regents to requests from members of the faculty for small appropriations to defray the expenses of lectures by specifically named visiting scholars. These were usually granted, but on some occasions, unfortunately, the money was not forthcoming, for lack of funds. In the summer of 1908 John R. Effinger, Dean of the Summer Session, and Secretary Edward H. Kraus had organized a regular series of afternoon lectures for the benefit of the students. The success of these lectures undoubtedly led to a reconsideration of the idea expressed by President Angell.
At the meeting of the faculty of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts on March 7, 1910, upon a motion by Professor William H. Hobbs, a committee of five was raised to report to the faculty a memorial addressed to the Board of Regents asking that the sum of $1,000 be set aside for the purpose of securing eminent nonresident lecturers. Accordingly, Professors William H. Hobbs, Fred M. Taylor, Joseph L. Markley, Fred N. Scott, and Lawrence S. Bigelow were appointed to present this memorial, of which an action taken by the Regents at their June meeting in 1911 was presumably the result. At that time $1,000 was added to the budget for the purpose of securing lectures by distinguished scholars, with expenditures Page 334to be made at the discretion of the president on recommendation of a committee of three members of the faculty. This money was to be available for lectures in any department of the University.
An appropriation of this nature, but of varying amount, has been included in the budget of each year mentioned since 1911, and the lectures have come to be called "University lectures." It is understood that the lectures so provided are to be regarded as a part of the instructional program of the several departments, though admission is always free and open to any student, teacher, or other person who desires to attend. The allotment of sums from the budget account, on request of the departments of instruction, is still made in the President's Office, but practical difficulties have made it impossible to organize the University lectures as a series with a fixed program of dates and lecturers. Ordinarily between twenty and thirty University lecturers come to Ann Arbor in the course of a year. The majority are professors or research scholars from other universities, American or foreign, but explorers, writers, and men in public life are also included in their numbers. The University lectures, it is believed, fulfill a useful purpose in permitting both students and faculty to see and hear eminent men of the time, and to get from them new and authoritative points of view upon questions of various kinds.