I’ve become fascinated with this man for a number of reasons, one of them being his key role in the development of community colleges. To put it simply, this kid from New Concord, Ohio revolutionized the world’s idea of higher learning. He had a clear understanding of what it took to free the mind – to let it fly to new heights – and he lived each day making sure other people came to the same understanding, or at least had the opportunity. William didn’t waste an hour. He went to sleep only after “having endeavored to use the day to the fullest.” Call it a clever hunch on his part, call it the protestant work ethic, either way life didn’t give him much time.
Cancer claimed William Rainey Harper at the age of 49, not even fifty.