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Year by Year     1898

Keystone Gazette June 24 1898, page 1 & 8

REV. J. P. HUGHES HIGHLY HONORED

He celebrates His 30th Year as Principal of the Academy.

PATTON AND ATHERTON

Make Eloquent and Learned Addresses - Ellis Orvis, Esq., Hon. John G. Love and J. W. Gephart Testify to the Efficiency of Prof. Hughes as Instructor - Elegant Reception in the Afternoon and a Brilliant Ball in the Evening.

"It has been the custom of the American people to wait until a good man passes into the great beyond and then tablets of stone and bronze tell of his greatness and goodness of character. The people of Bellefonte, however, reversed this ides on Tuesday, and in stead of waiting to place garlands of flowers upon Prof. James P. Hughes' casket they strewed them along his pathway so that their fragrance and beauty might be a testimony that his work in Bellefonte for the last thirty years was well done and appreciated. The occasion was the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Prof. Jetties P. Hughes as principal of the Bellefonte Academy, the oldest institution of the kind in the State. The idea of holding this celebration originated about one year ago and the project had been slowly developing until Tuesday, when it formed into one of the most brilliant social events that has taken place in Bellefonte for a good many years. It was a strong and fitting testimony to the worth and ability of Prof. Hughes, who has devoted his life to training the youths of this community and hundreds of others who arc scattered all over the United States. During those many years Prof. Hughes has labored amid trails and difficulties until to-day the Bellefonte Academy has no equal as a preparatory school and a stepping stone into our largest colleges end universities. Of Prof. Hughes it can be said "Well done, good and faithful servant."

The regular exercises of the day took place in the Presbyterian church at o'clock. The edifice was beautifully and elaborately decorated for the occasion with daisies, ferns and potted plants. Hidden behind a mass of flowers was Stopper & Fiske's orchestra, of Williamsport, and finer music was never heard in this place. The ceremonies were opened by an invocation by Rev. Dr. Laurie. On the pulpit platform were seated: In the centre, Ellis Orvis, Esq., chairman of the committee of arrangements and a State College graduate, who presented the different speakers; on his right were seated Dr. Patton and Rev. Hughes; on his heft Dr. Atherton and Rev. Dr.  Laurie.

The first speech was made by Ellis L. Orvis, Esq., chairman of the meeting, who was a student of the Academy and a graduate of Pennsylvania State College. After complimenting Prof. Hughes on his able work during the last thirty years, he gave a brief history of the Academy which was interesting, part of which was as follows: At an early date all the land now occupied by Bellefonte belonged to James Harris and James Dunlap. They gave the ground upon which all the public buildings were erected, among them being the academy. The county was incorporated Feb. 13, 1800, and Andrew Gregg, Robert Boggs and William Swanzay were appointed trustees of said county to receive from James Dunlap and James Harris land and money arising from the sale of lots, one moiety of which was for the support of the academy. The first meeting of the trustees was held the first Monday in May, 1805. On the 9th, of January, 1806, $2,000 was appropriated as an endowment for the academy. The academy was incorporated January 8, 1805, with Col. James Dunlap as president, with twenty four trustees representing nearly every township in the county. The first principal was Henry E. Wilson, pastor of the Bellefonte Presbyterian church. In 1810 Rev. James Linn became principal - the gentleman who served as the beloved pastor of the Bellefonte Presbyterian church for 58 years. In 1868 Prof. Hughes opened the school with only fifteen pupils; now the attendance numbers one hundred students - many of them being from a distance and board in the building, which has no equal in the State when it comes down to comfort and conveniences. It contains all the modern improvements, such as electric light and steam heat. The dormitories school room and new library are fine.

Mr. Orvis' speech was full of information and we are sorry that we cannot give it in full.

The next speaker was Hon. John G. Love of Bellefonte, who represented the board of trustees. The Judge gave a brief history of the institution and then in elegant and forceful words highly commended Prof. Hughes for the efficient work done here during the past thirty years.  He then directed the thoughts of his audience to education and in at brilliant and logical manner gave some practical ideas of how the youth of our land should be best educated In order to become good and useful citizens. He believes that athletics linked with education is the surest way to success, because without a sound body the student cannot be come proficient. To make anything of a child his training should begin early in life and by slow process rudiments of education should be drilled into the mind. The Judge emphatically denounced the barbarous practice of hazing, which is considered a pastime at many of other colleges and universities.

Dr. Francis P. Patton, president of Princeton University, New Jersey, was then introduced. It. was at once perceived that he was one of the most intellectual gentlemen of this generation, and it was esteemed a great pleasure by our people to listen to him. As president of a great college he paid a glowing tribute to the work being done by such institutions as the Bellefonte Academy, and assert that the only method by which a young man could pass success fully through the universities of our land was for hi m to lay a firm foundation in the preparatory school. In referring to the Bellefonte Academy Dr. Patton said it sent to Princeton some of the most thorough students of that institution.

J. W. Gephart, Esq., followed Dr. Patton. Mr. Gephart was one of the students to welcome Prof. Hughes when ho came here in 1868. It is a most pleasing coincidence that Mr. Gephart now has a son graduating from the institution at the close of the thirtieth year of Mr. Hughes' regime. The speaker expressed highest, appreciation of the work done and stated that the Academy was attaining a higher plane of usefulness and that still greater things may be expected of it. He further stated that Prof. Hughes was deserving of the title of Doctor of Laws.

Dr. George W. Atherton of the Pennsylvania State College, another of America's deep thinkers, was then called upon, for an address and responded in an eloquent manner. From the standpoint of a political economist as well as educator he traced the greatness of this country to the education of the young. He said the navy was full Deweys and Hobsons and that our nation was entering upon a great destiny - had passed from the small stage of sectionalism to become a tremendous power in international politics.

Rev. Mr. Hughes then arose, looking like a patriarch of old, and in a few happy words thanked the board of trustees, alumni, and Presidents Patton and Atherton for the honors conferred upon him and ended with a simple, yet impressive, "God bless you all."

This closed the exercises, a brief reception being held for those desiring to meet Mr. Patton.

The reception at the Academy after the service at the church was a delightful occasion and attended by a large number of guests and friends of the institution. Lunch was served while the orchestra entertained the patrons with entrancing music. The handsome edifice was thrown open and its many unique departments admired by everybody. The day's celebration was terminated with an assembly in the armory, it being the prettiest dance ever held in Bellefonte. The exercises of the day eclipsed those of any social event in Bellefonte for years, and Rev. Hughes can well be proud of the tribute paid him. His work is not ended, however, for there is not a man in Bellefonte as robust, considering his age. He will still hold the scepter at the academy and from present indications will "teach the young idea how to shoot" for many years to come.
One prominent feature of the day's proceedings was that Ellis Orvis, a former State College student, opened the exercises in the afternoon and they were closed by Dr. Atherton, president of State College, showing the close proximity of the two institutions.

The following are the names of the present board of trustees: Dr. Laurie, president; J. D. Shugert, Gen. James A. Beaver James Harris, Frank McCoy, A. 0. Furst, F. W. Crider, J. P. Harris, A. J. Cook, Clement Dale, Geo. L. Potter, Hon. John O. Love, C. M. Bower, J. W. Gephart, Andrew Brockerhoff, F. P. Green, Ellis L. Orvis, K. Rhoades, W. Fred Reynolds, Dr. George F. Harris, Harry Keller, John Blanchard, William Humes and J. Fearon Mann.

While the main purpose of Academy is to develop the minds and morals of its students, yet the physical side is not forgotten and to this end it has a foot ball team and a base ball club, which has been winning laurels right along. Hence the celebration of the memorable day was opened with a game of ball at 10 a. m. between the regular Academy team and the alumni."

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