The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 191
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William Carey Crane and the University of Texas
must be unique. Indeed it was unique, for in the New York
Plan the state university was not a university at all in the usual
sense. Actually, the state university was a composite of all the
universities, colleges, and academies in the state which could
meet the approval of a board of regents. The board of regents,
nineteen in number, and serving without pay, were presumably
men of high character, chosen for life by the state legislature.
They would have the power to allocate funds from the sale of
university lands, appropriated by the legislature for that pur-
pose, to the various schools in the state, according to a definite
code, including grade, equipment, faculty, and number of stu-
dents as factors for consideration. In essence, then, the New
York Plan was one of state aid to private and denominational
A brief survey of Crane's early training and later experience
as an educator makes his enthusiasm for such a plan less sur-
prising. He received a major portion of his formal education at
Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution, a school which
has gained greater prominence in subsequent years as Colgate
University. The New York state-aid plan, of which Hamilton
Institution was a part, was a child of the union itself. As early
as 1784, the plan had been put into operation in the midst of
that probationary period of free government under the Articles
of Confederation. Revised in the same year which produced the
constitution of the United States, the system has thence served,
with occasional modifications, since the beginning of higher edu-
cation in that state.
Prior to the Civil War, private schools in the state of Louis-
iana likewise received aid from the state. In the course of his
public career which beckoned him from Mississippi to Texas,
Crane served as president of Mount Lebanon University in
Louisiana. In these two important instances, Crane had intimate
knowledge of the workings of a state-aid plan.
Crane firmly believed that small schools, especially denomina-
tional schools, were the best in America. At the same time, how-
ever, his long administrative experience had taught him many
cruel lessons in the capricious, and as often precarious, financing
of such institutions. Had not his principal task since coming to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/251/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.