From remarks by Timothy S. Healy, S.J., president of Georgetown University, to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities:
We have all been told since childhood that we can't have our cake and eat it, too. In education in America, however, we have always refused to believe it. In higher education we have spent 100 years making our cake so big that it both keeps and eats. From City University of New York to Berkeley, from Texas to Chicago, we have built at least eight world-class universities and more than a dozen contenders for that status. We have 50 colleges that are as good as anything Oxford, Cambridge, or London have, and I am taking a conservative view.
Our system educates more of this nation's citizens than any system in any nation has ever attempted in all man's history. Witness to what we have done is borne by one people who do not take a conservative view and are also not noted for friendliness to either institutions or our way of life. In 14 or 15 American universities, we are now training all of the next decades' scientific aristocracy for the People's Republic of China. These students on our ground bear massive tribute, not to democracy, because that isn't why they come and not to all us charming professors, because that also isn't why they come. They are a tribute to the university system we have built--to its scholarship, its skill, its care. Any tribute from an enemy is impressive.
The Chinese come to pick our brains and can go away content with that. They are not responsible for the system they use. We, on the other hand, have to care about that system. Everything we have is built on a careful set of balances, some of which are always at risk.