#43: The final decision (1925)

"Our trustees in Boston had taken action authorizing and desiring me to make a special trip to America when decisions as to main questions seemed to us to be growing clearer, but it was March before my wife and I could leave for America, with Mr. Getchell again to act as President in my absence. On the first day of April, 1925, we reached New York, and soon thereafter were in Boston, where we expected first of all to meet our associates, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Riggs. Alas for the ways of Providence that are beyond our understanding! Theodore Riggs had suffered from an attack of tuberculosis when in College but seemed to have fully recovered in Colorado, and with training and experience both in law and in business, knowing the Near East from boyhood and admirably fitted to handle the business and legal matters for the College, had been stricken with influenza and his system failed to carry him through the process of recovery. April 11, instead of sharing in the counsel of my associate as to our common task, I was called upon to share in his funeral service, with a great burden of sorrow for his wife and their five little children.

Workers fall--but the work must go on. At 14 Beacon Street there was a friendly hearing for my message but not a finished plan. One of the officials warned me that I must be prepared for disappointment; trustees were always conservative and in any case would hesitate to effect a permanent withdrawal from Turkey and an entire rebuilding of the whole Anatolia enterprise. I saw individual members of the Board of Trustees and other supporters and friends as I might find or make an opportunity to do so; and the trustee meeting was called for May 26. Dr. James L. Barton, then as always a leading spirit, took an encouraging attitude, when some of our trustees representing a common attitude said, "I hae me doots". When the trustees met May 26 there were twelve voting members present. They listened to my statement and discussed some points with me. I had fifty pages in different documents ready for use on any point if wanted. When the vote was taken it was unanimous; twelve votes in favor of proceeding with the Anatolia College enterprise in Thessaloniki! I think I never was so tired in my life.

After the meeting one of our officers said to me with a confidential smile that the Trustees were chiefly relying on me to lead in efforts for funds with which to rebuild and carry on the institution. And that was my next task, always under their authority and with their cooperation and support. One of the Trustees, resident in another city, said to me, "You'll have to take the initiative, but a lot of us want to help you."

NEXT: New grounds (1926)