Professor Robert Van HorneOn May 6, 1921 The Collegian Reporter of Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, presented its readers a compilation of Classic Classroom Remarks by Professor Robert Van Horne, head of the Department of Mathematics. To quote from the article:

"No professor in Morningside is a dispenser of more sound common sense philosophy in his class room than Prof. Robert Van Horne, head of the department of mathematics.   The students who take work under 'Van', as he is affectionately known, learn math -- and then some.   The personality of this professor will never be forgotten."
"A major student in mathematics, Eva Shelton, agreed last fall, by request of the editor, to copy down during the year some of the choicest and most typical "Vanisms."   We are publishing them here just as Miss Shelton reported them and they are bona fide. They were made entirely at random, and nobody will be more surprised to see them in print than Professor Van Horne himself.   Some are not intended to have a point, but are merely "pet" phrases typical of the speaker.   Many, however, are epigrams worthy of the wisest sage in the country and contain precepts, which, if followed conscientiously, should insure any man success."

Here are a few of his epigrams. An image (300K) of the entire article is available here.

Don't be stuck on the same thing all the time.
Get over it and get stuck on something else.

The farther back in a book you go the deeper it is,
with exception of a song book.

The older we are, the more cautious we are about saying,
'It cannot be'.

There's a tremendous amount of action going on in the universe.
I'm supposed to teach Calculus this hour.

I want to tell you, 'the study of mathematics clears up superstition'.

If you can make your errors systematically it's all right.

Right there (the conception of zero) is where the ancients spent 300 years and we pass it over without a thought.

If you've got books, time and inclination,
anybody can dig out for himself.

Build on what you know.

Time, patience and perseverance overcome all things.

I don't care how many brains you have, or how much you know; give me a student who likes his subject and the rest is a function of time.

The plodder is the fellow I have sympathy for.

Threat of failure is a standard bluff of a teacher.

Trying to load it on, in my judgment, is the ear mark of an inexperienced teacher.

I'm the watchman on the tower. I blow the horn to tell that the enemy's around. The fellow may wake up or not, just as he pleases.

The function of a college is to take humanity and introduce it to knowledge in general.

Give it to him in a healthy, accurate way so he can be an independent thinker.

Give the mind time to adjust itself.

When you're through with college
you've just been to preparatory school.

Of course, you don't understand it all.
That's what the coming years are for.

You're remembering all these little tricks?

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