Mr. Chips Meets Dr. Bill: The War for the Soul of American Higher Education

One of the most enduring books of the last century was James Hilton’s 1934 novel Goodbye Mr. Chips. It told the story of Arthur Chipping, a shy but dedicated man who taught at an all-male academy in England. While Mr. Chips did not teach in a college, his professorial demeanor can easily serve as the symbol of a black robed sage who placed education and character formation ahead of ideology and indoctrination. One need only contrast the tradition fixture of Arthur Chipping next to that of the radical professors of today, such as Dr. William (Bill) Ayers to see what has happened to higher education.