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 Never Judge A Book by Its Cover

斯坦福大学的由来


A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president of Harvard’s outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods country folk had no business at Harvard, and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned. “We want to see the president,” the man said softly. “He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped. “We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president. “Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she told him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with nobodies, but he detested gingham and homespun suits cluttering his office. 

The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, “We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard, and was very happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him somewhere on campus.” The president wasn’t touched, and she was shocked. “Madam,” he said gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.” 

“Oh, no “the lady explained quickly, “We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to Harvard.” The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, and then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard!” 

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?” Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. And Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. 

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them. 

  斯坦福大学的由来 

  火车到达波士顿时,一位身穿褪色条纹棉布衣服的女士和穿着手工纺织西服的丈夫下了车。并没有事先约定,他们有些胆怯地走进哈佛大学校长的办公室外间。秘书一眼就可以看出这些来自于不发达的边远地区的人跟哈佛不会有什么关系,或者甚至没资格到剑桥来。她皱了皱眉头。“我们想见校长,” 那位男士轻声说。“他可能一天都挺忙的,”秘书不客气地说。“我们可以等,”那位女士回答说。

  在接下来的几个小时里,秘书没再理睬他们,她希望这对夫妇最后会因为气馁而离开,但他们一直没有离开。没办法,秘书只能打扰一下校长。“也许他们只是想见您几分钟,然后就会离开的,”她对校长说。他重重地叹了口气并点了点头。一个像他这么重要的人物显然不会有什么时间来见他们。但他觉得条纹棉布和手纺西服在他办公室里碍眼,只想快点打发他们。

  校长威严的脸上表情僵硬,面对这对夫妇时趾高气扬。那位女士对他说:“我们有个儿子在哈佛上了一年学。他爱哈佛,在学校非常快乐。但大约在一年前,他死于一次事故。我们希望能在学校里的某处建点什么东西纪念他。”令她惊讶不已的是,校长并没有一丝感动。“夫人,”他粗声粗气地说,“我们没法为每一个到哈佛来读书并且死去的人都建一个纪念雕像。那样的话,学校就会变成一个墓地。”

  “哦,不是的,”那位女士马上解释道,“我们并不是想建一个雕像,我们想捐一栋楼给哈佛。”校长翻了翻眼睛。他瞥了条纹棉布和手纺西服一眼,接着厉声说道:“一座建筑!你们对一座建筑需要多少钱有一点点概念吗?哈佛有超过750万美元的建筑!!”

  女士沉默了。校长很高兴,他终于可以摆脱他们了。女士转过身去低声对她丈夫说:“那就是一座大学所需要的资金吗?那我们为什么不自己建一座呢?”她丈夫点了点头。校长脸上没了骄傲的神情,充满了困惑。利兰?斯坦福夫妇离去了。他们在加州的帕罗奥多市建立了一所大学,以他们的名字命名――以纪念不为哈佛关心的他们的儿子。

  你可以很容易从一个人对待跟他们没什么关系的人的态度来判断他的品格。

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