The president of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, Charles Phelps Taft II, son of William Howard Taft and the former director of economic affairs at the State Department, addressed the Class of 1947 at Commencement.  Taft, whose daughter Lucia was among the graduates, said that economics and economic concerns had come to dominate the spiritual, intellectual, political and commercial life of the country “to a degree that is positively dangerous.”  “Marx’s economic determinism” he said, “has nearly conquered us, and economics has become to most of us the rock of our salvation.  Our obsession is with production, or else with the economic reform of what production has brought about.”

Taft urged the graduates not to overlook the economic elements entirely but to allow the “spiritual element” or the “mental” element to be active rather than passive in their considerations of problems and solutions.  “The Christian faith,” he declared, “and the Christian spirit is the essential lubricant for the successful working of any economic system, but the most essential for our free system.  It is the very heart of our democracy.”

President Blanding conferred the bachelor’s degree on 272 members of the Class of 1947, and in her charge to the class she said that application of their college training required moral fiber as well as intellectual curiosity.  A master’s degree in arts and two in science were also granted.     The New York Times