A Tribute to Clarence Hagerty

“Oldest Professor Secures Leave”
The Round-Up, Vol. 18, No. 1

Thirty-three years. The span of the average life. Too long a time for most of us to consider. Way back before we students ever sw the light of day. Way ahead past our hopeful dreams of the future. Thirty-three years! A long, long time!

Stop to consider what was happening during the five-year period between twenty-eight and thirty-three years ago: Harrison was succeeded by McKinley in the Free Gold fight. Coxey’s army was marching. Peary started on his first trip to the Arctic. Roentgen discovered the x-ray, and somebody found gold in the Klondike. Tennyson, Whittier, Walt Whitman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Robert Louis Stevenson were still in the land of the living. The first telephone was established between London and Paris. The first electricity was generated at Niagara. The Chicago World’s Fair was going full blast. And Diaz was ruling with an iron hand in Old Mexico. History, most of it, is it not? A long time ago, a time past the memory of youth and slipping from the memory of age.

And yet, just thirty-three years ago a man, full of the fiery energy of youth, imbued with a keen sense of his duty toward our country at large and toward this state in particular, dedicated his life to the youth of New Mexico; dedicated his every effort to the stupendous task of building a college of repute in the then practically uncivilized West, and of doing his share in seeing that the youth of our state, the youth of our nation, should not be called upon to face the world lacking in knowledge, or in the high standards and ideals of fairness, morality and honor for which they are renowned. Thirty-three years ago, fellow students, faculty members, and members of the Board, Professor C. T. Hagerty enrolled at this institution as teacher in mathematics.

Through thirty-three years of continuous service, thru thick and thin, thru good times and bad this man has pursued untiringly his noble work in a righteous cause. under his expert tutelage hundreds of men and women of all classes, of all grades of intelligence have passed, emerging better men and women, better mathematicians, more logical thinkers, and, greatest of all — for after all, that is the most valuable boon one can derive from contact with right-thinking preceptors — far better citizens. A record of which men who have gained much greater fame and far wider reputation night well be proud. A service the equal of which few men can boast.

And now at the end of a generation of rendering such a service, of gradually building up such a record, Professor Hagerty has been rewarded, if not in a manner altogether commensurate with his accomplishments, nevertheless in the only fitting manner to which our Board has access. To any fair-minded individual, to any individual with the slightest particle of appreciation in his system, it is self evident that the fitting reward for such service as Mr. Hagerty has rendered is a pension and a place on our faculty as Professor Emeritus of Mathematics. But unfortunately, we may say surprisingly, there has been no fund established in the state out of which pensions can be paid. We are informed that an effort has been made in that direction, and that within a very few years, possibly this year, it is quite probable that such a fund will be established. So we must content ourselves, for the present only, be it understood, with the reward which has been proffered our oldest and best loved instructor, and which he has accepted — namely, a year’s leave of absence.

Professor Hagerty–An AppreciationA.A. Sungart

Editor’s Note: The life of a noble man has always been a source of inspiration and influence over the lives of those with whom he came into contact. The students of John Carroll cannot think of him without feeling the thrill of a great character whose mellowed smile masked a nobility of purpose and an indomitable will as he moved among us. He was an ideal teacher–analytical, scientific, accurate, kindly and inspiring. His friends of the faculty deeply feel what the loss of his death means to them, and the editor takes this opportunity to make this column the medium for the beautiful tribute paid to him by a colleague.Professor Clarence T. Hagerty is dead. He came to us at Carroll in the fall of 1925. During these six years he became acquainted with every teacher and almost every student in the Arts department. In a small college this spirit of fellowship is more in evidence than it would be in a larger institution. It has always been a tradition at Carroll for the teachers and students to know each other outside the precincts of the classroom. Professor Hagerty lived up to this tradition. He was always willing to spend an extra half-hour with his students over a difficulty in Trigonometry.

The lay faculty at John Carroll constitutes a unique group. There are nine of us now–there were ten with Professor Hagerty. We have a little room on the second floor, where between classes the ills of the world are diagnosed and prescribed for. Perhaps nowhere will be found a more congenial group of co-workers. Professor Hagerty was one of us. On rare occasions he would regale us with stories of the West. For thirty-three years he had taught mathematics at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. He had much that he might have told us, but with his characteristic modesty it was only after considerable questioning that he would relate some of his many experiences. Again, he would tell us of his student days at Notre Dame and refresh our memories with portraits of Charles Warren Stoddard and Maurice Francis Egan.

There is an empty chair at our little round table since he has gone. We knew him as a conscientious and able teacher, a loyal friend, and a fine, Christian gentleman, a man keenly interested in the finer things of life.

Yet he has left us an unforgettable message, a message of heroism. At college both professors and students are hero worshippers. We applaud the injured quarterback who plays to the final whistle, we admire the stage-strucken elocutionist who by sheer will power finishes his lines, we are taught to perpetrate the memory of those who have faced the big problems of life with unflinching courage- In the grievest hours of his life, Professor Hagerty was a hero, because, to paraphrase Kipling:

“He forced his heart and nerve and sinew
To serve his turn long after they were gone
And so hold on when there was nothing in him
Except the will which said to him ‘Hold on’.”When he returned from St. Louis after the Christmas holidays he was a very sick man. Through the ensuing weeks his greatest worry was not about his ill health but about his classes at Carroll. Later he came back to the university for a few weeks. To our repeated impartionities concerning the necessity of a rest, he would reply with a cheery, “Oh, I’ll be all right.” We have in our memory, a picture of him going up the stairs to his class. It was a slow, painful effort. Only the will which said to him, “Hold on” made possible the ascent. We never saw a finer example of courage and will power. Professor Hagerty was a small man physically, but after this exhibition of grit, we knew he was a big man in the best acceptation of the term.

Quietly, never complaining he fought bravely to the end. We saw him at St. John’s Hospital just a few days before he died. He grasped our hand. Although he could not say anything, there was a message in that feeble clasp. It said more eloquently than words, “I’ll be all right.” He was right. Long since this is written, we feel certain that the Great Teacher will have said to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

To his family we extend our sincerest condolences. Yet, even in their hour of bereavement we congratulate them for possessing tender memories of a husband and father who lived like a man and died a hero.