This I Believe

Williams, Clyde


  • Clyde Williams describes his belief that happiness comes through accomplishing the work one is meant to do, and relates how his work at the Battelle Institute has helped him to find satisfaction in life.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Clyde Williams is a leading administrator in science. He has made the Battelle Institute of Columbus, Ohio internationally known for scientific research. He swung a pick and hammer on a section gang to earn his education money but since receiving his degree in chemical engineering he has earned his reputation as a scientist, businessman, educator and civic leader. Here is Clyde Williams.
I believe that every man has within himself an urge and a capacity for good. I believe that each, in his own way, strives to satisfy that urge and to establish his place in human society. I believe that complete happiness is achieved only when a man, in his own mind, concludes that his work is worthwhile and that his life is being spent in service to his fellow men.
Because of my beliefs, I hold the personal dignity of man inviolable. I am convinced that any suppression of man’s individuality, beyond that necessary for social compatibility, is unnatural and destructive to high values. I feel moved to express, whenever possible, my faith in the institutions that contribute to the dignity of man and serve and protect his freedom of action.
It is my conviction that it is impossible to separate material achievement from spiritual achievement. Man cannot function in a vacuum. Material things uplift other men and give them opportunity to help, still, others. All of our works on ethics and philosophy are printed on paper. Our churches and synagogues are built of steel, stone, and mortar. A surgical suture is made in a factory. Thus, I have profound respect for our capitalistic, economic system. It has given us the goods needed for man’s self respect, to relieve his suffering, and to lighten his burden.
I find abundant evidence to substantiate my basic philosophy and beliefs in the work I do and in the people with whom I associate.
Battelle Institute came into being because a man felt an urge to help his fellow men. This man had lived under a social and economic system that rewarded meritorious service, and had accumulated enough wealth to be able to carry out his ideal. He endowed Battelle to serve mankind through the encouragement of industrial research, and the making of scientific discoveries and inventions.
One twenty people set out, in nineteen-twenty-nine, to carry out this assignment. They had only faith in their own abilities and in the ideals of Battelle’s founder to give them courage. Today, eighteen hundred people carry on the work they started.
The ideal of the founder is no longer an abstraction. Battelle Research has touched almost every facet of life.
All of my associates at Battelle feel as I do, that we are doing a good work. I also know that we have done something in addition to making material discoveries and inventions. We and our colleagues in other laboratories have demonstrated scientific research as a great new resource, upon which men can build their futures. I have infinite faith in the ability of free men to solve their problems. I find great satisfaction in my life’s work.
That was Clyde Williams, the director of one of the world’s largest scientific research institutions in Columbus, Ohio.