I was very interested to read Gregg Lange ’70’s piece, “Rally ’Round the Canon: Creating a Major Challenge” (posted online Sept. 1). While the entire piece was of interest to me, I was particularly pleased to see that Lange recognized the central role played by then Dean of the Faculty Luther Eisenhart in the development of the four-course plan and independent study, with its senior thesis capstone project. Lange’s account jibes with my understanding, yet despite its long history and persistent preeminence in the Princeton undergraduate academic program, few in the Princeton community are aware of the origins of the independent study plan and those primarily responsible for it.
Lange’s piece is also of personal interest to me as Luther, who I met once at his home in Princeton in the 1960s, was my great uncle. As Lange correctly states, Luther did not attend Princeton as a student but, coming from a Pennsylvania Dutch family in nearby York, was a graduate of Gettysburg College. When on staff at the University he encouraged his younger brother (and my grandfather), Martin Herbert Eisenhart 1905, to attend Princeton, which marked the beginning of my family’s long association with this great institution.
I thank the author for this well-researched, insightful, and timely piece.