Apropos the decision by President Eisgruber and the Board of Trustees that they are removing the name of his predecessor, President Woodrow Wilson, from both the Wilson School and Wilson College, some comments other than fervent approval or equally fervent regret are perhaps in order. There were always conservatives in the northeast and the midwest who hated Wilson for his internationalism, and if any still exist, they may applaud the decision on that account, if not the racial one. There are clearly pros and cons to removing the name of an historic personage, and whether one agrees with it or not, it is reasonable to treat it as a naming opportunity. The losses in Annual Giving that will doubtless result from the announcement must be made up somehow.
President Eisgruber may wish, conditions in the automobile industry permitting, to approach the Ford family and suggest that that in return for a suitable donation Princeton should name something after Henry Ford. I always though it ironic that that my Ph.D. thesis adviser at Yale, a genuine communist, was the Henry Ford II professor. Here at least we have a rational basis. Alumni will recall, though I fear future students will not know, that Henry Ford was the man who said, “History is bunk.”