In Response to: Opening Doors

Your most recent edition, titled “Navigating Princeton,” just arrived in my mailbox.

I sustained a spinal cord injury in my senior year of high school, between college application due dates and college acceptance decisions. I was admitted to Princeton and to Yale. I had to notify both schools that I would have to defer for a year, because I was still in the hospital.

Let me say, in a nonplussed way, I “ended up” at Princeton. For my first year, the University wanted me to live off campus and assigned me to an apartment at 32 Stanworth Drive, which was probably half a mile from campus. For my last two years I lived at 30 Patton Hall, on the ground floor, although there were two steps to “navigate” to get to the ground floor!

For my three years at Princeton, I was primarily assisted by Gene Smith, who was about 10 years older than me and was a student at Rider College. My classmates and other students assisted me in a manual wheelchair, climbing steps, etc. I owe a great debt to my classmates and to the school.

From my wheelchair, I graduated in three years. 

I am not particularly proud of it; I just had to get on with it.

Editor’s note: At its 50th reunion in 2017, the Class of ’67 honored Isaly with a varsity letter. View a video of the presentation by former athletic director Gary Walters ’67 below.

Samuel D. Isaly ’67
New York, N.Y.