In Response to: The Value of a Thesis

I read with no little interest the several letters related to the value of the senior thesis (Inbox, Oct. 2 and Nov. 13).

I began reading the letters of Henry Adams in the summer preceding my senior year, worked diligently in my carrel at Firestone during my senior year (I was voted the class grind at Commencement), and wrote a thesis founded on Adams’ commentaries on American political history titled “The Sequence of Democratic Force.”

While the thesis was not the sole component of my graduating summa cum laude with a one-plus departmental grade in history, I have no doubt that it was a substantial part thereof, and I also was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, awarded the Laurence Hutton Prize, and was co-recipient of the C.O. Joline Prize in American Political History. I graduated from the Harvard Law School, wrote a book, and have been practicing law for more than 67 years.

The thesis was the summit of my Princeton years. The thesis has helped make Princeton the premier university it has become.

J. Ross McGinnis ’49
Fawn Grove, Pa.