Colleges: The Witty Reformer

The quality of Alfred Whitney Griswold was that he gave vividness and authority to ideals that other men often make trite or fanatic. The cliche-cursed goal of "excellence" in education seemed credible and attainable when Yale's President Griswold spoke of it in brief and reasonable words. Academic freedom, made suspect by some of education's oddballs, was restored to its place as a university's inalienable right and duty after Griswold defined it. Last week at Yale, the bells of Harkness Tower tolled the news that the university had dreaded for months. At 56, Whitney Griswold was dead of intestinal cancer.

The...

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