Adler, one of the founders of the Great Books program at Chicago-and
one of Robert M. Hutchins's most controversial appointments-died
at the age of 98 in his San Mateo, California, home on June
28 (see "Deaths").
as an innovator by some while scorned by others, Adler spent
an often rocky 22 years at the U of C pushing for an undergraduate
focus that emphasized a systematic study of the Western literary
and philosophical canon. As he explained to Hutchins in a 1929
letter upon receiving his Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia
University-a year before he joined the Chicago faculty-he wished
"to do for science and culture in the twentieth century
what Thomas [Aquinas] did for that of the thirteenth...."
popularizing the study of a Western canon both at Chicago and
at other schools that imitated the Great Books program, Adler
inspired generations of students to debate the canon's merits
as well as its contents, indelibly etching his name in the pages
of Chicago lore.-C.S.