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image: Campus NewsMortimer Adler dies at 98

Mortimer 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").

Hailed 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...."

By 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.


 


 AUGUST 2001

  > > Volume 93, Number 6


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