[LETTERS to the editor]Honor and error

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[LETTERS to the editor]Honor and error



Park Jung-eun, a freelance translator from Seoul, “cannot help feeling that Mr. Thompson’s perception of Dongguk is [as] a sort of gold-digger seeking an outrageous amount of compensation, seizing a windfall opportunity to squeeze one of the richest universities in the U.S.” (“Honor worth paying for,” Oct. 4.)

I do not share that view; I agree with Abraham Lincoln: “... No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty-none less inclined to take, or touch, aught which they have not honestly earned. ...”

Ms. Park also states: “In Korea, where education is the be-all and end-all, a good reputation is the lifeline of an academic institution. Given that, it would not be surprising if parents across Korea would cross out Dongguk University from the list of colleges their children would apply to for many years to come, eventually drying up the endowment of the university - thanks to Yale’s administrative error.”

I don’t know what those Korean parents are thinking; certainly, I can’t fathom the [Korean] legislature.

Chang Sang received her Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Nearly all American colleges founded around the time of the American Revolution (and before that) were church-initiated, and the founders themselves often members of the clergy. Dr. Chang’s nomination [in 2002] for prime minister of South Korea was rejected by the National Assembly on a 142?100 vote because she allegedly padded her resume (horrors).

Yet she boasts a degree from one of the great graduate schools of the United States. According to the National Research Council, Princeton Theological Seminary is ranked higher in her academic discipline than the University of Notre Dame or the University of Pennsylvania.

It was Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, and named as such, which granted Dr. Chang her doctoral degree. Princeton University - from which she allegedly faked a degree in theology - only began using “Princeton” in its title in 1896. The seminary, the Institute for Advanced Studies, and the university, share in the use of facilities.

(And contrary to the common belief of many Korean professors I’ve spoken to, Albert Einstein never taught at an Ivy League institution.)

The “real” Princeton - at least in the minds of South Korean legislators - is a fake.

Richard Thompson,

Mokpo National University
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