10. Precept with Walter “Buzzer” Hall


Walter Phelps Hall came to Princeton as a history instructor in 1913 and retired 39 years later as one of the most popular professors of all time.  Known as  “Buzzer” because of his noisy, early-vintage hearing aid, Hall’s unorthodox and flamboyant teaching style was legendary—he always carried a walking stick, was never without his pipe, and frequently sat or stood on top of his desk during class.  His course on modern European history was a significant factor in the development of the history department into one of the popular majors at Princeton.  When he retired in 1952, his final lecture was moved to Alexander Hall to accommodate the crowd of 700 people, who were led by a six-piece band in singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”  Hall was then given a seven foot-long scroll with the names of all the undergraduates who had contributed to an academic fund in his honor.  Hall continued to deliver an annual lecture at the University until his death in 1962.