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Letters from alumni about Letters to Princeton

February 1, 2002

In my letter to the editor appearing in the October 10, 2001 issue of PAW ("Lost letter"), I expressed concern about communications with the University. Specificly, it seems that my letter of recommendation for a candidate for admission was somehow lost; I never received a response from the Admission Office. In speaking with two other alumni, and reading the letter of Jack C. Childers, Jr. '60 (PAW November 21, 2001), I get the impression that my failure to communicate successfully is not unique.

I have not yet heard from the Admission Office about my year-old letter of recommendation, even whether it has been received, and the recent letter of Edgar M. Buttenheim '44 reporting a "very positive experience" with the Office adds to my befuddlement. It seems the Mr. Buttenheim and his wife both successfully communicated: he received a "short, courteous response from Mr. Hargadon" and even his wife got from him a "superb letter" of three pages. Without having any disrespect for Mrs. Buttenheim, I find it odd that an alumnus' wife receives a "superb" response from Mr. Hargadon but that I and other alumni hear not a word. My question still is: how does one solve the enigma of communicating with the Admission Office? 

I cannot imagine that there is a dearth of good manners at venerable Old Nassau.

Robert C. Lang Jr. ’70
Warren, N.J.

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December 10, 2001

With reference to a letter from Jack C. Childers, Jr. ’60 in your November 21 issue about the admissions office failing to answer letters, I write to report a very positive experience.

In spring of 1998 I wrote a letter on behalf of a candidate and received a short, courteous response from Mr. Hargadon.

This year my wife wrote a thoughtful three-page letter to Mr. Hargadon, and he replied with a superb letter of the same length. I was amazed and pleased, as the mail volume must be tremendous.

Edgar M. Buttenheim ’44
Princeton, N.J.

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October 12, 2001

Robert C Lang Jr. '70's letter of concern over not receiving a reply to his communication to the admission office struck an old and unexpectedly powerful chord. When one of my sons applied in the late 1970's I wrote a letter, not asking for special treatment, but identifying him as an alumnus's son. When, after eight weeks there was no reply, I wrote another, asking only for acknowledgement of receipt. That was ignored also. I am aware of at least three other alumni who have had similar experiences. I realize that the admission office is busy, but if they're too busy to check off on a postcard "We received your letter," then they're just too busy, period.

Jack C. Childers, Jr. '60
Lutherville, Md.

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July 18, 2001

This is to express my concern about communications with Princeton University. During the last admissions period, I wrote a letter to the university recommending admission to a highly qualified candidate who is no relation to me. Sadly, her application was denied, and I accept that Princeton has the unfettered right to admit or decline to admit whomever it chooses. The strange aspect is that I have never received any acknowledgement, written or oral, that the university received my letter of recommendation. At the same time I was subjected to an unremitting Annual Giving campaign seeking a contribution to Old Nassau. I decided, finally, not to give because I was scared that my check would not get there and end up wherever my recommendation letter ended up. Your guidance about how to communicate would be appreciated.

Robert C. Lang, Jr. '70
Warren, N.J.

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