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June 7, 1931

The Rev. Dr. Robert Russell Wicks, dean of the chapel at Princeton, delivered a stinging analysis of complacency in American life in his baccalaureate sermon to the Class of 1931. Declaring that neither radicalism nor racketeering was to be feared as much as “bourgeois, white middle class” complacency, he added that this passivity had become entrenched behind religious respectability. Wicks told the class “your generation, which helped give respectability a beating, should now become apostles of [a] finer sense of life which must take its place, or we are lost…. We are having it pounded into us that life on this planet is not a solitaire game but team play…. Each of us is not paddling his own canoe. We are all in the same boat.”

The New York Times

The Years