I don’t know anybody judges the contributions he’s made to a field. I can tell you that my largest contribution, I’m sure, the lasting one is my graduate students. I began having graduate students at a very early age and continued until my retirement, and ultimately, I had, oh, between 70 and 100 graduate doctoral students of whom 50 at least had published major books. Many of these were dissertations that they did under my direction and then published, and these students are now major professors at major institutions all over the country, and I can think of myself as, in a sense, a kind of a Johnny Appleseed spreading the word, so to speak, in a lot of different places.
I believe I am right in saying they are all fond of me. I am in touch with them all. I write to them. I think of them frequently. I think of their children as being my intellectual grandchildren, and in a few cases, I have actually taught their grandchildren, which is nice, too.
Now, was there any particular moment that I would say this is the peak of my career? In a sense, it was. By that point, this is 1960. Teaching at Princeton, vacation was just over. We came back, and I was meeting my class all over again. It was a sizable class, 200 students something like that, and I enjoy lecturing. I enjoy talking. I liked these students. I liked talking to them and so on, and we were going along one day after another, and one morning, I came in. As I came in, every student rose and started clapping. They had just heard that I had won a Pulitzer Prize, and I hadn’t heard it myself. I was just overwhelmed, and I think that may have been the high point of my career.