In 1970, after graduating from high school, he enrolled at Harvard College and took classes from the philosophers Robert Nozick and Stanley Cavell. In 1973, West graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in Near Eastern languages and civilization. He credits Harvard with exposing him to a broader range of ideas, influenced by his professors as well as the Black Panther Party. West says his Christianity prevented him from joining the BPP, instead choosing to work in local breakfast, prison, and church programs. After completing his undergraduate work at Harvard, West enrolled at Princeton University where he received a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1980, becoming the first African American to graduate from Princeton with a PhD degree in philosophy. At Princeton, West was heavily influenced by Richard Rorty's neopragmatism. Rorty remained a close friend and colleague of West's for many years following West's graduation. The title of West's dissertation was Ethics, Historicism and the Marxist Tradition, which was later revised and published under the title The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought.