New book: Impeccable Connections: The Rise and Fall of Richard Whitney, by Malcolm MacKay ’63 (Brick Tower Press)
May 23, 2013
May 22, 2013
Since leaving the U.S. Army and becoming a classical singer and actor, Michael Hanko ’86 had not spent much time dwelling on his unhappy years as a gay lieutenant (and ROTC cadet) at a time when gays were barred from military service. But last year, while working on a translation of a piece of German lieder music, Hanko decided to experiment with writing his own lyrics. He began thinking about his Army days. “I guess somewhere, deep in my psyche, there was this unaddressed emotion,” he says.
The German lieder form — expressive poetic compositions, typically for one singer with piano accompaniment, composed by the likes of Schubert and Mozart — helped Hanko to capture an emotionally charged story that included both deep pain and humor. Working with colleagues Byron Sean and Stephanie Fittro, he developed an hourlong cabaret show, Platoon Lieder. Hanko will perform the show at Reunions May 31. The event is sponsored by the Fund for Reunion/Princeton Bisexual, Transgendered, Gay and Lesbian Alumni (FFR/BTGALA).
The themes of Platoon Lieder, Hanko says, speak to a wide range of audiences, not just those who are gay or who have served in the military. The story examines common problems — feeling like an outsider, choosing the wrong path — as well as positive outcomes. While stationed in Germany, Hanko began taking the voice lessons that helped him to find a new career in music.
Hanko, a baritone who lives and works in New York City, will be coming back to Princeton for the first time since he graduated with an A.B. in music 27 years ago. He recently found his class beer jacket in his parents’ attic. Tucked inside the pocket was a registration form for FFR/BTGALA.
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For five members of the men’s golf team, Princeton’s spring finals period began 2,500 miles away from campus. As those Tigers traveled to the NCAA Regional last week in Pullman, Wash., they studied on the plane; after the completion of Thursday’s first round, many of them sat down in their hotel’s conference room to take exams. “It’s been busy,” said Greg Jarmas ’14, who didn’t have to take any tests during the tournament — but finished three take-home exams the following day.
The quintet in Pullman certainly had better study breaks than the rest of their classmates, however, teeing it up on Washington State’s Palouse Ridge Golf Club for Princeton’s first postseason appearance since 2006. Playing in a field that included No. 1-ranked California and three other top-25 teams, Princeton finished 13th of 14 qualifiers, closing its most successful season in several years.
Only the top five teams advanced to the national championships, which will be held next week in Atlanta; it would have been a massive surprise if the Tigers had been among them, as no Ivy League school has reached the NCAA finals since 1984 and none of this year’s 30 qualifiers are from the Northeast. Any hopes Princeton had were dashed on Thursday, as the top contenders opened with a bang: USC’s Seth Smith set the course record with a 10-under-par 62, and two other teams set school records. More than half the field shot better than par, but Bernie D’Amato ’13 was the only Tiger in red numbers. After one round Princeton was 27 shots off of the lead.
The Tigers performed better in Friday’s windy conditions despite posting a slightly worse aggregate score, as the tournament average was three strokes per player worse than Thursday’s birdie-fest. One of the exceptions to that trend was Jarmas, who recovered from an opening-round 75 to shoot a four-under-par 68 on Friday; only two players scored better in round two. Jarmas, who said some of his drives approached 400 yards on the firm fairways when the wind was at his back, finished the three-day tournament at minus-1, tied for 30th overall.
Princeton saved its best for last, shooting a two-over-par 290 on Saturday, the eighth-best team score of the final round. After a season in which the Tigers placed in the top five six times and won two tournaments — including their 24th Ivy League title — they were glad to end on a positive note.
“I couldn’t really ask for anything more from these guys,” Jarmas said. “We accomplished our main goal of winning the Ivy championship. We didn’t get off to best start here Thursday, but the way we bounced back in the second and third rounds is emblematic of the character we had this season. It’s kind of sad to see it end, but it was a great season, start to finish.”
New book: Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, by Christopher Bascom Rawlins *97, foreword by Alastair Gordon (Metropolis Books/Gordon DeVries Studio)
For some Princeton students, Dean’s Date is a campus-wide marathon of suffering; for others, it was a day for dancing on NBC’s The Today Show in Manhattan.
Millions of viewers watched the Princeton University HighSteppers, a co-ed step team at the University, stomp, slap, and shout live in Rockefeller Plaza on May 14. The team arrived in Manhattan at 5:15 a.m. and had its final rehearsal at 8:30 before beginning to shoot teasers for the live segment.
HighSteppers president Somers Fairchild ’15 called the experience “exhilarating,” noting that many of the group’s members had been eager to participate even though the event coincided with Dean’s Date. “Usually it’s kind of… I don’t want to say ‘pulling teeth,’ but it’s hard to get people to perform because people are busy all the time,” he said. “But I got flooded with emails [saying yes].”
After discovering the HighSteppers from YouTube videos of competition performances, The Today Show staff emailed the group to ask if they would perform for the show’s Varsity Week. “Of course that was a yes,” Fairchild said. After the email, which Fairchild received three weeks ago, the group began supplemental practices for their TV appearance at the same time as they were rehearsing for a guest performance at the BodyHype Dance Company spring show.
The group arrived back in Princeton at 11:30 a.m., giving some members time to continue working on their Dean’s Date papers to make the University’s 5 p.m. deadline. “I napped for an hour and tried to finish all my work,” said Fairchild, who turned his final paper in at 4:58.
Video: Watch the HighSteppers’ Today Show performance below.
May 15, 2013
As CEO of the Advisory Board Company, a leading consulting firm for hospitals and health systems, Robert Musslewhite ’92 has plenty of business experience to draw upon. But in his recent contribution to The New York Times’ “The Boss” column, Musslewhite cited a key lesson from an earlier experience: swimming at Princeton.
An injury to one of the Tigers’ top swimmers forced Musslewhite into the lineup as the anchor of the 200-yard medley relay team at the NCAA Championships in 1989, his freshman year. Teammates Mike Ross ’90, Ty Nelson ’91, and Rich Korhammer ’89 handed a lead to Musslewhite, and he managed to hold off his opponents in a tight finish, winning the national title. Musslewhite wrote that the race “showed me how discipline and hard work could put you in a position to be lucky.”
Musslewhite’s path after Princeton included earning a law degree from Harvard, clerking for a Federal District Court judge, and working in management consulting. He joined the Advisory Board Company in 2003 and became CEO five years later. In 2012, he was among Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year honorees for the Washington, D.C., area, and earlier this year, Modern Healthcare named him as one of 300 nominees for its list of the most influential people in health care.
Like many of our Tiger of the Week honorees, Robert Musslewhite ’92 was nominated by a PAW reader. Do you have an idea for a future Tiger of the Week profile? Let us know.