#ThrowbackThursday: Sledding at the Graduate College

(Robert Denby/PAW Archives)

(Robert Denby/PAW Archives)

In addition to being a perch for panoramic photographers and the home of Princeton’s carillon, Cleveland Tower at the Graduate College has been one of the University’s most recognizable landmarks for the last century. In this case, it provides a stately backdrop for this festive sledding photo by Robert Denby, featured on the Feb. 9, 1983, cover of PAW.

Legendary Singer Paul Simon Speaks About Creating Songs, and Joy

Paul Simon performs at Richardson Auditorium March 3. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

Paul Simon performs at Richardson Auditorium March 3. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

Singer and songwriter Paul Simon was more interested in baseball than music as a child, he told an audience of Princeton students, faculty, and staff in a conversation with creative writing professor Paul Muldoon in Richardson Auditorium March 3.

Simon, who first emerged on the music scene as a teenager as part of the duo Simon and Garfunkel, discussed the purpose of art and how he gets ideas for his lyrics, and closed the event by singing “The Sound of Silence.” He also played a recording of a new song, “The Insomniac’s Lullaby.” The event opened with a cappella group the Nassoons singing several of Simon’s songs.

Creating art “is about emotions, trying to reach other people. It’s about art as beauty,” Simon said. Discussing whether one should donate money to help cure a disease or fund a museum, Simon explained the importance of art for him: “If we don’t acknowledge the highest part of our humanity, it’s not a full picture. It’s not who we are. It doesn’t examine joy enough. That’s the privilege of being a human being.” Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Bioethicist Jason Schwartz ’03

As the latest measles outbreak made headlines nationwide last month, one important question arose about the ethics of mandatory vaccinations: Are there beliefs — parental or religious — that ought to allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children?

Jason Schwartz ’03 (Margaret Andrews)

Jason Schwartz ’03 (Margaret Andrews)

As an expert in bioethics, Jason Schwartz ’03 actively weighed in on the debate, speaking on public radio stations WHYY and WBUR. The consensus right now, Schwartz told PAW, is that exceptions should be available — but that they should be “pretty hard to get.” It shouldn’t simply be a matter of signing a form or checking a box, but “really making a parent explain their sincere beliefs about vaccination.”

Schwartz majored in classics and was also a pre-med student as an undergraduate. For a long time he thought he would be a physician or surgeon, but soon discovered, while pursuing graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, that he was much more interested in policy and social issues around health and medicine. Continue reading

Names in the News: Smith To Head Swarthmore, Singer ’97 on the Rise of Robots, and More

Princeton Dean Valerie Smith will be Swarthmore’s next president. (Brian Wilson/Office of Communications)

Princeton Dean Valerie Smith will be Swarthmore’s next president. (Brian Wilson/Office of Communications)

Dean of the College VALERIE SMITH was named the 15th president of Swarthmore College on Feb. 21. She will be Swarthmore’s first African American president, as well as its second female president. At Princeton, Smith was also the founding director of the Center for American Studies and is currently the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and a professor of English and African American Studies. She will begin her duties at Swarthmore on July 1. In a Philadephia Inquirer interview, Gil Kemp, chair of Swarthmore’s board of trustees, said of Smith, “I think this is a marvelous fit … Her awareness of our distinctive competence, focus on academic rigor, commitment to the common good — it’s a marvelous confluence.”

In an op-ed for CNN.com, New America Foundation Strategist and Senior Fellow PETER W. SINGER ’97 writes about the rise of the robot in modern warfare. As robots become increasingly more automated, he explains, debates over their place in battle have become more complicated. He concludes, however, that “one thing is clear: Like the present, the future of war will be robotic.”

Former Tennessee senator BILL FRIST ’74 and former Georgia representative JIM MARSHALL ’72 penned a Washington Post op-ed about their suggested reforms to the Veterans Health Administration. Their piece coincided with the release of a report by the Fixing Veterans Health Care task force, of which Frist and Marshall are co-chairs. Continue reading

Unselfish Seniors Help Women’s Basketball Top Brown, Improve to 27-0

On Senior Night, all seniors traditionally start, even those who usually come off the bench. The seniors of the women’s basketball team, however, were less interested in that tradition than in preserving something else: their undefeated record. Seniors Mariah Smith ’15, Alex Rodgers ’15, and Jess Shivers ’15 told head coach Courtney Banghart they didn’t want to start.

“That’s the kind of senior class they’ve been,” Banghart said. “They have decided what’s important to them. What’s important to them is that the group excels.”

From left, the Princeton women’s basketball Class of 2015: Mariah Smith, Alex Rodgers, Blake Dietrick, and Jess Shivers. (Beverly Schaefer)

From left, the Princeton women’s basketball Class of 2015: Mariah Smith, Alex Rodgers, Blake Dietrick, and Jess Shivers. (Beverly Schaefer)

Of course, Banghart showed her appreciation for the group by starting them against Brown anyway. Rodgers and Shivers had an assist and a rebound apiece while Smith contributed eight points. It was the first time this season any of the three had started — only Smith had ever started at Princeton — but it only served to highlight the ways they have contributed to the team.

While Blake Dietrick ’15, the fourth senior on this year’s squad, has carved out a place in the record books and received attention from the national media, her classmates have helped hold the team together in ways that are harder to discern. Career substitutes, they have learned to gauge the tempo of the game, the feelings of the crowd and the mindset of both teams, mentally preparing to provide a shot of energy when Banghart calls them into action.

“They’re kind of my assistant coaches,” Banghart said. “They know that their piece in [the game plan] is the energy on the bench and all that.” Continue reading

Heather Butts ’94 Chronicles the Lives of African American Health Care Workers During the Civil War

Heather Butts ’94

Heather Butts ’94

In African American Medicine in Washington, D.C: Healing the Capital During the Civil War Era, Heather Butts ’94 chronicles the largely unsung service of African American health care workers during the Civil War.

Obtaining health care training was a difficult task for African Americans. Alexander Augusta learned to read in secret and had to leave the United States to study at a medical school in Canada, Butts writes. Augusta wrote to President Abraham Lincoln and the secretary of war, seeking an appointment as a physician in an African American regiment, and eventually was appointed surgeon of the United States Colored Troops. But even as he provided care for soldiers, Augusta faced racism. While traveling from the D.C. area to Philadelphia, he was surrounded by an angry mob that threatened his life. Continue reading