Happy birthday, J.D. Oznot ’68

i-e5575dbcb5343e8c771ca771e88cf005-oznot-head.jpgOznot, who was not

In April 1964, when Joseph D. Oznot was accepted to join Princeton’s Class of 1968, there was one barrier to his matriculation: He did not exist.

Oznot was the creation of four pranksters from the Class of 1966 and two accomplices at Columbia and Michigan State. They took the college board exams in Oznot’s name, fabricated his high school transcript, and used a Michigan State fraternity house as the applicant’s return address. Charles Lieppe, the Columbia student, even came to campus for Oznot’s personal interview. E. Alden Dunham, then Princeton’s director of admission, took the hoax in stride, calling it “ingenious and well planned.” Steven Reich ’66 explained to the Hackensack Record that the students simply “wanted to add an air of levity to the normally sober atmosphere of college admission.”

But the joke did not end with Oznot’s acceptance letter. He would reappear in the 1968 Nassau Herald (his portrait was a photo of Dunham, above, the man who admitted him). Oznot, occasionally credited in PAW as a staff photographer during the late 1960s, has made cameos in Class Notes columns for four decades. In honor of April Fool’s Day, Oznot’s birthday, The Weekly Blog presents this brief biography of the most famous alumnus who never was, published in last year’s Reunions Guide:

Name: Joseph David Oznot ’68

Nickname: “Znot”

Born: April 1, 1946, in East Lansing, Mich.

Major: Classics

Thesis title: “Virgil the Existentialist”

Graduate education: M.A., University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople

Jobs after Princeton: Private detective in Lost Nation, Iowa; energy trader in Houston, Texas; political analyst in Salt Lake City, Utah; college adviser in Lawrenceville, N.J.; proprietor of Oznot’s Dish, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hobbies: Golf, parasailing, photography, piano

Last seen: Riding in the Class of 1968 VW bug during the 2007 P-rade

New Jersey politicians roast Byrne ’49

Former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne ’49 turns 85 April 1, and in advance of his milestone birthday, some of the state’s most prominent politicians gathered for a celebratory roast in Short Hills, N.J. Former Gov. Tom Kean ’57, current Gov. Jon Corzine, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were on hand to poke fun and pay tribute at the dinner, held March 30.

Corzine quipped that “New Jersey without Brendan Byrne is almost like imagining New Jersey without indictments,” according to the Newark Star-Ledger, and Booker reasoned that he must be Byrne’s illegitimate child “because in my city so many people call me bastard.” Byrne, in self-deprecation, scanned the audience of 400 and joked that there were “more people here than voted for me.”

The gathering was good for more than just laughs. The Star-Ledger reported that the event raised $400,000 for the Garden State Cancer Center.

New Book: More about Bill

John Gartner ’79′s book, In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography (St. Martin’s Press) was named one of the best books of 2008 by Booklist, the publication of the American Library Association. In this study of the former president, Gartner, a psychologist on the faculty of Johns Hopkins Medical School who treats people with hypomanic temperaments, analyzes Clinton’s childhood, his relationships with women, and his political talents. Publishers Weekly wrote, “His analysis of Clinton’s political talents, right down to his mesmerizing facial expressions while on receiving lines, yields intriguing insights.”

For the latest books and media by alumni and faculty, visit PAW Online.

Items for this post were prepared by Katherine Federici Greenwood and Brett Tomlinson.