Top five campus headlines of 2009

i-ed760e23f75ec2a84bb110ee3db59e02-2009.jpgSome of this year’s top headlines on campus were shaped by national news (the economy, the start of the Obama administration), while others were unique to Princeton. Read our choices, and add your favorites in the comment section below.

1. Value of the endowment declines 22.7 percent; University cuts spending

The year’s top headline actually was a series of related economic stories documented in PAW, beginning with early estimates of a 25 percent endowment drop (March 4), the first round of spending cuts (April 1), and a revised estimate of the endowment’s decline (April 22). Subsequent stories examined the University’s review of its investment strategy (July 15), more details about budget cuts (July 15), departures of staff who accepted voluntary retirement incentives (Sept. 23), President Tilghman’s defense of the University’s investment policies (Oct. 21), and finally, a closer look at what happened with the endowment and what comes next (Dec. 9).

2. Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80 leaves Woodrow Wilson School; Christina Paxson named new dean

Slaughter, the dean who oversaw seven years of growth and revitalization at the Wilson School, resigned in January to begin public-service leave as the chief of policy planning in the State Department (Feb. 11), joining several alumni and faculty who took positions in the Obama administration (May 13). Paxson, a longtime Princeton professor, was selected to succeed Slaughter in June (July 15) and later spoke with PAW about her plans for the school (Sept. 23).

3. New Butler dorms open

At Butler College, new dormitories with wavy walls and green roofs replaced the waffle ceilings and “bicycle-rack” crenelations of yesteryear. PAW toured the new Butler, one of the University’s three four-year residential colleges (Sept. 23), and covered the dedication of a memorial court that honors Donold Lourie ’22, George Love ’22, and the classes of 1940, 1941, and 1942 (Oct. 21).

4. Gender-neutral housing approved

A PAW feature story reported that Princeton was considering a gender-neutral housing option (Oct. 21), and the University made it official, releasing plans to allow male and female students to share suites in Spellman Halls, beginning next fall. Students responded to the plan in PAW’s On The Campus column (Nov. 18).

5. Bridge-year program begins

Twenty students from the Class of 2013 deferred their arrival at Princeton to pursue a service year abroad in India, Serbia, Ghana, or Peru. The Princeton program is believed to be the first University-sponsored gap year in the United States. (Sept. 23)

Honorable mention: New openings for the Fields Center, Campus Club, and Whig Hall