Category Archives: Alumni News

Eisgruber Discusses Sexual-Assault Policies, Grading at Alumni Town-Hall Meeting in Philadelphia

By Art Carey ’72

More than 500 alumni and friends of Princeton attended a town-hall meeting with President Eisgruber ’83 Tuesday night at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. It was, organizers said, the largest gathering ever of Princeton alumni, family, and guests in the City of Brotherly Love.

There was, of course, the usual profusion of orange and black as well as distinguished-looking “locks of gray.” But the gathering, hosted by the Princeton Club of Philadelphia, also included many young representatives of the “new Princeton,” whose presence symbolized the University’s commitment to diversity.

Eisgruber, in his second year as president, fielded questions from classmate Mark Bernstein ’83, senior writer of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, about a variety of hot-button topics — grades, sexual misconduct policies, admissions, socioeconomic diversity, the possibility of expanding the size of the freshman class to make “the gift” of a Princeton education available to more, and whether Ivy League students are “excellent sheep.” Continue reading

For the Princeton Band, a Friendly Face in the Cockpit

(Courtesy Carolyn Havens Niemann ’89)

(Courtesy Carolyn Havens Niemann ’89)

When the Princeton University Band flew home from the football team’s opener in San Diego yesterday, the men and women in plaid found a friendly face in the cockpit for their cross-country leg from Los Angeles to Newark: Michael Niemann ’90, a pilot for United Airlines and former member of the band. He’s pictured above next to drum major Mary Gilstad ’15.

The flight assignment was a happy coincidence for Niemann, who met his wife, Carolyn Havens Niemann ’89, when the two were in the band’s trash percussion section in 1986. Thanks to Carolyn for sharing the photo.

Princeton, 1996: Campus Headlines From the Year the Class of 2018 Was Born

This week, Beloit College’s annual Mindset List noted several interesting tidbits about members of the incoming Class of 2018: Since most were born in 1996, their lives never overlapped with those of Tupac Shakur or Carl Sagan; the terrorist attacks of 2001 happened when they were in kindergarten; and they’ve never known a world without The Daily Show.

clintonBut what was happening at Princeton when the Class of ’18 was still in diapers? Quite a lot: 1996 is the year when the Tigers upset UCLA in men’s basketball and said farewell to Pete Carril; President Bill Clinton delivered the Commencement address as Princeton celebrated its bicenquinquagenary (250th anniversary); and alumnus Richard Smalley *74 shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of a novel type of carbon molecules.

The Pyne Prize that year went to Derek Kilmer ’96, now a U.S. Congressman from the state of Washington, and Daniel Walter ’96, who went on to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton’s physics department. Kilmer’s Congressional colleague Jared Polis ’96 also was on campus. PAW wrote a column about his ambitious course load, which included 25 classes in his first two years (just over six per semester). Continue reading

Solomon ’14 Revisits Thesis About Comedy and Mental Illness in the Wake of Williams’ Death

Amy Solomon ’14 (Courtesy Amy Solomon)

Amy Solomon ’14 (Courtesy Amy Solomon)

Earlier this year, Amy Solomon ’14 wrote a senior thesis that explored the “sad-clown” stereotype that permeates the world of comedy — the idea that humor and mental illness often are two sides of the same coin. Her research, which included interviews with more than 30 working comedians, landed her a spot on the Aug. 8 episode of The Gist, a Slate podcast hosted by Mike Pesca. A few days later, reporters were calling Solomon for her thoughts about the death of one of her comedy idols, Robin Williams, who committed suicide Aug. 11.

The experience was both “really weird” and somewhat uncomfortable for Solomon. “It’s a difficult topic to talk about in definitive terms, because everyone wants to know — in a sound byte — ‘Is the connection between mental illness and comedic genius true?’ ” she told PAW. “I think there’s a lot of nuance, and in my thesis, I got to explore that.”

For example, when she asked comedians if they thought the link between depression and humor was real, they gave a resounding “yes.” But many doubted that the rate of depression or mental illness was greater among comics than it would be for, say, plumbers. Comedians, they told her, “are just the people who are allowed to talk about it and who have that platform.” Continue reading

Merwin ’48, Bradley ’80 Featured in New Films

Bob Bradley ’80 (Courtesy PBS)

Bob Bradley ’80 (Courtesy PBS)

Two Princeton alumni will be featured in documentary films released this month: W.S. Merwin ’48, a former poet laureate of the United States and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is profiled in Even Though the Whole World Is Burning, which premieres June 8 at the Maui Film Festival; and Bob Bradley ’80, a former coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team, is the central figure of American Pharaoh, a film about Egypt’s national team that will air on PBS stations beginning June 16. Continue reading

Introducing PAW’s 2014 Reunions Guide

Click on the cover to download a PDF of the 2014 Reunions Guide. (Illustration by Michael Witte ’66)

Click on the cover to download a PDF of the 2014 Reunions Guide. (Illustration by Michael Witte ’66)

PAW’s 2014 Reunions Guide will be available at all class registration sites and selected locations on campus. It features plans for the major-reunion classes, news about art exhibitions, interviews with Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp ’89 and rising opera star Anthony Roth Costanzo ’04, and more.

To download a PDF of the guide, click on the cover photo.