Category Archives: Alumni News

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

Cross-Generational Career Tips: Classes of ’66, ’91, and ’16 Gather for Networking Event

Much has changed at Princeton between 1966 and today, but alumni can still recall the anxiety of deciding what to do after graduation. Through a special networking evening for the Class of 2016, members of the Class of 1966 and Class of 1991 returned to campus Feb. 24 to offer career advice and encourage current students to follow their passions.

The networking event helped to expose students to a wide range of fields, including law, finance, technology, and nonprofits, and revealed the nonlinear career paths of successful alumni. Planned in conjunction with Career Services, there were 48 students and 10 alumni at the event.

Students like Tiffany Chen ’16 said they enjoyed hearing anecdotes from alumni about their changing career goals. “For me, this was really reassuring and inspiring to see how many people didn’t have plans or completely went off what they were going to do. I don’t know yet what I want to do, and it’s nice to know that I’ll be OK eventually,” Chen said. Continue reading

Names in the News: Princeton’s Oscar Ties, the Scheide Collection, and More

Kip Thorne *65 (Courtesy Keenan Pepper, via Wikipedia)

Kip Thorne *65 (Courtesy Keenan Pepper, via Wikipedia)

At the Academy Awards ceremony, Interstellar visual effects supervisor Andrew Lockley, who accepted the Oscar for visual effects, praised alumnus KIP THORNE *65 as “one of the smartest people on Earth.” Thorne, a physicist at Caltech, served as the scientific consultant (and an executive producer) for the film, which was featured in the inaugural PAW Goes to the Movies column. Thorne’s involvement with the film began eight years ago, when he and producer Lynda Obst started working on a treatment in which “all the wild speculation would spring from science, not just the fertile mind of a screenwriter,” according to Deadline.com.

Oscar Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game highlights ALAN TURING *38 and his contributions as a World War II codebreaker. But Freeman Dyson tells Joel Achenbach ’82 of The Washington Post that the film overlooks Turing’s greatest contribution: “He invented the idea of software, essentially.”

Last week, Princeton received an extraordinary collection of rare books and manuscripts from the late WILLAM H. SCHEIDE ’36, who died in November 2014. Valued at nearly $300 million, the collection includes a Gutenberg Bible, an original printing of the Declaration of Independence, and notable musical manuscripts by Bach and Beethoven. The New York Times article about the gift cited a 2009 PAW story in which Scheide talked about smelling his books as “one way of getting acquainted.”

Former Massachusetts state treasurer STEVE GROSSMAN ’67 and Harvard Business School professor MICHAEL PORTER ’69 are teaming up at a nonprofit that aims to address income inequality by helping urban businesses grow, The Boston Globe reports. Grossman said he decided to take the new job at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City because “this is where you can change people’s lives.”

Indie Nation’s Service: Princeton at Sundance

Director Mora Stephens ’98 on the set of her new film, Zipper. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)

Director Mora Stephens ’98 on the set of her new film, Zipper. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)

By Giri Nathan ’13

The stereotype of alumni networking at Princeton is that it nurtures connections in fields like law, finance, and government. Independent film might sound like an unlikely addition to that list. But this month, three artists with Princeton ties will make their way to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, one of the industry’s marquee events. Jackson Greenberg ’12, Scott Salinas ’97, and Mora Stephens ’98 all worked on films that will premiere at the festival.

Salinas and Greenberg composed the score of the documentary Cartel Land, continuing a partnership that has its origins in the pages of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. As a freshman, Greenberg found himself in love with music and unsure of his summer plans. After stumbling upon a PAW profile of Salinas, a film composer in Los Angeles, he reached out on a whim and asked for an internship. Despite never having hired an intern before, Salinas took him in, and over the years, their intern-employer relationship evolved into one of collaboration and friendship. Continue reading

Graziano ’89 *96 To Open Hatcher Lecture Series at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Princeton psychology professor Michael Graziano ’89 *96 will deliver the opening talk in the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday Lecture Series Jan. 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Graziano will focus on “Consciousness and the Social Brain,” a topic covered in PAW’s April 23, 2014, profile of the alumnus and professor. Future speakers in this year’s series include Professor Emily Carter, director of Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and Professor Paul Steinhardt, director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. For more information, visit pppl.gov/education.

The Science on Saturday program was renamed this year to honor Hatcher, its beloved longtime host, who died in March.

PAW’s Most-Viewed Stories of 2014

As the end of 2014 draws near, The Weekly Blog shines the spotlight on reader favorites. This year, PAW’s five most-viewed online stories were all cover stories from the magazine.

cover-201410081. The Rules

(Published in the Oct. 8 issue)

Lawrence Otis Graham ’83 thought his Ivy League education and status would insulate his family from racism. He was wrong.
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Cover-201404232. The People Who Saw Evolution

(Published in the April 23 issue)

After 40 years of research on Darwin’s finches, Peter and Rosemary Grant have written their valediction.
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