Author Archives: Brett Tomlinson

#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton Rugby, 1964

rugby-coverSaturday marks the final opening day of Princeton’s fall sports season as the Tiger football team kicks off its 2014 schedule at San Diego. On campus, a pair of varsity teams will be competing (men’s tennis, field hockey), along with club sports, including men’s and women’s rugby.

Rugby is among the University’s longest-running club teams, with more than 80 consecutive years of competition on the men’s side. PAW’s May 19, 1964, cover featured this action shot of the Princeton ruggers, left, in action against the New York Rugby Club, which won the match, 8-6. Later that year, a Daily Princetonian article described the ethos of the Tiger team:

“Rugby at Princeton is a sport for gentlemen,” wrote Chris Jones ’67. “It has to be. If it didn’t have a fairly high level of sportsmanship, nobody would be able to even crawl away from this bruising game. It is rather ungentlemanly cruelty to beat the brains out of a man you’re going to be drinking with in the beer party that the home team always gives for its opponents right after the game.”

Tiger of the Week: MacArthur Fellow Jonathan Rapping *92

Jonathan Rapping *92 (Courtesy the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Jonathan Rapping *92 (Courtesy the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Lawyer Jonathan Rapping *92 and his wife, Ilham Askia, two leading advocates of legal defense for the poor, created the Atlanta-based organization Gideon’s Promise to train and support public defenders. (The name comes from Gideon v. Wainwright, the 1963 Supreme Court case that required state courts to provide counsel to defendants who are unable to afford an attorney.) Since the group’s founding in 2007, it has grown to include a community of 300 attorneys, and Rapping’s work has been featured in the award-winning documentary film Gideon’s Army.

This week, Gideon’s Promise received an additional boost when Rapping was chosen as a 2014 MacArthur fellow, an honor that comes with a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend, paid out over five years. Popularly known as the “genius grant,” the award is given to “exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future,” according to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which has selected more than 900 fellows since the program began in 1981.

Rapping, a Woodrow Wilson School MPA graduate who subsequently completed law school at George Washington University, is one of four fellows honored for their work “to address persistent social challenges.” He also serves as an associate professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Rapping told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he sees public defense as civil rights work for the current generation of lawyers. “I’ve met passionate defenders who entered the legal profession for the right reasons, and the system beat the passion out of them,” Rapping said. “So my wife and I started an organization, a supportive community of lawyers who are working to force the system to live up to its highest ideals.” As for the money, he told the newspaper that it would help Gideon’s Promise “keep the doors open,” which can be an annual challenge for nonprofits. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Artist Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu in 1967. (PAW Archives)

Toshiko Takaezu in 1967, her first year at Princeton. (PAW Archives)

A simple, solemn bronze bell hangs from a wooden post at the entrance to Princeton’s Sept. 11 memorial garden outside Chancellor Green. Titled “Remembrance,” the bell was created by Toshiko Takaezu, a longtime faculty member in Princeton’s visual-arts program.

Takaezu, who died in 2011, first arrived on campus in 1967, two years before the beginning of coeducation. She was among a handful of artists who breathed new life into creative-arts instruction during an expansion led by then-President Robert Goheen ’40 *48. Takaezu also earned acclaim for her innovative work as a ceramicist, painter, and weaver.

In 1996, four years after retiring from teaching, Takaezu received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree at Princeton’s commencement. The citation credited her for encouraging “generations of Princeton students to use their creative powers to shape and center their lives.”

Tiger of the Week: N.J. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ’82

New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ’82, right, with Gov. Chris Christie in May. (New Jersey Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ’82, right, with Gov. Chris Christie in May. (New Jersey Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

As Princeton students were preparing to return to class this week, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ’82 headed back to work, beginning a new term Sept. 8. Rabner, who was reappointed to his post in May, now has tenure until he turns 70 (the mandatory retirement age), and according to Star-Ledger reporter Salvador Rizzo, he “is likely to become one of the most influential legal minds of his generation.”

Since becoming the state’s top judge in 2007, Rabner has presided over important cases on hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage and the right to privacy. Appointed by Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Rabner has made recent decisions that were opposed by the current governor, Republican Chris Christie. But after what Christie described as a “vigorous” discussion of Supreme Court appointments, he nominated Rabner for tenure. “I’ve disagreed with him, and I’ve expressed that publicly,” Christie said. “But never have I thought that he hasn’t run the courts in a fair, effective, efficient manner; never have I thought that he’s brought any bias or partisanship to his execution of his duties as chief justice; and never have I thought that he wasn’t eminently qualified.”

Rabner, a Harvard Law graduate and former federal prosecutor, said in a recent interview with the Star-Ledger that his devotion to justice is inspired partly by family history. Both of his parents immigrated from Poland after surviving the Holocaust. “How do you not have an appreciation for how important the rule of law is, thinking about the experience that my parents and others like them went through?” he told the newspaper. “To be able to come to work and to have as an obligation to be faithful to the rule of law, which is part of the oath that we take, that’s an immensely important thing and a meaningful one.” Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Frosh Trip, 2008

(Courtesy Outdoor Action)

(Courtesy Outdoor Action)

As this year’s Outdoor Action groups return from the trails, we dial back the clock a few years to September 2008, when nearly 700 freshmen in the Class of 2012 bonded on hiking, climbing, and canoeing trips to eight states. A PAW Online slide show captured scenes from several of those “frosh trips,” including this one in the Catskills. Director Rick Curtis ’79 said that the record-high participation rate — 55 percent of the class — was spurred partly by a new program that provided free trips to students on financial aid.

Read more about OA’s history and see another great Throwback Thursday photo in this post from March 2014.

Tigers of the Week: Tech Innovators Emily Cole *09 and Jonathan Viventi ’03 *04

Emily Cole *09 is a chemistry Ph.D. working on ways to convert carbon dioxide into dozens of other chemicals for commercial use. Jonathan Viventi ’03 *04 is a biomedical engineer whose research could improve the medical community’s understanding of epilepsy. While their work seems unlikely to cross paths, Cole and Viventi do share one notable distinction: Both are included in the annual MIT Technology Review list of 35 Innovators Under 35, published this week in the magazine’s September/October issue.

Emily Cole *09 (Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications)

Emily Cole *09 (Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications)

Cole, the chief science officer of the start-up Liquid Light, began her innovative research as a graduate student in the lab of Princeton professor Andrew Bocarsly, one of Liquid Light’s three founders. Building on earlier work published by Bocarsly, Cole developed new technology to convert carbon dioxide into additional chemicals, such as ethylene glycol, used in plastic bottles. Carbon conversion has become a hot topic because of its potential to reduce greenhouse gasses, and Liquid Light has secured funding from several venture capital firms.

Jonathan Viventi ’03 *04 (Courtesy NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering)

Jonathan Viventi ’03 *04 (Courtesy NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering)

Viventi, an assistant professor of computer engineering at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, has developed a thin, flexible, and implantable sensor that collects detailed data about electrical activity in the brain. So far, the technology has only been used in animals, but Viventi hopes it is an early step in the path to a device that could detect and arrest epileptic seizures, according to an NYU release, in the way that implanted defibrillators detect and treat irregular heartbeats. Continue reading