Author Archives: John Wetenhall

History students explore the beaches of Normandy

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Princeton students at the Ranger Monument on Pointe du Hoc, overlooking Omaha Beach. (Courtesy Master Sgt. Tom Jones/Princeton Army ROTC)

Through the generous gift of an alumnus, 10 Princeton students traveled to the beaches of Normandy this spring to experience the history of D-Day firsthand.

The group, which consisted of nine students in Professor Philip Nord’s class on the history of modern France and one ROTC cadet, spent seven days visiting military and other historical sights in Normandy and Paris with Lt. Col. John Stark and Master Sgt. Tom Jones of Princeton’s ROTC program.
Stark, the director of Army officer education and commissioning at Princeton and a lecturer in the history department, had led similar trips to Normandy while a professor at West Point and wanted to bring the experience to Princeton students.
He approached history department chair William Jordan last year about the creating the trip, and Jordan matched Stark with a history and ROTC alumnus who agreed to fund the trip. “Part of my goal was to give someone the chance to learn about one of these key turning points in history,” Stark said. He also hoped to enhance the connection between the ROTC program and the University.

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Senior athletes aim for pro careers

Recruiters come to Princeton’s campus every year to find seniors who will join the next crop of bankers, consultants, and public servants. But several graduates will be a different kind of professional after they walk through FitzRandolph Gate: student-athletes who continue to compete, either professionally or as Olympic hopefuls.
Kareem Maddox ’11 (Office of Athletic Communications)
Basketball star Kareem Maddox ’11, the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection, plans to play professionally overseas. He started the season as a talented sixth man, but finished the year as the leading scorer and rebounder for the Ivy-champion Tigers. Maddox said he is in the process of hiring an agent and will start working out with different teams this summer.
“It’s an opportunity to not only play more, but to travel for a few years and expand your horizons. I’m hoping to learn a new language and do volunteer work,” Maddox said.  Dan Mavraides ’11, a starting guard for the Tigers, also plans to play abroad following graduation.

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Women’s basketball wins Ivy, returns to NCAA Tournament

In the final home game of the season March 5, the Princeton women’s basketball team had the opportunity to clinch its second straight Ivy League title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament – and to avenge its only Ivy loss of the season, against Harvard.
Devona Allgood ’12 (Office of Athletic Communications)

“We knew what was on the line,” said center Devona Allgood ’12. “I think we came out really strong and ready to go and made sure to keep that going over the entire 40 minutes.”

The Crimson put up a fight, but Princeton prevailed, 68-59, on a solid team performance to complete a perfect 13-0 record at home.
Allgood scored the first points of the game and posted another dominant performance with 12 points and 10 rebounds (her second double-double of the weekend). She also had six blocks, shutting down Harvard’s Emma Markley, the league’s sixth-ranked scorer. Markley finished with just two points, on free throws.

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M-Profesa, Madi take top prizes at TigerLaunch 2011

For aspiring entrepreneurs at Princeton, Feb. 26 was a very important day. The Princeton Entrepreneurship Club held its annual TigerLaunch competition, in which student entrepreneurs present their businesses to a panel of judges with the hopes of winning money, free office space, and most importantly, validation.
i-16f0b5286c4f9bdb8bbd95c5fa4aedd4-wb_campus.jpg The competition began when teams submitted executive summaries in late December, and on Saturday, the semifinalists presented their ideas to judges in the morning. In the afternoon, teams and spectators gathered in McCosh 10 auditorium to watch the finalists present their ideas to the public.
The competition was separated into two categories: social enterprise and technology, products, and services.

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Ford ’79 sees greener, cleaner future for cars and manufacturing

Two years ago, two of the Big Three automakers declared bankruptcy and accepted federal bailout funds. The American auto industry had been in a steady decline, but suddenly it fell through the floor.
i-16f0b5286c4f9bdb8bbd95c5fa4aedd4-wb_campus.jpg“As a young boy growing up in Detroit, if anybody had ever said to me that I would live to see the day when Chrysler and GM declared bankruptcy, I would have said, ‘no chance,’” William Clay Ford Jr. ’79 told an audience of about a hundred people at the Friend Center Feb. 15.
Ford Motor Company was the only automaker that refused federal funds, and William Ford, the company’s executive chairman and speaker at the annual G.S. Beckwith Gilbert ’63 lecture, could not be happier about the decision not to.
“We wanted to chart our own course, and we thought we had the ability to do so,” Ford said. 

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East Wing a cappella: Tigertones visit the White House

The Tigertones made their White House debut Dec. 1 and plan to return for another reception next week. (Courtesy Will McCalpin ’12)

Click here for video of the group’s national anthem performance at a San Diego Chargers game Oct. 31.

Not many college students can say they have performed on the main stage of Carnegie Hall or on the field at a San Diego Chargers football game. Even fewer could say they performed at a party thrown by First Lady Michelle Obama ’85 at the White House. The Tigertones can now say they’ve done all three.

Instead of going to class Dec. 1, the ’Tones traveled to Washington, put on their white-jacket tuxedos, and performed for about 500 guests and the first lady in the East Wing of the White House.
The invitation came only a few days before Thanksgiving, so they had little time to prepare.
“We were frantically learning some Christmas carols in the past week,” tour manager Will McCalpin ’12 said.

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International debate team wins title in Singapore

While other Princeton students spent their fall break catching up on work and sleep, three undergraduates were busy using their Chinese language skills to become minor celebrities in Singapore and the rest of the Chinese-speaking world.
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From left, Jesse Mudrick ’12, John Pardon ’11, and Michael Medeiros ’11 competed in the 2010 International Varsity Debate, hosted by Singapore Media Corporation and China Central Television. (Courtesy Cara Healey *09)

Seniors Michael Medeiros and John Pardon and junior Jesse Murdick represented Princeton – and won their division – at the International Varsity Debate, hosted by Singapore Media Corporation and China Central Television.

The competition began in 1993 and debates are held every other year. The Tigers competed in the non-native speaker division, which also included the University of Sydney, the University of Nottingham, and Korea University.
Preparation for the competition began when the students returned to campus in September and auditioned for the opportunity to represent Princeton on an all-expenses-paid trip to Singapore. Professor C.P. Chou of the Chinese department supervised the trip.
“After we were picked we had practices two or three times a week with the Chinese teachers,” Medeiros said. They worked on debating style and learned what it would take to be successful in the structured, three-on-three debate format.

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Q&A with Everest explorer Vanessa Folkerts ’11


Vanessa Folkerts ’11 (Lakpa Rita Sherpa)
Vanessa Folkerts ’11 took a break during her Princeton career to pursue her passion for mountain climbing. She became the youngest European woman to summit Mount Everest in May 2010 and has returned to finish her final year of school. A history concentrator who grew up in London, she is focusing her independent work on the history of Tibetan medicine and plans to attend medical school after graduation. The Weekly Blog’s John Wetenhall ’11 sat down with Folkerts to hear her story.
Where did you get the idea to climb Everest?
It didn’t actually start with Everest. So many people see that as the be all and end all of climbing. It’s the most well-known mountain, it’s a brand name at this stage, but for me it was never, "Start to climb because then one day you’ll get to the top of Everest." And for me, now climbing also hasn’t ended just because I’ve happened to have been there.
When did you first start climbing?
My first introduction to climbing was in the summer right before coming to Princeton. I wanted to do something completely different, and previously it had always been competitive music courses. I play the violin. … I took an Outward Bound course in Alaska, which is supposed to be their most [physically] strenuous one … and I really enjoyed that.

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Scholars voice support for New York mosque project


Three Princeton scholars gathered on Sept. 27 to discuss the proposed New York City Muslim center Park 51, previously known as Cordoba House (or, to some, the “Ground Zero mosque”), and the controversy surrounding it.

The panelists – Professor Mark Cohen of Near Eastern studies, Professor Amaney Jamal of politics, and Provost Chris Eisgruber ’83, a professor in the Woodrow Wilson School – approached the controversy from different angles. Each concluded that the proposed Islamic cultural center near the former World Trade Center site should not only be allowed but embraced for the cultural understanding it could foster.

Cohen began by highlighting the claims some have made that the name Cordoba House invokes a symbol of Islamic conquest. The reference is to the city of Cordoba, Spain, which Muslims conquered in the eighth century. In fact, Cohen said, that claim of symbolism is inaccurate because Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived alongside one another in peace in the city of Cordoba under Muslim rule.

“Can Cordoba serve as a symbol for tolerance and mutual understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims today?” Cohen asked.  “Yes it can … as long as we remember the shared culture [in Cordoba] that created bonds between Muslims, Jews, and Christians.”

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