Category Archives: Campus News

Tiger of the Week: Roger Nierenberg ’69, a Maestro of Organizational Dynamics

Roger Nierenberg ’69, left. (Courtesy Portfolio Publishing)

Roger Nierenberg ’69, left. (Courtesy Portfolio Publishing)

For nearly two decades, conductor Roger Nierenberg ’69 has used examples from orchestral music to illustrate principles of organizational dynamics that apply in other contexts. Hundreds of companies, in industries ranging from health care to finance, have invited him to conduct his interactive Music Paradigm seminars, which feature live orchestra rehearsals. And Nierenberg continues to find new fans — including music critic James R. Oestreich, who recently reviewed a Music Paradigm session in The New York Times.

Nierenberg, meeting with nursing directors at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, “was making real music and making good sense,” Oestreich wrote, when the conductor began his rehearsal with string players from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He also modeled dysfunctional dynamics, acting aloof or micromanaging, before finishing with a performance that illustrated best practices. A conversation with the nursing directors followed.

Nierenberg, who outlined his program in the 2009 book Maestro, was deeply engaged in music by the time he began his undergraduate years at Princeton, and during his time on campus, he was active in the University Orchestra, the Glee Club, the Opera Club, and the Princeton Chamber Singers. He served as music director of the Stamford (Conn.) Symphony and the Jacksonville Symphony in the 1980s and ’90s before turning his attention to the Music Paradigm program. “I found, somewhat to my astonishment, that it was a very potent business tool,” Nierenberg told PAW in 2002. “It grew slowly, by tiny increments. I, and others, began to discover the power of music as metaphor.” Continue reading

For Engineers, A Hands-On Chance to Design, Serve

Kasturi Shah ’16, center, and Amanda Li ’16 talk with one of EWB’s community partners in La Pitajaya, Peru. (Courtesy Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17)

Kasturi Shah ’16, center, and Amanda Li ’16 talk with one of EWB’s community partners in La Pitajaya, Peru. (Courtesy Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17)

In the summer of 2013, Amanda Li ’16 and Kasturi Shah ’16 walked the hillside path of what would be phase two of a new gravity-fed potable water system for La Pitajaya, a community in the Andean foothills of Peru. The path wasn’t really a path, Li said, and their tools were pretty basic — a 60-meter measuring tape and a handheld GPS device. But Li and Shah, project managers for Princeton’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), got the information they needed to begin their designs.

A year later, after months of planning and more than three weeks of exhausting labor, Shah was racing down the same mountain, doing her best to run faster than the water in the pipes so that she could be at the bottom when it reached the tap stand below. Seeing the project’s completion was cause for cheers and celebration from the Princeton team — six undergraduates and two traveling mentors — as well as the community partners who helped bring the system to life, Shah said.

The Princeton EWB group, founded in 2004, had two summer projects this year: one in Peru and one in Kenya. A third trip, to Sierra Leone, was canceled due to the Ebola outbreak. About 50 students are involved in various phases of the EWB work, but only a handful travel to implement the systems that the teams design. The projects are community-initiated, Li said, and community members play key roles in construction and implementation.

Corrie Kavanaugh ’17, a civil engineering major on the La Pitajaya team, said this summer’s trip — her first with EWB — was a remarkable service experience and an education in practical engineering. “It’s very difficult to actually design something in real life,” Kavanaugh said. “Being part of EWB has given me technical experience that you don’t normally get [in the classroom].”

Below, view photos of the La Pitajaya team, courtesy of Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17. Continue reading

States of Desire Revisited: Travels in Gay America by Edmund White

Professor Edmund White

Professor Edmund White

The author: Edmund White is one of the leading chroniclers of gay life in America and a longtime professor of creative writing at Princeton. His new book, States of Desire Revisited: Travels in Gay America, brings back a chronicle of gay life in the United States that was first published in 1980. White is the author of several novels, including the groundbreaking coming-of-age tale A Boy’s Own Story, as well as several memoirs about his life abroad, his many lovers, and his role as a self-described “archaeologist of gossip.”

The book: In a new introduction and afterword, White looks back at the late ’70s, when he traveled the country to explore gay liberation, political activism, and sexual freedom. The book covers San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, but also explores the less public gay life in places such as Kansas City and Memphis. Throughout, White peppers his prose with personal stories and colorful observations, capturing the nuances of gay life just before the AIDS epidemic rocked the community. White’s afterword explores how the Internet has affected gay culture.

White-States-of-Desire-cOpening lines: “Since this book came out in 1980, the world of gays has evolved more quickly than any other in peacetime since the beginning of history. Violence and war have been able to effect sudden and usually disastrous changes, but the changes that occur peacefully are most often slow and sedimentary. In fact this book shows a past world preserved in amber, despite the way that world was full of plans, impregnated by what it imagined was a utopian future.” Continue reading

Behind the Scenes of ‘Red,’ Theatre Intime’s First Fall Production

Ryan Gedrich ’16 as Ken, assistant to the artist Mark Rothko, in Theatre Intime's production of Red. (Aleka Gürel ’15)

Ryan Gedrich ’16 as Ken, assistant to the artist Mark Rothko, in Theatre Intime’s production of Red. (Aleka Gürel ’15)

As a high-school senior, Oge Ude ’16 read as many scripts as she could get her hands on, including one for Red, John Logan’s Tony Award-winning exploration of the abstract painter Mark Rothko. Last fall, Ude proposed a reinterpretation of the play, incorporating music and dance, for her final project in a Princeton theater course, and this week, she’ll bring that vision to the stage in Theatre Intime’s first production of the school year.

Red seemed like a perfect fit for the fall, Ude said, with the Princeton University Art Museum completing its Rothko to Richter exhibition Oct. 5. She cast the play in the spring — John Fairchild ’15 plays Rothko, and Ryan Gedrich ’16 plays Ken, the artist’s assistant — and communicated with cast and crew over the summer via Skype and email. Since returning to campus, the actors and dancers have pursued an intense rehearsal schedule in preparation for the show’s Sept. 26 premiere at Hamilton Murray Theater (show times available here).

Logan’s intriguing, intelligent dialogue about creativity attracted Ude to Red, but she says that the Theatre Intime production aims to be “accessible to all,” highlighting Rothko’s passion as much as his art.

Below, PAW contributor Aleka Gürel ’15 captured behind-the-scenes photos of Ude, Fairchild, and Gedrich during rehearsals of Red. Continue reading

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.