Tag Archives: Alan Blinder

Forum in New York honors Bogle ’51

John C. Bogle ’51 (Courtesy John C. Bogle ’51)
The story John C. Bogle ’51 often tells of his senior-thesis journey is something to which nearly every Princeton senior, past and present, can relate. It started in Firestone Library and ended before graduation in a 133-page document.
Holed up in then-newly built Firestone Library, Bogle paged through a December 1949 copy of Fortune magazine looking for inspiration. An article on page 116 caught his eye. It was titled “Big Money in Boston,” and it discussed the “tiny but contentious” mutual-fund industry. Bogle realized he had found his thesis topic as he read about an industry that appeared “totally untouched by academics and the press” at the time.
Bogle’s thesis, titled “The Economic Role of the Investment Company,” outlined a strategy to make investing in mutual funds more accessible to individual investors with lower costs made possible through indexing rather than actively managing funds.
The idea eventually led to Bogle’s founding of the Vanguard Group in 1974, an investment-management company that took advantage of low-cost indexing. Vanguard now manages approximately $1.6 trillion dollars in assets, according to a February 2011 estimate.
At a Jan. 31 gathering that celebrated Bogle’s influence on the financial world, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker ’49 said, “[Bogle] is still living off an undergraduate thesis he wrote at Princeton. He got the thing reprinted! And it sells 50 years later!”
Bogle replied, “Never underestimate the power of luck.”

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Names in the news

i-cb871462d587ce5377455ff9e2535dd3-wb_alumni.jpgA recent feature story went inside the “batlab” with Brown University professor James Simmons *69, whose insights in bat navigation have influenced advances in sonar technology. [Providence Journal]

Cedar Crest College president Carmen Twillie Ambar *94 and Shenandoah University president Tracy Fitzsimmons ’89 were featured in a recent story about college presidents who juggle work demands with young families. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Princeton economics professor Alan Blinder ’67 co-authored a new study that uses models to show that government interventions during the last three years helped to avert massive unemployment and deflation in the U.S. economy. [New York Times]

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Bio brilliance

i-aa4baf69923f73dce8b963ee77d61daa-mango_susan_download_4.jpgTiger of the Week: Susan Mango *90

Consider the week that was for Susan Mango *90: First, the biologist from the University of Utah published a paper in Current Biology, showing how a gene can be manipulated to extend the lifespan of C. elegans, a small worm commonly used as a model organism in biology labs. Then, she was named a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, her undergraduate alma mater, effective July 1, 2009. And finally, on Sept. 23, the MacArthur Foundation chose her as one of its 2008 fellows, an honor that comes with the five-year, $500,000 “genius grant.” That morning Mango told The Salt Lake Tribune, “It’s such a surprise. I’m still kind of speechless.” What’s left to say? The Princeton Ph.D. is our Tiger of the Week.
Two other graduate alumni also were selected as MacArthur fellows: John Ochsendorf *98, a structural engineer and architectural historian at MIT, and Marin Soljačić *00, a theoretical physicist at MIT. Oschendorf, Soljačić, and Mango will be spotlighted in a future issue of PAW.
Photo courtesy the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Do you have a nominee for Tiger of the Week? Let us know. All alumni qualify. PAW’s Tiger of the Week is selected by our staff, with help from readers like you.

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Follow the flying disc

Princeton and the birth of ultimate Frisbee

The game was created in a parking lot. In 1968, a group of kids from the high school newspaper in Maplewood, N.J., created a team game that used a Frisbee – mixing elements of soccer, football, and hockey – and called it the “ultimate” sport, or ultimate Frisbee.
A few years later, in another parking lot in New Brunswick, N.J., one of those high schoolers from Maplewood, Jonny Hines ’74, joined with friends from Princeton and Rutgers to play the new sport’s first intercollegiate match.
The turnout that day in November 1972 was remarkable, considering that ultimate was still unknown beyond a small network of high school and college students. About 1,000 spectators gathered on the sidelines, along with a reporter from The New York Times and sportscaster Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankee pitcher, who covered the game for New York’s ABC affiliate. Rutgers edged Princeton, 29-27.
i-bb0c52c0a7e2e4ab3f9882259058d459-UltimateFrisbee.jpg“We publicized it well, somewhat as a half-joke, but it was taken seriously,” said Hines, now a Moscow-based partner at an international law firm. “People were surprised to see it was a real sport – a fast-paced, athletic, competitive sport.”
Joel Silver, one of the sport’s co-founders and a Lafayette College student at the time, helped to promote the event. Silver would go on to produce movies, including The Matrix and Die Hard. The third co-founder, Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring ’74, had been a student at Princeton but was killed in a car accident during his freshman year.
In the decades since the game in New Brunswick, ultimate Frisbee has spread and grown at a remarkable rate, particularly on college campuses. Hines said his Frisbee-throwing days dwindled after Princeton, when he devoted his time to law school, his career, and his family, but he still takes some pride in being there at the beginning.
“I’m proud, it was fun, and still fun to think that I had such a part in it,” Hines said in an e-mail. “[But] I’m so absorbed in interesting work as an international lawyer (in New York and now in Russia) – work that’s really fascinating and influential – that I don’t really have time to stop to seek to bask in any such past ‘glories.'”
Read about other Princeton innovations and innovators in the Jan. 23 issue of PAW.
Above, Jonny Hines ’74, left, and Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring ’74 in a photo of the 1970 Columbia High School varsity Frisbee team. Photo by Mark Epstein, courtesy of “Ultimate: The First Four Decades,” www.ultimatehistory.com.

Names in the news

In a Jan. 21 story, The New York Times covered Kevin Gover ’78‘s challenging first months as director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. … The Newark Star-Ledger highlighted the musical compositions of the late Edward T. Cone, a longtime Princeton professor whose work was performed by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra Jan. 20. Cone’s musical executor, Jeffrey Farrington *75, is quoted in the story. … Physics World reported Jan. 18 that theoretical physicist Edward Witten *76 will receive the Crafoord Prize, which is given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and recognizes fields not covered by the Nobel prizes. Witten is “widely regarded as the leading figure in the development of string theory,” according to the article.
A New York Times Magazine feature on Ben Bernanke recalled the Fed chairman’s years as a Princeton professor, drawing on interviews with former colleagues Alan Blinder ’67 and Burton Malkiel *64. … In a Jan. 21 opinion piece in Newsday, associate professor of politics and African American studies Melissa Harris-Lacewell argued that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did a disservice to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by “openly disavowing the continuing importance of race in America” at a recent debate in Nevada. “King championed justice by fearlessly engaging racial inequality,” Harris-Lacewell wrote, “not by pretending it did not exist.”

Alumni anagrams, decoded

The Jan. 16 Weekly Blog included the names of six of the 26 people chosen by a PAW panel as Princeton’s “most influential alumni,” disguised in anagrams. The answers are listed below.

Indoor owls, wow! = Woodrow Wilson 1879
Banjo nerd, eh? = John Bardeen *36
Turnover tribe = Robert Venturi ’47 *50
Hippie funeral = Philip Freneau 1771
Landlords fumed = Donald Rumsfeld ’54
Harder plan = Ralph Nader ’55

More at PAW Online

Rally ’Round the Cannon – Gregg Lange ’70 provides a list of 10 Really Important Things that you can’t find on the Princeton Web site.
The salesman – Lud Gutmann ’55 recalls the day a scholarship student and his parents went to Langrock’s to pick out a suit for graduation.
Alumni connections – Four alumni are working together at the headquarters of John Edwards’ presidential campaign.
Working the crowd – Cushney Roberts ’76 gave up an engineering job to perform on the stage; his Motown and R&B tribute group tours the country and on cruise ships.