Tag Archives: Names in the news

Names in the News: Kagan ’81 on Writing, Massey *78 on Immigration, and More

When Supreme Court Justice ELENA KAGAN ’81 drafts opinions, she writes “so that a non-lawyer can understand it,” according to a recent interview published in The National Law Journal. Kagan, a former dean of Harvard Law School, also said that law schools need to do more to help their students become better writers.

How did CHARLIE STILLITANO ’81 become the best-connected American in European soccer? Close friendships with the likes of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have played a big role. “You earn trust by your behavior with people,” Ferguson tells Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl ’96. “I’ve got a million Charlie stories. He invites you over for dinner when he’s at home, and it’s a long day of humor, fun and good food.”

The Bitcoin Foundation’s former chief scientist, GAVIN ANDRESEN ’88, told MIT Technology Review that the crypto-currency is in urgent need of changes to help it process more transactions. Otherwise, he said, the $3.3 billion system may become “congested and unreliable.” Earlier this month, Princeton launched an online course about Bitcoin on Coursera.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s view of illegal immigration is at odds with the statistical trends, which show the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico in sharp decline, Princeton sociology professor DOUGLAS MASSEY *78 told The New York Times. Massey’s research was featured in PAW in 2012.

Names in the News: Full ’15’s Clever Design, Cabral ’12 Runs at World Championships, and More

030613coverEDEN FULL ’15, the engineer, entrepreneur, and Thiel Fellow featured in PAW’s March 6, 2103, cover story, has continued to pursue innovative solutions to generating power and providing clean water for communities in developing countries. Design News called the latest version of Full’s SunSaluter “a clever idea to address these two problems simultaneously.”

TerraCycle, the Trenton, N.J., waste recycling start-up that TOM SZAKY ’05 founded as a Princeton freshman, is the focus of an ongoing reality TV series, Human Resources. Szaky, who dropped out of college to build the company, told The New York Times that he hopes “to show that doing good can also create revenue and phenomenal value.”

Congressional candidate LINDY LI ’12 faces an uphill battle as she tries to unseat three-term incumbent Rep. Pat Meehan in Pennsylvania’s 7th district in 2016. But according to a recent Washington Post profile, Li has a stubborn confidence and the “special brand of optimism” of the millennial generation. If elected, she would be the youngest woman in the history of the U.S. Congress.

Track star DONN CABRAL ’12 finished 10th in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing Aug. 24. Kenya dominated the race, capturing the three medal positions and the fourth-place slot as well. Cabral, one of three Americans in the top 10, told Runner’s World that he was not happy with his race. “This is probably the least I’ve managed to show up when it counts,” he said. “That said, I’m not going to bang my head about it for too long. I think I had a great season.”

Gen. MARK A. MILLEY ’80 was sworn in as the U.S. Army’s 39th chief of staff Aug. 14. In his first official remarks, he spoke about the nation’s preparedness for conflicts of many kinds. “As America, we have no luxury of a single opponent,” Milley said, according to The Washington Post. “We have to be able to fight guerrillas and terrorists all the way up through nation-state militaries. If we do not maintain our commitment to remain strong in the air, on the sea and yes, on the ground, then we will pay the butcher’s bill in blood, and we will forever lose the precious gift of our freedom.”

Names in the News: Berlin ’07 on Lunch Ladies and Admissions; Berlind ’52’s Tony Winners; More

Lev Berlin ’07 (Courtesy Lev Berlin)

Lev Berlin ’07 (Courtesy Lev Berlin)

Can a high-school lunch lady help you get into Princeton? Maybe, LEV BERLIN ’07 wrote in an essay for Time.com — or maybe not. It’s not clear whether a phone call from his lunch lady to a prominent alumnus helped his application, but in any case, Berlin advises, “Be nice to your lunch ladies, people.”

Broadway producer ROGER BERLIND ’52’s string of hits continues. Berlind co-produced two of the 2015 Tony Award winners: Best Play honoree The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Skylight, which won in the Best Revival of a Play category.

Author and professor RUTH BEHAR *83 has joined with poet and fellow Cuban-American Richard Blanco to launch a new writing project called “Bridges to/from Cuba,” which aims to give Cubans a forum for sharing their hopes for the future of U.S.-Cuba relations. Behar, who moved from Cuba to New York City at age 5, is the author of Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in Between Journeys. Continue reading

Names in the News: Taub ’14 Explores ISIS Recruiting; Gowin Exhibit at The Morgan

BEN TAUB ’14 wrote “Journey to Jihad,” the lead story in the June 1 issue of The New Yorker on European teenagers who join ISIS. Taub used money he received as a contestant on The Voice to fund reporting trips to the Turkish-Syrian border, he said in an MSNBC interview.

Influential photographer and emeritus professor EMMET GOWIN’s work is featured in a new exhibit, “Hidden Likeness,” at The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City through Sept. 20. Peggy Fogelman, the Morgan’s acting director, said that Gowin’s art has “creative and often surprising linkages with Morgan objects of widely different eras and artistic disciplines.” Continue reading

Names in the News: Advice for Grads from Schmidt ’76, Obama ’85, Kopp ’89, and More

Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator LISA JACKSON *86, now the vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple Inc., will deliver Princeton’s Baccalaureate address at the University Chapel May 31. But Jackson is not the only alum speaking to graduates this spring. Below, read commencement advice for the Class of 2015 from six other Princetonians.

Eric Schmidt ’76 delivered the Commencement address at Virginia Tech. (Courtesy Virginia Tech)

Eric Schmidt ’76 delivered the Commencement address at Virginia Tech. (Courtesy Virginia Tech)

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At Virginia Tech, Google chairman ERIC SCHMIDT ’76, drew on inspiration from Metallica lead singer James Hetfield, who has said, “I choose to live, not just exist.” Schmidt expanded on that idea: “Choosing to live means life is not lived in the glow of a monitor. Life is not a series of status updates. Life is not about your friend count — it’s about the friends you can count on.”

Be True to Yourself

In more than six years as first lady, MICHELLE OBAMA ’85 told Tuskegee University graduates, she has endured a range of criticism and name-calling — some of it particularly cruel — but she came to realize it was “just noise.” “It did not define me,” she said. “It didn’t change who I was. And most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back.  … So, graduates, that’s what I want for all of you.  I want you all to stay true to the most real, most sincere, most authentic parts of yourselves.” Continue reading

Names in the News: Milley ’80 Tabbed for Army’s Top Post, Felten Returning to D.C., and More

Gen. Mark Milley ’80 (U.S. Army)

Gen. Mark Milley ’80 (U.S. Army)

Four-star Gen. MARK MILLEY ’80 is President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the next Army chief of staff. Milley, a Princeton ROTC graduate and 35-year veteran, told PAW last year that while he wanted to serve his country, he hadn’t intended to make a career in the military. “But then I really liked it,” he said. “I got this sense of commitment and of being involved in something that had a sense of purpose.”

The Obama administration called on another Princetonian earlier in the week when it named professor of computer science and public affairs EDWARD FELTEN as deputy U.S. chief technology officer, a post in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He will take a leave of absence from the University, as he did in 2011-12 to serve as the chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission. The Washington Post called Felten “one of the tech world’s most valuable players.”

LORI DICKERSON FOUCHÉ ’91, chief executive of Prudential Insurance Group, sets a high bar for managers in her company. “I expect my leaders to listen,” she told The New York Times in an interview for the Corner Office column. “I expect them to ask questions. I expect them to understand what’s going on. I am somewhat infamous for saying, ‘So how’s it going?’ And they’ll say, ‘Great.’ Then I’ll say, ‘How do you know?’” Continue reading

Names in the News: Fishman ’78 Releases Bridge Scandal Indictments; Blount ’12 Writes About Race

Paul Fishman ’78 (U.S. Department of Justice)

Paul Fishman ’78 (U.S. Department of Justice)

PAUL FISHMAN ’78, the United States Attorney for New Jersey, made headlines last week with the announcement of indictments in the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal. According to The New York Times, Fishman said that aides to Gov. Chris Christie and a Christie-appointed Port Authority official “callously victimized” citizens of Fort Lee, N.J., exacting political retribution on the town’s mayor by closing lanes near the bridge and creating traffic jams for four days in September 2013.

For JULIA BLOUNT ’12, what began as a post to Facebook friends became a widely circulated essay on race relations in America in the wake of unrest in Baltimore. Blount’s post, “Dear white Facebook friends: I need you to respect what Black America is feeling right now,” was adapted into a story for Salon.com and to date has been shared by more than 800,000 people.

ALAN LUKENS ’46, who as a young U.S. soldier helped to free victims of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, returned to mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation. Lukens, who later joined the U.S. Foreign Service and became an American ambassador, spoke at a May 3 gathering of survivors and public officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It was a terrible shock to see how much you, the survivors, had suffered,” Lukens said, “from starvation, disease, brutality, and freezing conditions — and to learn that 31,000 had died here earlier.” He wrote about that experience in a 2010 essay for PAW.

Names in the News: Allen ’93 Nominated for PEN Award; Scheide ’36, McPhee ’53 on N.J. Hall of Fame Ballot; More

Danielle Allen ’93 (Laura Rose)

Danielle Allen ’93 (Laura Rose)

Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, by DANIELLE ALLEN ’93, has been named a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. Our Declaration is a line-by-line commentary on the Declaration of Independence and an analysis of its contents. The ultimate winner of the award, which is available for nonfiction books of “notable literary merit and critical perspective” published in 2013 or 2014, will receive a prize of $10,000.

In a podcast for the scientific journal Nature, astrophysics professor NETA BAHCALL speaks to Kerri Smith about having her and her husband John Bahcall’s wedding rings travel to the Hubble Space Telescope. John Bahcall, who played a major role in the launch and maintenance of the Hubble, died in 2005. In 2009, astronaut John Grunsfeld traveled to Hubble for its final servicing mission, and he brought with him the couple’s rings as a way of honoring John Bahcall’s important contributions to the Hubble project. Continue reading

Names in the News: Wage ’12 on Altruism, Crossword Champ Feyer ’99, and More

MATT WAGE ’12 was featured in Nicholas Kristof’s opinion column in The New York Times as the titular “Trader Who Donates Half His Pay.” Wage, who was a philosophy major at Princeton and a student of moral philosopher Peter Singer, is now an arbitrage trader who donates half his income to charity. Wage’s efforts are an example of “effective altruism,” a movement championed by Singer that encourages people to consider all the ways they can make a positive difference and choose the one with maximum impact.

Emeritus professor TONI MORRISON is the subject of a New York Times Magazine profile that starts in the century-old barn that is now the studio where Morrison recorded the audiobooks for her latest novel, God Help the Child, and delves into her life and vision as an editor and writer.

At the 38th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, DAN FEYER ’99 took first place after beating his opponent and fellow crossword champion Tyler Hinman by a half-second. Both Feyer and Hinman had previously won five consecutive titles at the tournament, which was founded in 1978 by New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz.  Continue reading

Names in the News: Cruz ’92 Announces Presidential Run, Author Lee Discusses His Work, and More

Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (U.S. Senate portrait)

Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (U.S. Senate portrait)

Shortly after midnight on Monday, Texas senator TED CRUZ ’92 announced on Twitter that he is running for president in 2016. He delivered a formal speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. on Monday and is the first candidate to officially enter the race. In an op-ed for CNN, professor of history and public affairs JULIAN ZELIZER analyzed Cruz’s chances by comparing his campaign to that of Barry Goldwater, the Republican senator from Arizona who ran against Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Johnson became president after defeating Goldwater, whose extremism “scared off” voters in solidly Republican states and helped Johnson win a landslide victory. MARC FISHER ’80 of The Washington Post also wrote about Cruz in a feature story that includes a look at the candidate’s Princeton years.

Creative writing professor CHANG-RAE LEE spoke at the annual Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing, where he discussed his latest novel, On Such a Full Sea, with Edward Wong of the New York Times’ Sinosphere Blog. Lee answers questions about the dystopian nature of the novel, which is set in a future where Baltimore has become B-Mor, a city of transplanted Chinese laborers; his research trip to a factory in Shenzhen, China; and the roles that environmental issues and immigration play in his narrative. Continue reading

Names in the News: Hart ’69 *71 To Lead NTSB, Jarecki ’85 Series Leads to Durst Arrest, and More

Christopher Hart ’69 *71 (NTSB)

Christopher Hart ’69 *71 (NTSB)

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved CHRISTOPHER HART ’69 *71 as the new chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) March 12. Hart, a lawyer whose past work includes stints at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, joined the NTSB in 2009 and has been serving in its top job on an interim basis since April 2014.

Filmmaker ANDREW JARECKI ’85’s latest project, the HBO series The Jinx, made headlines when the documentary’s subject, murder suspect Robert Durst, was arrested on Saturday. Durst apparently confessed to three murders while speaking to himself on microphone during a bathroom break in one of Jarecki’s interview sessions. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, Jarecki recalled the first time that he and his partners listened to the audio, saying it “was so chilling to hear it.” Continue reading

Names in the News: Sewell ’86 on Selma Today, Touring China with Hessler ’92, and More

Rep. Terri Sewell ’86, third from right, took part in the March 7 Selma commemoration with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Rep. Terri Sewell ’86, third from right, took part in the March 7 Selma commemoration with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In a piece for the Washington Post, style writer Krissah Thompson followed Rep. TERRI SEWELL ’86, D-Ala., to her hometown of Selma. Sewell and her family and friends reflected on the city’s historic significance and the way Selma has faltered in the years since Sewell graduated as a debate champion from the city’s fully integrated public high school — now effectively resegregated and without the celebrated debate team. “We need to live Selma and know that the assaults of the past are here again,” Sewell said during an address delivered at Selma’s Brown Chapel A.M.E. “Old battles are here again.”

Author PETER HESSLER ’92 wrote in The New Yorker about his experience traveling on a publicity tour in Beijing with the Chinese censor of his books. The story goes on to consider more broadly his experience as an American author writing about China, and the role of his Chinese translators — whose censorship, he says, is a sort of “defensive” censorship intended to circumvent entirely any negative attention from officials. Of recent articles that are critical of American writers who accept manuscript changes so that they can publish in China, Hessler writes, “The articles tend to take a narrowly Western perspective. … This was one reason I went on the tour — I figured that the best way to understand censorship is to spend a week with your censor.”

For 15 years, Sepp Blatter has been president of FIFA, the international governing body of soccer. Now, as FIFA’s reputation continues to spiral downward, Blatter faces a number of potential challengers in the next election. One of them is Prince ALI BIN AL HUSSEIN ’99 of Jordan. In an interview with The New York Times, Prince Ali called for more transparency, more collaborative decision-making, and more financial accountability to FIFA’s member nations. Continue reading

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

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

Books by Fishman ’01, Galchen ’98, Goffman *10, and Sharma ’92 Featured Among New York Times Notables

Three books by Princeton alumni were featured in The New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2014: A Replacement Life, by Boris Fishman ’01; American Innovations, by Rivka Galchen ’98; On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, by Alice Goffman *10; and Family Life, by Akhil Sharma ’92. Emeritus professor James McPherson also made the list with his biography of Jefferson Davis, Embattled Rebel.  Times Book Review editors also named Sharma’s novel as one of the year’s 10 best.

PRINCE-RRjacketRead more about the authors in the PAW Archives:

Boris Fishman ’01: Immigrant Experiences Inspire a Debut Novel

Fishman, who was born in the former Soviet Union and came to the United States at age 9, told PAW contributor Maria LoBiondo that the immigrant experience has played a key role in his writing. “Outwardly I’m very American, but inwardly I’m Russian,” he said. “The conflict is very rich for writing. Honey for art, but vinegar for life.”

Tiger of the Week: Author Rivka Galchen ’98

goffman-coverGalchen’s fresh, innovative short-story collection earned high marks from reviewers.

Life on the Run

Goffman, a rising star in sociology, chronicled the human costs of America’s penal system after spending her 20s immersed in fieldwork with wanted young men.

Tiger of the Week: Novelist Akhil Sharma ’92

Sharma’s semi-autobiographical second novel was the result of a sometimes painful writing process that took nearly a decade. He wrote about the experience in a personal essay for The New York Times.

For the record: This post has been updated to include Akhil Sharma ’92’s novel Family Life.

Election 2014: Results for Princeton Alumni Candidates


Ken Buck ’81 (Wikipedia)

The GOP dominated the midterm election results, which was good news for at least one Princetonian: Republican Ken Buck ’81, the district attorney for Colorado’s Weld County, will head to Washington, D.C., as a freshman representative from the state’s 4th district, the Denver Post reported. Buck ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and lost narrowly in the statewide election, but voters in his home district backed him this fall with more than 65 percent of votes cast in his favor.

Greg Orman ’91 (Courtesy Orman for U.S. Congress)

Greg Orman ’91 (Courtesy Orman for U.S. Congress)

Other alumni challengers did not fare as well. Greg Orman ’91, running for Senate as an independent in Kansas, lost in a tight race to incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Orman gave Roberts “the strongest challenge of his three-decade congressional career,” according to The Wichita Eagle.

Republican Nan Hayworth ’81, a former congresswoman attempting to regain her seat in New York’s Hudson Valley, trailed incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney — but as of Wednesday morning, she had not yet conceded, according to The Journal News. (Update: Hayworth did concede Wednesday afternoon.) Paul Clements *92 *96, D-Mich., won 40 percent of the vote in his state’s 6th district but could not unseat Republican Rep. Fred Upton. Republican Peter Theron ’78 won 31 percent of the vote in Wisconsin’s 2nd district and fell to incumbent Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan. Continue reading

Election 2014: Princetonians Vie for Seats in Congress

Election day is one week away, and several alumni are on the campaign trail as candidates for office, including 10 who are running for seats in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives.

Sen. Jeff Merkley *82, D-Ore., made headlines this week as the first U.S. Senator to support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, in a Talking Points Memo interview (the issue will be on the ballot as a statewide referendum). Princeton’s other Senate candidate, Kansas independent Greg Orman ’91, continues to attract national attention and local endorsements, including a nod from The Kansas City Star.

Two Princetonians are vying for Congressional seats in Colorado: incumbent Democratic Rep. Jared Polis ’96, who represents the second district, and Ken Buck ’81, the district attorney for Weld County and the Republican candidate in the fourth district. Both sat down for election forums with moderator Aaron Harber ’75 earlier this month.

Former Rep. Nan Hayworth ’81, a New York Republican, is trying to recapture the Hudson County seat that she lost to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., in 2012, and the race is tightening, according to polls cited by CBS New York. D. Peter Theron ’78, a Wisconsin Republican, is making his second run for Congress — and his first since 2008. Continue reading

Merwin ’48, Bradley ’80 Featured in New Films

Bob Bradley ’80 (Courtesy PBS)

Bob Bradley ’80 (Courtesy PBS)

Two Princeton alumni will be featured in documentary films released this month: W.S. Merwin ’48, a former poet laureate of the United States and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is profiled in Even Though the Whole World Is Burning, which premieres June 8 at the Maui Film Festival; and Bob Bradley ’80, a former coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team, is the central figure of American Pharaoh, a film about Egypt’s national team that will air on PBS stations beginning June 16. Continue reading

Q&A with Chris Lu ’88, on working for President Barack Obama

(Photo: White House Photo Office)
In 2005, a young U.S. senator from Illinois asked Chris Lu ’88 to serve as his legislative director. Three years later, Barack Obama was elected president, and Lu was appointed as the White House Cabinet secretary. Lu stepped down from that position in February so that he could, as he told The Daily Princetonian, “enjoy some things I haven’t had a chance to enjoy over the last eight years.”
Was it difficult to make the decision to leave the White House?
I’ve been with the president since almost the day he came into Senate. It’s hard to leave, but for me it was the right time personally and professionally for a transition. For the president, being in the White House is a marathon, but for the White House staff it’s a sprint, and before you drop, you pass the baton to somebody else. It’s a nonstop schedule.
Before you go into a job like this, you need to find some balance in your life. If you let yourself, you could work every waking hour. My days usually started at 5 a.m., running in the dark. Having that time by myself to think and clear my head was important.
You were one of the most senior Asian-Americans in the Obama administration.
My parents were both immigrants to this country — they were born in China and came here from Taiwan to go to college in the late ’50s. At the time, it would have been unthinkable to them that their son someday would be working in the White House. I never got jaded about what it meant, and what a unique experience that was. Throughout history, there have not been a lot of people who looked like me who worked at the White House.

Continue reading

Names in the news: Rumsfeld ’54 on wrestling, Lander ’78’s Breakthrough Prize, and more

i-cb871462d587ce5377455ff9e2535dd3-wb_alumni.jpgFormer defense secretary — and former varsity wrestler — Donald Rumsfeld ’54 added his voice to the call for the Olympics to keep wrestling in the games. [Washington Post]

Genomics pioneer Eric Lander ’78 was one of 11 inaugural recipients of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the world’s richest prize for medicine and biology. Princeton Professor David Botstein also received the prize. [New York Times]

Princeton Professor Douglas Massey *78 contested the notion that Mexican immigrants come to the United States to have children, noting that social science shows work as the overwhelming draw. [U.S. News & World Report]

Elena Kagan ’81 and Sonia Sotomayor ’76 supported cameras in the courtroom before they became Supreme Court justices, but both have changed their position since joining the high court. [New York Times]

Commentator Pete Hegseth ’03 examined the rhetoric and substance of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. [National Review]


Names in the news: Academy Awards preview

Jedd ’89 and Todd Wider ’86 (Photo: Courtesy Wider Film Projects)

Brothers Jedd ’89 and Todd Wider ’86 have earned an Academy Award nomination for the short documentary film Kings Point, which tells the stories of five senior citizens living in a Florida retirement community. The two producers teamed with director/producer Sari Gilman to create the film, which won the Grand Jury Prize for best short at the 2012 Silverdocs documentary festival.

The Widers were executive producers of Alex Gibney’s 2007 feature-length documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, which won a 2008 Academy Award and a 2009 Emmy, following its release on HBO.

At least two other alumni have a personal connection to Oscar nominees in the Best Picture category: Jamie Horton ’78, a Dartmouth College theater professor who had a small role as U.S. Rep. Giles Stuart in Lincoln; and Hal Saunders ’52, a former State Department official who was a real-life player in the events depicted in Argo.

Horton, who submitted an audition tape at the urging of a friend, told Dartmouth Now that director Steven Spielberg selected regional theater actors for several roles in the film. “As an actor and as an American, it was an amazing experience to work on this epic movie, and it’s one that I will treasure,” he said.

Saunders is portrayed by actor Bill Kalmenson in Argo, though he noted in an email to Class of 1952 secretary that it is “a non-speaking role.” Saunders was an assistant secretary of state during the Iran hostage crisis. He currently serves as director of international affairs at the Kettering Foundation.

A handful of Princetonians have won Academy Awards, including actors James Stewart ’32 and Jose Ferrer ’33; writers Ring Lardner Jr. ’36 and Bo Goldman ’53; writer, director, and producer Ethan Coen ’79; Pixar animator Michael Kass ’82; and most recently, Pixar software engineer David Laur ’84. The University also was the focal point of an Oscar-winning film, Princeton: A Search for Answers, which won the 1974 award for best short documentary.

Update: An alert and loyal reader noted another film with alumni connections — How to Survive a Plague, a best documentary feature nominee this year. Howard Gertler ’96 produced the film and Loring McAlpin ’83 was an associate producer. The documentary follows the work of two groups — ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) — “whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.” The film won best documentary at the Gotham Independent Film Awards last year.

Names in the news: Filibustering, hacking, chick lit, and more

i-cb871462d587ce5377455ff9e2535dd3-wb_alumni.jpgSen. Jeff Merkley ’82, D-Ore., is one of the leaders in a movement on Capitol Hill to reform the filibuster. [The New Yorker]

New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth ’04 spoke with “On the Media” about her story detailing attempts by Chinese hackers to infiltrate the Times’ computers. [WNYC]

In a recent interview, author Jodi Picoult ’87 quipped that “it would be news to the 47 percent of people who write me fan mail who happen to be men to find out that I write chick lit.” [New York Times Magazine]

New Orleans lawyer and civic leader William Hines ’78 was selected as Rex 2013, king of Carnival, for the city’s famed Mardi Gras celebration. [Times Picayune]

Frederick Ilchman ’90, curator of paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, helped to put together an acclaimed exhibit of works by the 16th-century painter Veronese, now open in Sarasota, Fla. [Wall Street Journal]

Financier Maggie Todd ’05 told the story of how she lost her hand in a freak jet-skiing accident, and how it’s changed her life in ways large and small. [New York Magazine]

Names in the news: Arts edition

Brooklyn playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ’06 was selected for a five-year residency at the Signature Theatre Company in New York City. [Playbill.com]

Lia Romeo ’03’s social-media-themed play Connected won’t open until Feb. 8 (at the Kranzberg Arts Center in St. Louis), but her characters are already performing online by posting Facebook status updates. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Jordan Roth ’97, the president of Jujamcyn Theaters, has become principal owner of the company, which owns and operates five Broadway theaters. [Broadway.com]

Photographer Accra Shepp ’84 earned praise for his recent work, on display in Street Shots/NYC, an exhibit at New York’s South Street Seaport Museum through April 5. [The New Yorker]

Names in the news: Sotomayor ’76 on 60 Minutes, Homeland awards, more

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 spoke about her upbringing in the Bronx with 60 Minutes in her first broadcast interview since joining the court. [CBS]

Homeland, the Showtime series created by Alex Gansa ’84 and Howard Gordon ’84, won the Golden Globe for best dramatic series. The show also won the best drama Emmy in September. [Los Angeles Times]

Bloomberg Businessweek explored whether CEO Meg Whitman ’77 can “reverse Hewlett Packard’s free fall.” [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Connecticut native and 2012 Olympian Donn Cabral ’12 signed autographs to raise money for the Newtown Memorial Fund. [NBC Connecticut]

Names in the news: “All the news that’s fit to print” edition

i-cb871462d587ce5377455ff9e2535dd3-wb_alumni.jpg Seeing Princetonians featured in The New York Times is nothing new, but in the last few days the Gray Lady has seemed particularly orange and black. Here are a few of the alumni stories PAW noticed, with sections in brackets. Add your own links in the comments below.

A Q&A with Alex Gansa ’84 and Howard Gordon ’84, co-creators of the Emmy-winning TV series Homeland, explored the influences and politics behind the writing process. [Magazine]

“It’s not as easy being Meg Whitman [’77] as Meg Whitman might have expected,” the Times opined in a profile of the Hewlett-Packard CEO. [Business]

Fifty years after his creation, Spider-Man has brought his crime-fighting skills to Brooklyn, with help from writer Stuart Moore ’83. [N.Y./Region]

According to George Hirsch ’56 and Amby Burfoot, recent fabrications from a pair of high-profile distance runners contradict the spirit of the sport. [Sports]

Native Americans “have always been part of how America defined itself,” wrote David Treuer ’92, but the legacy is filled with contradictions. [Opinion]

PBS’ documentary Half the Sky, featuring Sheryl WuDunn *88, Mikaela Beardsley ’92, and Jamie Gordon ’92, is “thoroughly edifying, handsomely produced and buoyed by brave, resilient people fighting for basic equality,” according to a Times reviewer. [Television]

Names in the news: Congressional candidates look ahead

As one national convention closes and another prepares to begin, PAW has collected updates on the Princeton alumni running for Congress in November. By our count, 10 Princetonians remain after the primaries – five Democats and five Republicans. If you know of other alumni candidates, please contact us.

Ricky Gill ’08, a candidate in California’s 9th Congressional District, addressed the Republican National Convention Aug. 28. (Photo: © Harry E. Walker/Mct/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)
On the Republican side, two alumni delivered speeches at the national convention in Tampa: Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz ’92, who in his remarks predicted a “free-market tidal wave” in November; and 25-year-old Ricky Gill ’08, running for a House seat in California, who later noted that it was his first time using a teleprompter.
In other convention news, House Speaker John Boehner billed Randy Altschuler ’93 as one of four New York GOP candidates who could unseat a Democratic incumbent. Princeton’s other two Republican candidates are incumbents: Rep. Nan Hayworth ’81 of New York and Rep. Leonard Lance *82 of New Jersey.
Among Democrats, only one Tiger candidate has been scheduled to speak at next week’s convention in Charlotte: Rep. Jared Schutz Polis ’96 of Colorado, who plans to share his vision for “an inclusive and prosperous future.” First lady Michelle Obama ’85 also will address the delegates.

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Names in the news: Slaughter on work-life balance, Daniels’ next job

i-cb871462d587ce5377455ff9e2535dd3-wb_alumni.jpgPrinceton professor and former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80’s Atlantic cover story on “why women still can’t have it all” sparked debate and commentary online. [The Atlantic]
Departing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ’71 has found his next job: He will become the president of Purdue University. [Indianapolis Star]
Major League Soccer rookie Antoine Hoppenot ’12 scored a timely goal to lift the Philadelphia Union to victory in the U.S. Open Cup. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Nick Martin *63, a former Hungarian water polo player who defected following the 1956 Olympics and eventually became a college professor, was profiled in a Sports Illustrated history feature (written by Alexander Wolff ’79). [Sports Illustrated]

Names in the news: A Tony winner, a Stanley Cup champ, and more

Video: Courtesy of the Tony Awards
Jordan Roth ’97, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, earned a Tony Award as producer of the Best Play honoree Clybourne Park – and received high marks for his acceptance speech, seen at right. [Morning Joe/MSNBC.com]
Roland Warren ’83, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” June 13, in advance of Father’s Day. [WhiteHouse.gov
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kevin Westgarth ’07 will be the second Princetonian to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup. Westgarth missed the playoffs due to injury. [CBC News]
Four Princetonians added their names to U.S. Olympic rosters in the last two weeks: Glenn Ochal ’08, a rower for the men’s four; Sara Hendershot ’10, a rower for the women’s pair; and sibling standouts Katie Reinprecht ’12 and Julia Reinprecht ’13 of the U.S. women’s field hockey team. Michelle Cesan ’13 was named an alternate in field hockey. [Row2K | ESPN.comPhiladelphia Inquirer]

Names in the news: parenting, popcorn, invention, and more

Last Call at the Oasis, a documentary about water scarcity featuring recent PAW profile subject Jay Famiglietti *92, “wraps a lot of bad news into a slick, informative, fast-moving package,” according to a recent review. [New York Times]

Former Princeton president William G. Bowen *58 published a vigorous defense of a liberal education, which he believes has never been more valuable than it is today. [The Atlantic]

Scholastic Parent and Child named Huffington Post columnist Lisa Belkin ’82 one of the 10 most influential people in family life. [Scholastic Parent and Child]

Economics grad Jonathan Lea ’09 has turned his attention to the sweet science of kettle corn in a new business venture. [New Jersey Monthly]

Inventor Michael Tseng ’05, a Princeton electrical engineering alumnus, earned second prize in Walmart’s “Get on the Shelf” contest for his PlateTopper airtight food cover. [Huffington Post]

Architect Talia Dorsey ’98 led the proposal for a $6 million renovation of the historic Empress Theatre in her native Montreal. [Montreal Gazette]