In an Oct. 15 panel discussion titled “Education as the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time,” New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, Newark School Advisory Board president Shavar Jeffries, and Coney Island Prep dean of students Leslie-Bernard Joseph ’06 discussed educational reform in the United States and the role of undergraduates in the reform movement.
“Students around the world vote with their feet to study at our colleges, but we are not preparing our own students to attend these institutions,” said President Tilghman, the panel’s moderator. “This is the challenge we are here to discuss.”
Joseph, who holds a B.A. in politics from Princeton, kicked off the panel with an anecdote about his sixth-grade student who, unable to answer any questions on a quiz, had simply written “I need help” instead of the answers on the quiz. Joseph keeps the note in his office to remind himself of his mission as a teacher.
“What I realized from the moment I walked into the classroom is that schools look nothing like what they were supposed to,” he said. He explained that this isn’t because of crumbling paint or old books, but rather a missing sense of possibility and hope.
By Giri Nathan ’13
Research on the human genome will forever change the way scientists think about race, President Shirley Tilghman said at the annual James Baldwin Lecture March 9.
“Sequencing of the human genome has revealed that the proxies we have historically used to define race — physical characteristics, geographical origins — are not irrelevant,” she told an audience at Richardson Auditorium, but they do “need to be much more nuanced.”
In her talk, “The Meaning of Race in a Post-Genome Era,” Tilghman approached race from her own vantage point: that of a premier molecular biologist. Having done significant work with the Human Genome Project, she used insights from her academic field to examine the fraught issue of race.
The earthquake in Haiti provided a stark context for the University’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 18.
“If Dr. King were with us today,” said President Tilghman, “he would be urging each of us to find a way to assist the people of Haiti not just to restore the country to its prior state, but to build a more just and prosperous society in its wake.” The “heartrending stories” emerging from Haiti, Tilghman told the gathering in Richardson Auditorium, are reminders “of Dr. King’s message that each of us has a responsibility to be an agent of change — to address the systemic wrongs that afflict not just our own communities but communities around the world.”
Professor Tricia Rose, chairwoman of the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University, offered a similar theme in her keynote address. The tragedy of Haiti was “a collision of forces … both manmade and naturally occurring,” she said, but King would have been “incredibly moved” by the response of the international community. Rose praised the work of students from area schools who submitted original videos, writings, and artwork for a competition designed to help commemorate King’s legacy, saying that they “captured the sense of urgency of these issues.”
The University’s MLK Day Journey Award for Lifetime Service was presented to Janet Dickerson, who is stepping down in June after 10 years as Princeton’s vice president for campus life. Tilghman said Dickerson “has devoted herself to building or renewing the bridges of understanding, tolerance, and common purpose that underpin our University today.” By W. Raymond Ollwerther ’71
Tilghman, Tigers among N.J.’s most influential
President Tilghman was profiled by New Jersey Monthly in a special January issue devoted to the state’s 101 most powerful residents. The magazine hailed Tilghman for investing in the sciences, reshaping student life, and inviting changes to campus culture. “The notion that the culture will be frozen in place at a university, which should always be pressing forward into the future, is, I think, just wrong,” Tilghman said.
Other powerful Princetonians spotlighted by the magazine include Michael Aron *70, a longtime senior political correspondent for the New Jersey Network; Lawrence Goldman *76, president and CEO of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark; David Grant ’72, president and CEO of the Morristown-based Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Lisa Jackson *86, Gov. Jon Corzine’s former chief of staff and the Obama administration’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency; and former Gov. Tom Kean ’57, who served as chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
Names in the news
Carlin Romano ’76 covered the American Philosophical Association’s conference in Philadelphia, speaking with alumni Cornel West *80 and Joshua Weinstein ’87. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman ’77 may be paving her way for a gubernatorial bid in California. [Los Angeles Times]
Selden Edwards ’63‘s novel The Little Book earned high praise from reviewer Keith Runyon, who named it one of 2008’s best books and called it the best novel he’d read in nearly two decades. [Louisville Courier-Journal]
Outfielder Will Venable ’05 is aiming for a spot on the San Diego Padres’ opening-day lineup. [Marin Independent Journal]
Caltech chemical engineering professor Frances Arnold ’79 and colleagues are working to manipulate microbe communities and employ them in applications that range from drug delivery to fuel production. [Science News]
Congratulations to Jessica Dye ’05 of Brooklyn, N.Y., who won a $100 gift card from the U-Store in PAW’s drawing for readers who signed up to receive our e-mail alerts.