Tag Archives: Princeton squash

Grand Central squash

i-da91f6d4bf2319a7f9ee158df98c0f6c-elhalaby.jpg Tiger of the Week: Yasser El Halaby ’06

As a collegiate squash player, Yasser El Halaby ’06 achieved unparalleled success. He won four individual national titles in four tries and rarely lost a match in team play, helping Princeton win two Ivy League titles and reach the College Squash Association finals twice. But when El Halaby continued his career after college, professional squash promised new challenges. Many of the world’s best players are El Halaby’s age, and they’ve faced pros regularly since they were teenagers.

El Halaby has held his own, climbing as high as No. 40 in the world rankings (he’s currently 51st), and he had one of his best tournaments to date at last week’s JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, held in a glass court at Grand Central Station in New York. El Halaby was one of eight players to reach the main draw through a qualifier. In the round of 32, he won a tight 3-2 match over Scotsman John White, once the world’s No. 1 pro. El Halaby lost his next match, 3-0 to James Willstrop (No. 5 in the world), despite having what the tournament Web site called a “roaring fan contingent” that included Princeton alumni.

The crowd support should come as no surprise to a player who drew standing-room-only audiences at the Jadwin Gym courts. As teammate Hugh Meighen ’05 told PAW in 2005, “A lot of people don’t know squash, but they know Yasser.”

(Photo: Beverly Schaefer)

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.

The Race Beat

Writers who moved the nation

“A rogue Klansman knocked on our door at a motel in Louisiana … [and] cordially invited us to a cow pasture across the road in Mississippi,” said Gene Roberts at a lecture last week, recalling one of many experiences covering issues of race during the 1950s and 1960s.
Under the impression that they were invited to “get the story straight” about the Klan, Roberts and his colleagues ventured out to that Mississippi field. The demonstration they witnessed soon turned so derogatory and threatening that the reporters needed to be escorted out by a V-shaped blockade of robed Klansmen.
Roberts was on campus Feb. 21 to speak about his book, The Race Beat: The Press, The Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation with co-author Hank Klibanoff. The book, a 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner, explains the media’s coverage of the civil rights struggle and includes personal anecdotes from Klibanoff and Roberts, career journalists who covered many of stories about race before and during the civil rights movement.
Roberts, a native of North Carolina, said he came up with survival techniques that included “speaking Southern” to blend in and imitating FBI agents, to help himself “stay alive” when covering charged mob scenes, like the Klan meeting.
“Often, we don’t recognize that the status quo is a problem, and have more difficulty covering that than we do in covering change,” Roberts said of why the press was at first reluctant to explore the race issue. With the increasing prominence of television coverage and a more pronounced media presence in the South, America started to listen.
Roberts, now a journalism professor at the University of Maryland, worked as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, and The New York Times before becoming the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times. “Gene was part of a time when The New York Times had an enormous influence,” Klibanoff said of Roberts’ reporting on race. “It moved the nation.”
Klibanoff reported for the Boston Globe and worked as an editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer for 20 years. He is now the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. By Julia Osellame ’09

Sports shorts

Women’s squash | Repeat champions
Princeton’s Emery Maine ’10 dominated the last two games in a 3-1 win over Penn’s Tara Chawla to seal the Princeton’s second consecutive title at the Howe Cup, the sport’s national collegiate championship, at Jadwin Gym Feb. 24. The top-ranked Quakers were a perfect 15-0 entering the match, but the No. 2 Tigers prevailed, 6-3, thanks to strong performances in the middle of the lineup.

Men’s hockey | No goal, but still a win
Late in the second period of Princeton’s men’s hockey game against Cornell Feb. 23, Cam MacIntyre ’10 ripped a rebound into the back of the net for an apparent goal that would have put the Tigers up 3-1. But the puck popped out of the net as quickly as it entered, and the officials and goal judge did not register the score. Cornell, looking to capitalize, opened the third period with a barrage of shots, but Princeton held firm, thanks largely to goalie Zane Kalemba ’10. “If you didn’t look at the fans and didn’t look at the score, you’d think that he was playing a noontime hockey [pick-up] game,” coach Guy Gadowsky said of his poised netminder. “He has such a calming effect.”
Princeton held on for a 2-1 win, locking up a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. Gadowsky, who had argued for MacIntyre’s goal, would not comment on the call after the game, other than to say he was glad it wasn’t a factor in the final outcome.

Women’s basketball | Cowher nears 1,600 points
Basketball star Meagan Cowher ’08 could become the fourth Princeton woman to reach 1,600 points when she plays the final two home games of her career this weekend against Brown (Feb. 29) and Yale (March 1). With five games left on the schedule, Cowher also has an outside shot of becoming Princeton’s all-time scoring leader. She needs 23.6 points per game – 6.6 points more than her season average – to tie Sandi Bittler ’90’s total of 1,683 points.

Oscar-worthy Tigers: Answers to the Feb. 20 Weekly Blog Quiz

Congratulations are in order for four Princetonians: Ethan Coen ’79, Todd Wider ’86, and Jedd Wider ’89, whose films won Oscars on Feb. 24; and Anthony Cerminaro ’76, who correctly identified all six films from last week’s Oscar quiz. The answers were: 1. Scent of a Woman; 2. The Philadelphia Story; 3. Cyrano de Bergerac; 4. A Beautiful Mind; 5. M*A*S*H; Bonus: Alice Adams.

Year in review

2007: The Year at Princeton

A month-by-month look at the headlines, with links to PAW stories

Gen. David Petraeus *87 is confirmed as the top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq. Three months later, Time magazine selects the Woodrow Wilson School Ph.D. recipient for its list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Sen. John McCain writes the brief essay on Petraeus, calling him “bright, studious, morally committed, physically brave, [and] willing to carry a ‘heavy rucksack’ without complaint and with clear-eyed resolve.” Petraeus has appeared in PAW several times – in a 2002 interview, a 2004 feature story, and most recently, in an On the Campus column about student reporter Wesley Morgan ’10, who was embedded with Petraeus and others in Iraq last summer.

In women’s squash, undefeated Princeton competes at the Howe Cup, the sport’s national championship, and tops Brown, Yale, and Harvard en route to a perfect season and its first national title since 1999. “It’s quite an honor to be able to put together a group of women to win the national title,” coach Gail Ramsay tells PAW. “[Squash] is very competitive. Small, but very competitive.”

Princeton chemistry professor David MacMillan and his colleagues publish a paper in Science March 29 outlining a new way assemble organic molecules without using toxic catalysts. The approach, which could speed the development of new drugs, is a “creative breakthrough,” according to John Schwab, a program director at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which helped fund the research.

Moshin Hamid ’93 releases his novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, drawing favorable reviews in the United States and abroad (The New York Times and Amazon.com both selected it as one of the year’s 100 best books). PAW profiled the author and published an excerpt of the book, which features the protagonist Changez, a native of Pakistan who attends Princeton, works in Manhattan, and develops a complicated view of the United States after Sept. 11. “Changez is not meant to be me,” Hamid tells PAW, “but I could imagine being him.”

Reunions 2007 draws about 20,000 alumni, family members, and friends to campus, starting on May 31, for receptions, family events, educational programs, and the annual P-rade. On June 5, 1,127 undergraduates and 716 graduate students receive their degrees and join the alumni community.

The University announces that Bill Frist ’74, the former Senate majority leader, will join the Woodrow Wilson School faculty in 2007-08 as the Frederick H. Schultz Class of 1951 Visiting Professor of International Economic Policy. A December PAW feature followed Frist and Professor Uwe Reinhardt into the classroom for their course, “The Political Economy of Health Systems.”


San Diego Padres right-hander Chris Young ’02 pitches in Major League Baseball’s All-Star game July 10, retiring one batter in the top of the fifth inning before giving up a two-run in-the-park home run to Ichiro Suzuki. Young is one of nearly a dozen alumni in professional baseball, including fellow pitcher Ross Ohlendorf ’05, who made his major-league debut in September with the New York Yankees.

On Aug. 2, Middle East studies scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who taught Persian language and literature at Princeton from 1980 to 1994, is released from a prison in Iran where she had been held on charges of espionage and endangering Iran’s national security. Esfandiari strongly denied the charges. She returned to work as director of the Middle East program for the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington Sept. 10.

Whitman College, the University’s newest residential college, opens its doors to students. The complex, named for lead donor and eBay CEO Meg Whitman ’77, was built at a cost of $136 million and houses about 500 students. Architect Demetri Porphyrios *80 aimed for a fresh take on collegiate gothic architecture. “The current architectural taste is neo-modern, deconstructive,” he tells PAW. “It’s centered on aggression, where these buildings are centered on beauty.”

The University Art Museum and the Italian government resolve ownership of 15 works of art from the museum’s collection at a meeting in Rome Oct. 30, ending nearly three years of inquiries and negotiations. The Italian culture ministry suspected that some of the museum’s artifacts had been acquired illegally. The University returned four works, transferred ownership on four others (but kept them on temporary loan), and secured permanent title to the seven remaining works under review. Museum director Susan Taylor maintained that all of the objects were obtained in good faith.


The University formally launches the largest fundraising campaign in its history — $1.75 billion over the next five years — with three days of events for alumni leaders, volunteers, and donors. Priorities in the campaign include Annual Giving; engineering, energy, and the environment; exploration in the arts; neuroscience, genomics, and theoretical physics; national and global citizenship; and the “Princeton experience.” Campaign co-chairman Robert Murley ’72 tells PAW that while Princeton’s goal may not be as lofty as the multi-billion-dollar campaigns at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, “on a per-capita or per-student basis it is a very large campaign. It certainly is large and important for Princeton.”

The Dec. 13 announcement of Sachs Scholar Pauline Yeung ’08 concludes a remarkable season of awards for Princeton seniors. Three members of the Class of 2008 were named Rhodes Scholars in late November – Sherif Girgis, Brett Masters, and Landis Stankievech – marking the first time since 1995 that three Princeton undergraduates were selected. Sarah Vander Ploeg ’08 was chosen to be a Marshall Scholar, while Yeung was selected for the Sachs Scholarship, a Princeton honor named for Daniel Sachs ’60. All five students will pursue graduate studies in Great Britain next fall.

A note to our readers
The Weekly Blog will not post on Dec. 26 but will return in the new year with more news and notes.