Tag Archives: Todd Wider

Names in the news: Academy Awards preview

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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.

2008: The Year at Princeton

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PAW’s annual look at Princeton’s top headlines, on and off campus.

January: Record number of students apply for Class of 2012

In the first application cycle since early admission was ended, the University received a record 20,118 applications, up 6 percent from the previous year. It’s the fourth consecutive year in which admission applications have set a record. Janet Rapelye, dean of admission, said the number and the quality of applicants “exceeded our expectations.” … [Read more]

February: Ethan Coen ’79 wins Oscar

Ethan Coen ’79 and his brother Joel, the directors and screenwriters of No Country for Old Men, earned starring roles at the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 24. Their film won four Oscars, including the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Another film with Princeton ties, Taxi to the Dark Side, was named the year’s Best Documentary Feature. Todd Wider ’86 and Jedd Wider ’89 served as executive producers of the documentary, which explores the arrest, torture, and death of an Afghani taxi driver at an American Air Force base.

March: Bob Goheen ’40 *48, Princeton’s 16th president, dies (By Merrell Noden ’78)

I was not sure what to expect back in the fall of 2006, as I walked through Robertson Hall on my way to meet Bob Goheen ’40 *48 for the first time. I came to Princeton in 1974, two years after Goheen had stepped down following 15 momentous years as University president. It’s hard to imagine how that time could have been more eventful: Goheen had welcomed minority students in real numbers, overseen the transition to coeducation, and transformed Princeton from an excellent undergraduate school into a world-class research university. To accomplish all that at any time would be an awesome achievement, but to do at a time of widespread paranoia, violence, and uneasiness about change was testament to the deep trust Goheen inspired in faculty and students alike. I knew the legacy but not the man. Goheen’s secretary offered to take me to his office. We rounded a corner and there, walking slowly before us, was Bob Goheen. Sensing that it would be ungracious to catch him, we slowed down to give him time to reach his office. A few moments later he stood up to shake my hand and then sat down, slightly breathless. His hair was rumpled, and he was not wearing his trademark bowtie. There was no self-importance or vanity about him. … [Read more]

April: Keller ’63 makes $25 million gift to strengthen engineering-liberal arts ties

For the last two years, Princeton’s Center for Innovation in Engineering Education has tried to provide an encouraging nudge for faculty pursuing new ideas in engineering classrooms. On April 7, the center received a major boost: a $25 million gift from Dennis Keller ’63, the founding chairman of DeVry Inc., and his wife, Connie, aimed at improving the links between engineering and the liberal arts at Princeton. … [Read more]

May: Researchers catch a star in the act of exploding

On Jan. 9, 2008, Alicia Soderberg, a postdoctoral research associate in astrophysics at Princeton, was studying the X-ray emissions conveyed from space by NASA’s Swift satellite when she recognized an extremely bright light on the screen of her computer, saturating the satellite’s view “as if we had pointed a digital camera directly at the sun,” she said. That light, Soderberg and colleague Edo Berger later confirmed, was a supernova — an explosion of a massive star. Their finding, named Supernova 2008D, or SN 2008D for short, was described in a paper published in Nature May 22. In a May 21 teleconference, Soderberg described the experience as being in the right place, at the right time, with the right telescope. “I truly won the astronomers’ lottery,” she said. … [Read more]

June: More than 20,000 celebrate Reunions 2008

The P-rade is an event for Tigers of many stripes — and for many patterns, prints, and plaids, too. But this year, viewers perched on the banks of Elm Drive likely experienced a sense of déjà vu from two large contingents of alumni donning jackets that featured alternating, finger-width vertical slats of orange and black. The first group was the Class of 1983, marching at the head of the P-rade in brand-new Reunions blazers. The second was the Class of 1958, back for its 50th reunion and wearing the same pattern. (The Class of 1933, which originated those familiar vertical stripes, was not represented in the P-rade, but two widows of class members were on hand at the Old Guard luncheon to celebrate ’33’s 75th.) … [Read more]

July: Andlinger ’52 gives $100 million to Princeton

The University announced a $100 million gift July 1 from Gerhard R. Andlinger ’52 to support energy and environmental research. The gift will create the Gerhard R. Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment within the School of Engineering and Applied Science and will support construction of a 110,000-square-foot building, to be called Andlinger Laboratory, between the E-Quad and Bowen Hall. The center will include several new faculty positions; major research areas will include sustainable energy sources, techniques to improve carbon management, and energy efficiency. … [Read more]

August: Lind ’06 wins gold at Olympics

When Caroline Lind ’06 and her U.S. rowing teammates won Olympic gold in the women’s eight, they hugged, cried, smiled, and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” with gusto on the medal stand. And in the week that followed, whenever they left the Athletes Village, the gold medals came with them. “I don’t know if many athletes wear their medals,” Lind said, “but my entire team was like, ‘We’re wearing them!'” At clubs and restaurants and on the streets of Beijing, the women were treated like celebrities. By the time Lind returned home, her medal had a tiny nick near the bottom, and its ribbon was starting to pill like an old T-shirt. “It’s well-loved,” she said. Lind was one of 15 Princeton alumni and students who traveled to Beijing as Olympic athletes or coaches. … [Read more]

September: Gehry-designed Lewis Library opens (By W. Barksdale Maynard ’88)

Is Princeton ready for Frank Gehry? Skeptics peering over construction fences at the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane had their doubts. Some predicted that Lewis Library would be the scariest thing to fall to earth in central New Jersey since that Martian spacecraft jarred Grover’s Mill 70 years ago — “Mr. Wilmuth, would you please tell the radio audience as much as you remember of this rather unusual visitor that dropped in your backyard?” But when the fences finally came down in the summer, two years later than originally scheduled, the skeptics tiptoed inside. No sign of any tentacled Martians glistening “like wet leather.” A sure cure for lingering aesthetic doubts was a trip to the fourth floor, almost 100 feet up: the soaring ceilings, the mazelike plan full of surprises, the whimsical plywood furniture, and, best of all, the view through giant windows of the rest of this strange building — crooked walls, tilted roofs, shiny steel and painted stucco and orange brick colliding in wild, delightful confusion. … [Read more]

October: Krugman wins Nobel in economics

Looking somewhat sheepish before a packed press conference Oct. 13 in Robertson Hall, economist Paul Krugman accepted the congratulations of friends, students, and colleagues as the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. A professor in the economics department and the Woodrow Wilson School, Krugman earned the award for groundbreaking research in the fields of international trade and economic geography. He is more widely known for his twice-weekly column in The New York Times. … [Read more]

November: Alumni candidates succeed at the polls

Jared Schutz Polis ’96 got a new job Nov. 4. The Internet entrepreneur from Boulder, Colo., asked the people of the state’s 2nd district to “hire” him as their representative in Congress, and on Election Day, a strong majority of voters backed the idea. In an election that will send Michelle Obama ’85 to the White House as first lady next month, Polis was one of six Princetonians to win a congressional or gubernatorial race. … [Read more]

December: Princeton, Robertsons settle donor-intent case

Princeton has settled its six-year legal battle with members of the Robertson family over control of the Robertson Foundation, the University announced Dec. 10. Under the settlement, the University will pay $50 million to a new foundation that will support the preparation of students for government service, and another $40 million to reimburse the Robertsons’ legal fees. The Robertson Foundation will be dissolved, giving Princeton control of the remaining funds, according to a University release. Robertson Foundation assets were worth more than $900 million on June 30, 2008, the end of the University’s fiscal year. … [Read more]

The Year at Princeton Archives: 2007 | 2006