Category Archives: Tiger of the Week

Tiger of the Week: Patrick Ryan ’68, Gallery Director

Patrick Ryan ’68 at his Princeton art gallery, Gallery 353. (Jeanette Beebe ’14)

Patrick Ryan ’68 at his Princeton art gallery, Gallery 353. (Jeanette Beebe ’14)

By Jeanette Beebe ’14

Patrick Ryan ’68 doesn’t do “art speak.” But he does know how to command the stage at an auction, rattling off antiques and art at break-neck speed to the highest bidder. Last Saturday, at the historic Benjamin Temple house and dairy farm in Ewing, N.J., where he was born and raised, Ryan auctioned off more than 80 items in 2 1/2 hours under a blazing hot sun — all for charity, to support the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society.

Ryan has led a life of talking fast and moving faster. A long-time art collector and gallery owner, Ryan is just as comfortable in overalls and work boots as in seersucker shorts and a polo shirt.

He reckons he somehow “inherited the Irish gypsy gene,” a drive that rattled against the quiet rituals of his father’s 166-acre dairy farm: rising at 4:30 a.m. to milk 50 cows, twice per day. “The cows don’t care if it’s Christmas,” he remembers.

One item on the auction block was an original milk bottle from the Ryan family’s farm, which opened in 1903. “No one can believe that there was a dairy farm out in Jersey,” he says. “But that’s all there was: horses and cows and peaches.”

Ryan’s wanderlust took him far beyond his father’s dairy farm — to boarding school, to Princeton, and after graduation to law school in Washington, D.C., then homes in Chicago, Honolulu, Louisiana, La Jolla, San Francisco, Sante Fe, Oregon, Key Biscayne, Las Cruces — and home again, after five years as the director of an art gallery in Charleston, S.C., and nine years as a pecan farmer.

Last May, Ryan opened Gallery 353, a one-room art gallery in Princeton. Tucked within the basement of the McCarthy building on Nassau Street, the gallery’s current collection is as eclectic as Ryan’s background.

“It’s a great job to be able to sit and just enjoy beautiful things. Especially when you can’t lift — when you can’t do fence holes any more!” he laughs. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Football Broadcaster Ross Tucker ’01

Ross Tucker ’01 (Courtesy RossTucker.com)

Ross Tucker ’01 (Courtesy RossTucker.com)

Fans often dismiss the NFL’s preseason games as meaningless exhibitions, but broadcaster and former pro lineman Ross Tucker ’01 sees something different. “I love preseason football,” he told PAW, “because I know how important it is to the people participating in it” — particularly the second-team players, who begin each game knowing they’ll play “15 to 20 snaps for all their dreams to come true.”

Not long ago, Tucker was one of those anxious dreamers. He played for five teams in a seven-year NFL career, primarily as an offensive guard. After retiring, he joked in guest column for Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback that he was “the only 28-year-old Princeton grad that has been fired five times already.”

Tucker prepared for life after football with offseason internships in several fields, including commercial real estate, finance, and sports marketing. But the experience that made the biggest impression was an NFL-sponsored broadcasting boot camp, where he learned the basics of TV and radio. The former politics major also was ready to give writing a try. “I figured if I can write 18 pages on Machiavelli, I probably could come up with 1,000 words on the Bengals’ offensive line,” he said. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Keyboardist Gavin Black ’79

Gavin Black ’79 (Jeanette Beebe ’14)

Gavin Black ’79 at the harpsichord bench. (Jeanette Beebe ’14)

By Jeanette Beebe ’14

Gavin Black ’79 has devoted his entire adult life to studying, performing, teaching, and recording 17th- and 18th-century keyboard music. But he knows that studying Baroque music on antique instruments isn’t an easy sell.

“The harpsichord is not remotely as popular as the piano,” he laughs from a bench at the Princeton Early Keyboard Center, the non-profit music studio he founded in 2001. It offers harpsichord, clavichord, and organ lessons for students, composers, and group classes.

Black discovered the organ and harpsichord at age 14, after a stint taking piano lessons left him curious about Baroque music.

As a freshman at Princeton, he would practice the organ alone in the vast and empty University Chapel, lit only by moonlight, courtesy of a special access key. He served as an assistant university organist at Princeton, and recorded an album on a harpsichord he kept safe in his senior-year dorm room.

Black earned his Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, and he has been teaching the organ, harpsichord, and clavichord for over 30 years.

Though the Princeton Early Keyboard Center occupies only one room within Christ Congregation Church, across the street from Westminster Choir College, the carefully air-conditioned studio holds no fewer than five instruments, each uniquely ornate: a late-17th century Italian harpsichord; a mid-18th century German clavichord; a Flemish-style harpsichord build in 1986 by Hill & Tyre; a small Renaissance-style clavichord built in 1983 by Hill & Tyre; and a German-style, two-keyboard harpsichord built in 1978 by Keith Hill.   Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Grant Wentworth ’09 Swims With Sharks to Raise Money for Cancer Care

Grant Wentworth ’09 (Courtesy Jason Graziadei, Nantucket Cottage Hospital)

Grant Wentworth ’09 (Courtesy Jason Graziadei, Nantucket Cottage Hospital)

While he was a student at Princeton, Grant Wentworth ’09 didn’t swim at all, preferring intramural basketball to the pool. But in the six years since graduation, Wentworth discovered a passion for open-water swimming and recently attempted something that has only been accomplished once before: a solo swim across more than 24 miles of water between Cape Cod and Nantucket.

During the early morning hours of July 24, Wentworth began the swim at Cape Cod’s Seagull Beach in West Yarmouth. More than 12 hours later, after a journey that included hundreds of tiny jellyfish stings and a shark-fin sighting by the crew that followed alongside him in kayaks, he arrived at Great Point Lighthouse, at the northern tip of Nantucket island.

“I didn’t sleep at all the night before … there was a feeling of excitement, nervousness, and anxiety,” he said. “I had to strip down, it was cold, there was a breeze. I was just wearing a Speedo, swim cap, and goggles. We cleared the water, and at that point, it was just like, ‘Alright, it’s finally here.’ There had been so much build-up to that moment.” Continue reading

Tigers of the Week: Zachary Pincus-Roth ’02 and Eve Weston ’01 Win Journalism Awards in L.A.

Eve Weston ’01 and Zachary Pincus-Roth ’02 (Courtesy Eve Weston and Zachary Pincus-Roth)

Eve Weston ’01 and Zachary Pincus-Roth ’02 (Courtesy Eve Weston and Zachary Pincus-Roth)

Aside from being Princeton alumni and accomplished writers, Zachary Pincus-Roth ’02 and Eve Weston ’01 have another thing in common: They happen to be married to each other.

Although the two overlapped during their years on campus, Weston and Pincus-Roth didn’t connect until 2007, when they were introduced by a mutual friend from Princeton at a networking event in Los Angeles.

Fast-forward eight years, and the two are happily married and recently received first-place recognition from the Los Angeles Press Club for feature pieces they wrote for the alternative newspaper LA Weekly.

Weston won the top prize in the Best Entertainment Commentary/Reviews category for her post, “Does Into the Woods Punish a Wife for Adultery and Not a Husband?” and Pincus-Roth won Best Entertainment Feature for his cover story, “Can TV Save India?” The pair also won third place honors for Best Humor/Satire Writing for a piece they co-wrote, titled “Cards Against Humanity: Los Angeles Edition,” also published in LA Weekly.

“It was my first time winning anything for journalism,” said Weston, a TV writer who has contributed to shows like Better Off Ted, The Megan Mullally Show, and Will & Grace. “I was really excited, it was a real honor to be recognized by talented journalists for my work in a field that’s still new to me.”

Pincus-Roth, the deputy editor overseeing arts and culture coverage at LA Weekly, has won several awards from the LA Press Club in the past, but said that this year’s honor was extra special.

“When I went to India to write the article, Eve came with me and it was really helpful to have her along to help with the interviews, and we did that story together in a way,” he said. “And I was the editor for her story, so it was cool that we both helped each other with these stories … it really felt like they were both group efforts.” Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Geneticist Leonid Kruglyak ’87

Leonid Kruglyak ’87 (UCLA)

Leonid Kruglyak ’87 (UCLA)

When PAW’s pages last featured Leonid Kruglyak ’87, the Princeton ecology and evolutionary biology professor had developed a new way to understand the genetic basis of complex traits influenced by multiple genes. This method, published in Nature, examined chemical resistance and mitochondrial function in a study of millions of yeast cells.

Five years later, Kruglyak is being honored for his contributions to the fields of genetics and genomics. Now a professor of human genetics and biological chemistry at UCLA, Kruglyak will receive the Curt Stern Award from the American Society of Human Genetics Oct. 9, which recognizes outstanding scientific achievements in human genetics.

His UCLA lab currently conducts experiments aimed at understanding how changes at the level of DNA are shaped by molecular and evolutionary forces and how those changes lead to the observable differences among individuals within a species.

Kruglyak told The New York Times in 2012 that geneticists had long recognized that mutations could “throw sand in the gears of the brain” and that complex traits arose in complicated ways.

“Talking about a ‘a gene for a trait’ is a shorthand at best,” he said, “and a well-known fallacy at worst.” Continue reading