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Monday, July 21, 2014

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Bowen honored for groundbreaking book

William Bowen, president of Princeton from 1972 to 1988, has been selected to receive the 2001 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education.

Bowen, now president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will receive the award with Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University, for their book on the use of race-sensitive admissions policies.

In The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences on Considering Race in College and University Admissions (Princeton University Press, 1998), Bowen and Bok studied the academic, employment and life histories of more than 90,000 students who attended 28 academically selective colleges and universities throughout the country. They then systematically addressed many of the issues raised by critics of race-sensitive policies, looking at each supposition and analyzing the data to determine its validity. They tackled issues such as drop-out rates and demoralization of minority students attending institutions under selective admissions guidelines, the effect selective admissions has on diversity and racial tension, and alternatives to race-sensitive admissions.

"Bowen and Bok have made an unparalleled contribution to informing the debate regarding race-sensitive admissions policies," said the Grawemeyer selection committee. "In an area in which discussions often get bogged down in a wind tunnel of rhetoric, this work represents a guiding light."

The two will share the $200,000 award. Bowen is donating his share to Morehouse College in honor of Henry Drewry, former director of Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program and former senior adviser at the Mellon Foundation who started the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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