October 11, 2006: Letters
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Thanks for your coverage of the perfect season of the Princeton women’s open crew (Sports, July 19). While any national championship is special, the accomplishments of these women, on the water and as a part of the University community, are particularly noteworthy.
Coach Lori Dauphiny was selected national coach of the year. She has a 36-race regular-season winning streak going back to 2004 and is the Pete Carril of rowing — she consistently maximizes available talent.
The varsity eight won every race, including the national championship, by open water — roughly equivalent to a basketball team winning all its games by double figures. Princeton dominated the NCAA championship race, where nine of this year’s final 12 competitors award athletic scholarships, and won by the largest margin in NCAA history.
Men’s coach Curtis Jordan observed that this crew may be the best he has seen in any category during his 25 years at Princeton. And his varsity boat was spectacular: undefeated regular season, Eastern Sprints winner, second in the nationals, and Royal Henley Regatta winner.
Not coincidentally, the Princeton national champions are extraordinary women. Caroline Lind ’06 received the University's C. Otto von Kienbusch 1906 Award. Devan Darby ’06 received its Art Lane ’34 Spirit of Princeton Award and, along with Erinna Chen ’06, was inducted into Sigma Xi, the national scientific research society.
Lind, Darby, Jackie Zider ’06, and Lizzie Agnew ’08 were first-team All-Americans, and Kate Bertko ’06 was a regional All-American. Princeton had twice as many All-Americans as any other college. Andreanne Morin ’06 is a Canadian national rowing team member. There are many other examples.
The women of Princeton’s open crew exemplify the excellence the University should continue to encourage — not only as athletes but also as citizens and scholars in the University community.
RICHARD O. PRENTKE ’67
I don’t know where Professor Milton Babbitt *92 was in the late 1930s (A Moment With, July 19), but Princeton had a thriving music department starting in 1934 under the direction of Roy Welch, who was lured from Smith College that year for that very purpose.
The Class of 1938 thought so highly of Professor Welch that it dedicated its Nassau Herald to him.
WILLIAM T. GALEY ’38
We at Princeton Project 55 (PP55) wish to join the Alumni Council in congratulating the Class of 1955 on receiving its Committee on Community Service Award at Reunions in June. This is the second time the class has been awarded this honor in 13 years, and the only time a Princeton class has received the award twice.
What is most important for alumni to know is that this award honors the commitment to public service made not only by the Class of 1955, but also by the increasing numbers of Princeton classes now involved in civic engagement activities. Members of the Class of 1955 founded PP55 with this very intention. We want to congratulate them on their success — not only in making PP55 a multigenerational organization led by alumni in classes ranging from1955 to 2002, but also for inspiring other alumni-driven, public-interest organizations, both at Princeton and elsewhere.
KIMBERLY M. HENDLER
Elaine Pagels’ analysis of the Gospel of Judas (A Moment With, June 7) is full of inaccuracies. She claims the main difference between the Gospel of Judas and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is how they portray Judas; she gives them all equal credibility; and she questions the validity of the accepted Gospels. I would like to address these assumptions.
The books included in the New Testament were evaluated for inclusion according to specific and strict criteria. Among them was that the author had to be a contemporary of Jesus, was an eyewitness to what was written, and had to be the actual author of the book. Matthew, Mark, and John were with Jesus during most of his ministry. Luke was a contemporary of Jesus, was a thorough historian, and he interviewed many individuals who were close to Jesus. All four Gospels were written within 40 years of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and the identity of each author has been well established.
The Gospel of Judas, on the other hand, was written more than 200 years after Jesus lived. It is a historical fact that Judas committed suicide shortly after betraying Jesus, so clearly he cannot be the author of the gospel bearing his name. The author has no way to validate any claims made about Judas in that gospel, and it is unlikely that any of those claims came from Judas himself since he died so soon after his betrayal of Jesus. In addition, many of the claims contradict what was written by other writers who were eyewitnesses to what they wrote about. This is another reason this gospel is rejected as Scripture. There are many others.
When evaluating Scripture, it is important to look for the entire truth and not have an agenda that leads one to see only what agrees with one’s own bias, as Professor Pagels did.
PETER GROSSO ’80
I was taken aback, and expect other doctors were also, by Professor James Gould’s statement (feature, June 7) that it wouldn’t matter whether a doctor thought intelligent design or evolution accounted for the diversity of life on earth. From antibiotic resistance of microbes to ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny in embryology, from the presence of vestigial parts to organization of the neuraxis, evolution is always in the forefront of modern medical understanding. Even the psychoanalytic institute at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons had a course in the evolutionary biology of behaviors such as maternal attachment as early as the late ’60s. And back when I was still a Princeton premed student, Professor Colin Pittendrigh made all of our premed biology course make evolutionary sense. None of this makes us less likely to heed what is written in stone over the entrance to New York Presbyterian Hospital: “From the most high cometh healing.”
DAVID V. FORREST ’60, M.D.