Notebook - December 16, 1998
Notebook - December 16, 1998

In memoriam
Larry Ellis, Kenkichi Iwasawa, Howard Stone

Larry Ellis, former Princeton track and cross-country coach, died at his home in Skillman, New Jersey, on November 4. He was 70. When Ellis arrived at Princeton in 1970, he became the first African-American head coach in the Ivy League. During Ellis' 22 years at the university his teams were almost universally successful: his indoor track squads won four Heptagonal titles, his outdoor squad won seven titles, and his cross-country team won an unprecedented eight of nine Heptagonal Championships between 1975 and 1983.

Ellis graduated in 1951 from New York University, where he was a middle distance runner. While working at Jamaica High School in New York City, Ellis coached a young athlete named Bob Beamon -- who would later smash the world record in the long jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. In 1984, Ellis went to his own Olympics as the coach of the U.S. track squad in Los Angeles. After retiring from Princeton, Ellis served a term as the president of USA Track and Field from 1992-96.

Even after his retirement, Ellis remained involved with Princeton athletics, and just a week before his death he traveled to Van Cortland Park in New York City, to watch the men's cross country team compete in Heptagonals. Current men's cross-country and track and field coach Fred Samara, who worked under Ellis at Princeton, remembers that Ellis took particular pride in seeing the dedication of Weaver Track last spring. "The great thing for Larry was to see the program continue to compete at the highest level possible," Samara said to the Trenton Times.

Ellis who had a heart transplant in 1995, saw a doctor two days before his death but was sent home. Around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, he was sitting in his kitchen when, as his wife, Shirley Ellis, said to the Associated Press, "he just put his head on the table and passed away." There was never any doubt about how Ellis felt about his life's work. When he left Princeton in 1992 he said of coaching, "You give an awful lot of yourself, but on the other hand, you get a lot back in return."

Kenkichi Iwasawa, Henry Burchard Fine Professor of Mathematics at Princeton from 1967 to 1986, died of pneumonia in Tokyo on October 26. He was 81. Iwasawa graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1940 and before coming to Princeton studied at the Institute for Advanced Study and was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His breakthrough work in number theory, especially in algebraic number fields (some of which is now known as Iwasawa Theory) profoundly impacted his field.

Howard Stone, an assistant professor of physics, died at his home in Plainsboro, New Jersey, on November 12. He was 37. Stone graduated from Oxford University in 1982 and received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1987. Stone, a perennially popular professor, taught at Princeton from 1992 until June of last year, when declining health forced him to stop working. Among other classes, Stone taught Physics 105 (Mechanics) and was an adviser in Forbes College.

Class Act
Life, love, and the playground

Did you have a best friend to share secrets with in grade school? A trusty group of comrades who provided a safe haven from your parents in high school? On the brink of adulthood, do you see yourself as capable of launching into an intimate relationship without being totally self-consumed?

Such are the questions posed in Woman's Studies 333, The Capacity for Intimacy in Relationships: Psychoanalytic, Developmental, and Cultural Perspectives. And if the 17 student participants feel up to the challenge, answers to questions such as the ones above are tossed around the room like hot potatoes. Monitoring the flow of ideas is Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren '73, a visiting professor and developmental psychologist. The class, which meets every week for three hours, uses discussion to explore the development of the self -- especially in relation to others.

Our capacity for intimacy evolves from infancy through puberty and into adulthood, says Levy-Warren, and her course traces how those stages affect relationships. For example, the Oedipal complex, first experienced between parent and toddler, re-emerges with new complexity in adolescence as parents react to the physical changes of puberty. "Intimacy is a critical subject," Levy-Warren says, "not only in all of life, but especially in the stage these students are in, as they think about how to maintain their 'self' in the context of a relationship."

The reading list includes the works of well-known psychologist Carol Gilligan and psychiatrist Daniel Stern, as well as Levy-Warren's book, The Adolescent Journey: Development, Identity Formation, and Psychotherapy. But the case studies come from novelists, including Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, Gus Lee's China Boy, and Paule Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones. Levy-Warren believes that the vivid writing of novelists -- especially in contrast to dryly written case studies -- makes for livelier class discussions on topics such as the changing role of friendship, socially impermissible love, and gender differences in moral development.

During a recent class in Green Hall, the topic is adolescence. In a relaxed manner, more peer than professor, Levy-Warren reviews the material at hand, allowing the students to add their personal experiences to punctuate theory. One female student, after stating that girls often face an abrupt shift out of childhood because of physical changes, shares the embarrassment she felt while first developing breasts in third grade: "I wanted to revolt against the changes my body was going through." Several female students talk about the significance of friendship bracelets among young girls as a way of forming a family outside their own family. Later in the class, adolescent rebellion is personalized when a male student reveals he has a tattoo, a form of self-expression his parents had forbidden.

Comments ricochet around the room on whether boys are boasting when they talk about masturbation and why girls don't discuss it openly. ("Men aren't boasting," a male student says, "just letting off steam." A female student responds, "Women can't be pleasure-seeking in this society.") Levy-Warren reveals, to understanding laughter, that she became so frustrated with her two teenagers' constant telephone chatter that she wrote a paper on adolescents and their use of the telephone to come to grips with her feelings.

"The topic of adolescence lends itself to self-revelation," psychology major Andrea Cohn '99 says. "We are all so close to it. We all remember being kids." Fellow psychology major Katherine Helm '99 adds, "Everyone likes talking about themselves. This is one of my favorite courses because it relates to my personal life."

Levy-Warren came to be interested in her subject through a mixture of personal and professional experiences. "I spend most of my professional life seeing patients who made me wonder long and hard about how their problems came to pass," she says. "Personally, watching my own children develop from infancy to late adolescence gave me a way to look at the unfolding of the complexities of intimacy."

In her professional life, Levy-Warren has done most of her work with adolescents because she is attracted to both their vitality and openness to personal exploration. Although she has taught psychology courses at Barnard and Yale, this is the first time she has taught at her alma mater, where her daughter, Anna, is a member of the Class of 2001. She also has a son who is a high-school senior, and among her many other commitments, Levy-Warren is currently at work on a book about motherhood.

-- Maria LoBiondo

In Brief

Big band: After several years of disappointing concerts, the University Student Government found an act that drew plenty of students -- Blues Traveler. The band (all four members of which attended Princeton High School) played a two-hour set before just over 2,000 students at Dillon Gym on November 20. Students displayed an unusual amount of energy for most of the concert, and a few brave souls even bodysurfed to fan-favorites such as "Run Around."

New director: On November 10, Princeton appointed Anthony Evans, a former materials department chair at the University of California at Santa Barbara and professor at Harvard, as director of the Princeton Material's Institute. Evans is from Wales and earned his Ph.D. at Imperial College in London. His research focuses on the behavior of high-performance load-bearing materials, which is useful in the design of lightweight and high temperature systems. He joined the faculty in July.

Finance center: The Bendheim Center for Finance, which was made possible by a $10-million gift to Princeton from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, will open in Dial Lodge during the fall of 2000. The university recently appointed professor Yacine Ait-Sahalia ( as the center's first director, and although the center won't have its own building until 2000, it will offer classes beginning next fall.