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Letters from alumni about the irrelevancy of Princeton University

February 19, 2002

Ron Halpern '71 articulates (Letters, February 13, 2002) an important set of concerns that I think many of us recognize. I wonder if the estrangement he describes is more common or more acute among alumni who live in the West? When the attractive forces decrease as a function of both time and space, perhaps the estrangement increases as a power of both. In any event, the rhetorical styles of our undergraduate years (a regular feature of class notes, as Mr. Halpern identifies) seem odd, at best. Celebration of Donald Rumsfeld ’54 as somehow related to us because we happen to have graduated from the same university - well, from a university located in the same place — is similarly odd.

Finally, my congratulations to your layout team for printing the Tuck Business Bridge advertisement adjacent to Mr. Halpern's letter. Just so.

Mark Logsdon ’71
Ojai, California

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November 28

Perhaps, I am alone in my feelings, but the further in time I am removed from my days as an undergraduate, the more estranged I feel from Princeton. Indeed, sometimes, I almost despair of having attended!

Maybe it's the not-so-subtle arrogance that I sense when I read the class notes, or articles about Donald Rumsfeld ’54, or even the ads to "date someone in your own league."

Or maybe it's that "Princeton in the nation's service" too often seems to mean service for the rich, the powerful, the corporate, the Republican.

I spend most of my time, both professionally and personally, working with people who are none of these things – you know, the "great unwashed" portion of humanity about which Princeton seems neither to know or care. But, somehow, even though they didn't go to Princeton, or work for Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, I think they still have some value as human beings, and I think they still make worthwhile contributions to society.

Perhaps that is why, to me, Princeton is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Ron Halpern ’71
Laguna Niguel, Calif.

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