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Letter Box


Letters from alumni about Princetonians in Newark, N.J.

May 9, 2002

Having grown up in New Jersey, it was nice to read Argelio R. Dumenigo's article about Princetonians and their contributions to the redevelopment of Newark. While I realize that it is impossible to recognize all Princetonians who are contributing to the continued rebirth of New Jersey's largest city, I would be remiss if I did not call your attention to the work of my father, Stanley Bergen, Jr. '51 '95, MD.

For the past 31 years, he has served as the president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the last three as president emeritus. During this time, Newark has seen its healthcare system grow from marginal, to one that now boasts the main campus of the nation's largest free-standing health science university. With University Hospital and the State Trauma Center, Newark's healthcare facilities rival those of any major city.

Today, even in retirement, he stays active in Newark as the chairman of the board of the University Heights Science Park. This organization has provided economic stimulus for a number of Newark projects, including the recently opened $80M International Center for Public Health.

In my incredibly biased opinion, Stanley Bergen, Jr., employed for 31 years as a public servant for the State of New Jersey based in Newark, is the finest example of a Princetonian in Newark's service.

Stu Bergen '88
New York, N.Y.

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April 22, 2002

I was particularly happy to see your article on Newark's renaissance in the April 10, 2002, issue.

I have been practicing law in Newark since 1980, and I have seen changes in the last few years that were literally unimaginable not so long ago. It's nice to see that so many Princetonians have helped make it happen.

The city's resurgence is reflected in the local legal industry, as more and more national and regional firms are setting up shop here. This includes my firm, Klett Rooney Lieber and Schorling, originally a Pittsburgh firm, for whom I helped to open an office in Newark in 2001. (We're in the leftmost office tower pictured on page 14.)

This has been special for me, since in addition to joining other Princeton colleagues in the firm, I now have the privilege of having two classmates as partners, Fred D'Angelo, ' 70 (in Philadelphia) and Mike Manzo, ' 70 (in Pittsburgh). We're all happy to be a small (but, we think, not unimportant) part of Newark's new day.

Bob Stickles ’70
Glen Rock, N.J.

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April 15, 2002

Your particularly heartening cover story Renewing Newark lists Princetonians who have aided in the restoration of that beleagured city.

One is missing: Staley S. Bergen M.D. ’51 was the first president of the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, established in Newark in the 1960s. Let it be noted.

Benedict J. Duffy, Jr. ’41M.D.
Hingham, Mass.

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April 14, 2002

Regarding your fine article on Princeton grads assisting in "Renewing Newark" (cover story, April 10): Princeton's involvement with Newark – aside from having students from Newark – began as far back as the early 1970s, if not before.

The "Semester in the City" program, loosely organized through the politics department, allowed about 10 undergraduates to work and live in Newark and experience aspects of the city's politics and life firsthand. Students worked in the mayor's (Ken Gibson) office, Model Cities, Newark Legal Services (where I was an investigator), perhaps for a city councilman or two, and several others.

Then as perhaps now, Newark was a troubled, fairly corrupt place politically, but it was also full of the good people who lived there and at least some dedicated citizens and politicians fighting the good fight.

David Sedgwick ’73
Charlottesville, Va.

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April 12, 2002

I enjoyed reading the article about Princetonians in the Nation's Service in Newark, New Jersey. It was informative and inspiring to read about so many of our fellow alumni from various backgrounds who are working hard in Newark.

I, too, am proudly living and working for a better Newark, but I believe that my perspective may be somewhat different from some of those featured in the article.

I am director of operations for Cory Booker's mayoral campaign against Sharpe James, who has been mayor of Newark for 16 years. I left a corporate job in New York City to join Cory's fight to improve the neighborhoods, schools and economic prospects of the great City of Newark.

From my perspective, Newark's renaissance as touched upon by the article is far from complete. Despite incredible work in the downtown area and great plans for the future, many of Newark's neighborhoods have been untouched by progress. Drug dealing, car theft, teenage dropout rates, and juvenile AIDS cases are off the charts.

Two years ago, Newark was rated the worst city in America to raise a child. Only 4 out of 10 of Newark's children graduate high school. The unemployment rate in Newark is 10.1% — worse than it was in the mid 1980s, and the poverty rate is 31.6%. Although Newark's neighborhoods are only 40 miles away from Nassau Street, many of them might as well be on the other side of the earth.

These are grim facts, but seeds of change are being sown. New city leaders are being nurtured in Newark's schools, businesses, non-profits and government. The exciting work underway in Newark's downtown is attracting interest that has been absent for decades.

However, we can only capitalize on the work that has already happened if we commit to making a change for ALL citizens of Newark, especially those most disadvantaged. That commitment requires new leadership, vision and energy.

I sincerely hope that more and more Princetonians who want to stay in the Northeast will find a reason to spend time in Newark. For most, Newark is a brief cityscape seen through the window of a New Jersey Transit train or a taxi to the airport. It is much more than that. It is a city of great hope, wonderful ethnic diversity, and a storied history. Its infrastructure and location make it a perfect sister city to New York. Now all it needs is to move to the next level.

Raoul Bhavnani '93
New York, N.Y.

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April 11, 2002

In your article about alumni contributions to the revival of Newark (April 10), Lawrence Goldman *69 *76, CEO of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), rightly boasts: "There's hardly a renowned artist in any field, jazz, dance, classical music, theater, who has not been through our theater or orchestra."

Another Princetonian, William W. Lockwood '59, has been instrumental in making that happen. Lockwood joined NJPAC at the outset, as principal programming associate, and is responsible for much of the music, dance, and variety programming.

Margaret Keenan
Princeton, N.J.

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April 11, 2002

Thank you for the article about Princeton "urbanists" serving the city of Newark, and your evocative editorial tracing the university's roots there 255 years ago.

As an alumnus of St. Benedict's Preparatory School, I am happy to read an acknowledgement of Tom McCabe '91's educational leadership as assistant headmaster and director of college guidance.

One clarification: the description of St. Benedict's as a "parochial" school seems slightly off the mark. Inspired by the 1500-year-old Benedictine tradition of hospitality and Christian education, St. Benedict's Prep admits qualified students of all creeds; about 40% of the students are Roman Catholics. The 2001-2002 enrollment includes 575 students, more than 50 of whom are from 17 other countries.

Arnold L. Lettieri, Jr.

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April 10, 2002

Your article on Newark (feature April 10, 2002) deserves much praise, especially for identifying alums who are doing such significant work in helping to rebuild this city. Older alums have also made significant contributions, most particularly Stan Bergen '51, who, almost singlehandedly, created the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ). Construction in Newark of its vast facilities created thousands of permanent jobs and helped a great deal to overcome the riot-induced crisis and bad feeling.

Although much older, I welcome the lists of active Princetonians who can help in my own endeavors on behalf of the poorest children in Newark, serving as trustee of the Association for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) and Youth Consultation Service (YCS). I serve on the former by nomination of Carolyn English w'31 years ago. ACNJ gave its building to YCS when it changed from a service to a policy organization. Having served YCS, currently the largest nonprofit serving children in NewJ ersey for 50 years, we find that both organizations are relatively unknown, and your article with make it possible for us to acquaint fellow Princetonians in Newark with the programs that need their influential support.

The Early Care and Education Coalition, on which I also serve, is setting the standards for preschool in the Abbott districts. Newark is the largest, with the most severe problems. Here, not only must the educational process be improved, but also hope of a job and a future career, which is now so lacking, must be created. At my suggestion, my friend Professor Sara McLanahan, director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research in Child Wellbeing, chose Newark as one of 20 cities (a $12-million project "Fragile Families") to study the relationship of the unmarried father to the family he helped create. The results in Newark are surprising and helpful.

Another important contributor to child wellbeing is the Victoria Foundation, whose sole client is Newark. They are currently providing $1million to have the Bank Street College of Education staff the entire kindergarten program in Newark. Trustees are:Charles M. Chapin '58 and William Turnbull '30. Surely many of our Chubb alumni(ae) may be related to the chair, Percy Chubb III.

I myself ran a chemical plant "down neck." When the riots of 1967 ocurred, most of my many African-American employees came to work. They were not involved because they had good jobs and self-esteem, being union members.

Ernest M. May '34
Summit, N.J.

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April 8, 2002

I’d been intending for some time to congratulate you on the weekly’s new format and graphical reinvigoration. This April 10 issue prompted me to actually write both as to style and format. Specifically the article on Newark and Princeton’s involvement impressed me greatly and Argelio Dumenigo’s treatment was right on target. The involvement of Princetonians was impressive especially since my recollections stem from the riots of 1967 remain vivid.

I was undersecretary alter secretary of HUD at the time and the impact was vivid as we struggled for an effective response. Twelve days later of course, Detroit blew and in 1968 the King assassination led quickly to the poor people’s march on Washington. So the topic remains on my agenda and the Newark recovery. The university’s part was especially gratifying as Princeton was generous in 1969 in awarding me an honorary degree and so I value your recollection even more.

As you leave the editorship I wish you very best and congratulates on a pioneering job well done.

Robert Wood ’44
Boston, Mass.

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