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New Princeton prize to honor high school students' work in race relations

For immediate release: September 22, 2003

Contact: Patricia Allen, (609) 258-3601

PRINCETON, NJ — Princeton University announced today an awards program to recognize high school students who have done outstanding work in their schools or communities to advance the cause of race relations.

Created by alumni volunteers and sponsored by the University's Alumni Council, the Princeton Prize in Race Relations will be launched as a pilot program by alumni associations in the greater Boston and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas. Project entries will be eligible for various prizes, including cash awards; first place honors in each city are $1,000 awards.

"The primary objective of this program is to reach out to the next generation of America's leaders," said Henry Von Kohorn, chair of the Princeton Prize Committee and a 1966 graduate of the University. "Our intention is not only to give out awards, but to support and encourage young people who are working hard to foster respect and understanding among people of different backgrounds."

The awards program was developed by the Princeton Prize Committee, which consists of University alumni, administrators and students. The committee identified several examples of outstanding projects created by high school students nationally in the last few years. Noteworthy activities included: a peer mediation program that settled race-related disputes between students; a workshop and video program to encourage Latinos to participate in government and community meetings; a play written and produced by a student that provided a historical dramatization of race matters at her school; and a club founded by a student to promote Asian culture, with non-Asians making up half of its membership.

Students in grades 9 through 12 enrolled in schools in the Boston and Washington, D.C., areas are eligible to participate in the awards program. Applicants must have been engaged in their volunteer project in the last 12 months. The application has two parts, one for the student and another to be completed by an adult supporter (who is not related to the candidate) such as a teacher, guidance counselor, religious leader or neighbor. Applications are available online at  www.princeton.edu/PrincetonPrize.

They must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2004. Winners will be announced in spring 2004.

"We are proud that our alumni want to encourage young people to improve race relations in their communities and that they are willing to devote their time and resources to a program of this kind," said Margaret Miller, director of the Alumni Council.

Princeton is dedicated to advancing race relations on its campus. In recent years, the University has increased the diversity of its staff, faculty and student body and strengthened its academic programs in African American, cultural and ethnic studies. The University adopted the most progressive undergraduate financial aid program in the country. Princeton's Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding sponsors programs and discussions on the subject of race relations among members of the University community. With the Princeton Prize, the University intends to reach beyond its own campus to encourage and recognize the efforts of America's next generation of leaders.