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Princeton Parents News
  A Newsletter for Parents of Princeton University Students Winter 2012, Volume 34, Number 1  
In this issue:
•  Opening Exercises welcomes Class of 2015
•  Message from Dean of the College Valerie Smith
•  Video: Princeton Freshman Parents Weekend
•  Princeton seniors and alumni win Rhodes, Marshall scholarships
•  Elvin, Valcourt named Pyne Prize winners
•  Princeton professor wins Nobel Prize
•  Freshman seminars feature
•  Gifts to Aspire campaign
•  Annual Giving, Parents Fund efforts
•  Faculty profile: Jeffrey Eugenides
•  Spotlight: Andlinger Center
•  SINSI marks fifth anniversary
•  Commencement 2012 events
Helpful links:
•  Princeton homepage
•  Princeton Parents page
•  Princeton Parents Facebook page
•  Residential colleges
•  Princeton University Bulletin
•  Emergency information
•  Academic calendar

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Parents News Archive

Opening Exercises welcomes Class of 2015
 
     
 

New members of the Class of 2015 were welcomed to Princeton during Opening Exercises on Sept. 11, 2011. Students gathered in the University Chapel to participate in the interfaith service that marks the start of each academic year.
     The Class of 2015 is the most diverse freshman class in the University's history, with a record number of students from low-income backgrounds and minority backgrounds included in the approximately 1,300 members.
     In her Opening Exercises address, President Shirley M. Tilghman reflected on the opportunities created by the modern information age, exhorting students to embrace ideas, not simply information.
     The ceremony also included the presentation of awards to undergraduates in recognition of their academic achievements during the previous year.
 

Message from Dean of the College Valerie Smith: Advising and supporting students
 

     
 

At any institution of higher learning, academic advising plays a critical role in students' lives. An attentive, responsive adviser can help students make informed decisions about course selection, study abroad, co-curricular activities, choice of major, thesis topics, work-life balance and many other subjects. Furthermore, an adviser can often sense when a student is in academic or emotional difficulty and encourage him or her to seek more specialized help and support.
     For many students, the word "adviser" immediately calls to mind the faculty member to whom they are assigned early in the freshman year or the one who supervises course selection, or junior or senior independent work in their home department. But our students have access to many other sources of advice as well. In addition to the faculty members I've just mentioned, they may also seek guidance from residential college staff (masters, deans, directors of studies and directors of student life) as well as other students, especially their residential college advisers (RCAs), academic peer advisers and graduate students (especially resident graduate students in their colleges).
     Here at Princeton, where the role of undergraduate education is central to the University's core mission, we pay close attention to our advising system to ensure that our students receive the support and information they require. When we expanded the residential college system, for example, we decentralized the decanal advising of juniors and seniors and made it more accessible to students by moving it from the Office of the Dean of the College (located in West College) to the residential colleges. This change benefited our students because it allowed them to maintain a connection with the same set of professional advisers through all four years. The Major Choices Initiative, launched nine years ago to help students select departmental concentrations more thoughtfully, produced the ancillary result of improving communication between advising in the colleges and in the academic departments, an outcome which has further enhanced our students’ academic experience. When curricular changes (such as revisions of the general education requirements) are introduced, we ensure that all advisers are thoroughly informed so that they can advise students appropriately.
 
      At any institution of higher learning, academic advising plays a critical role in students' lives.
 

     This year Senior Associate Dean Claire Fowler and a team of colleagues surveyed underclassmen to assess their use and understanding of the advising system. At present, several of the residential colleges are piloting a plan that creates stronger advising communities by reinforcing connections between peer advisers and residential college advising groups; we intend to expand this initiative next year.
     We will continue to study our advising system and to improve it when necessary. But the success of these efforts depends upon our students' willingness to avail themselves of these resources. All too often I speak with or hear about students who feel unable or ashamed to ask for assistance. Having known only success and high achievement in their academic lives before Princeton, they think that seeking out advice is a sign of weakness or failure. Regrettably, they sometimes wait until they have become disaffected or are in academic difficulty before turning to a faculty member or a member of the residential college advising staff for advice. It is my profound hope that we can make Princeton a place where all of our students feel that it is their right and responsibility to walk down the hall or across campus and seek the help they need.


Video feature: Princeton Freshman Parents Weekend
 
     
 

Each October, the University throws a welcome party for hundreds of parents and other family members of Princeton freshmen. This year's events took place on Oct. 14-16.
     Dean of the College Valerie Smith says in a video about Freshman Parents Weekend that the event allows family members to see how exciting students' lives are at the University, and visit the places where students work, live and socialize.

 

Princeton seniors and alumni awarded Rhodes, Marshall scholarships
 

     
 

This fall saw the awarding of the prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships to Princeton seniors and recent alumni.
     Three seniors — Elizabeth Butterworth, Miriam Rosenbaum and Astrid Stuth — and one Class of 2011 graduate, Mohit Agrawal, received Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Oxford.
     They were among the 32 American recipients of the prestigious fellowships, which fund two to three years of graduate study at Oxford. Princeton's four winners, three of whom are women, represented the most at the University in any one year since 1990.
     Also, three seniors — Christina Chang, Kyle Edwards and Emily Rutherford — and two alumni, Samuel Dorison and Alice Easton, received Marshall Scholarships. They were among the 36 American college students awarded the scholarship for 2012. The Marshall Scholarship covers the cost of graduate study and living at a British university of the recipient's choice for two to three years.

Rhodes Scholars: Mohit Agrawal (top left), Elizabeth Butterworth (top right), Miriam Rosenbaum (bottom left), Astrid Stuth (bottom right)

Elvin, Valcourt named Pyne Prize winners
 
     
Pyne Prize winners: Ann-Marie Elvin (left), and James Valcourt
 

Princeton seniors Ann-Marie Elvin and James Valcourt have been named co-winners of the University's 2012 Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate. They were recognized at a luncheon during Alumni Day on campus Saturday, Feb. 25.
     Elvin is a sociology major from Boston. Among her many activities, she is a member of the varsity women's ice hockey team and volunteers with several religious and youth organizations.
     Valcourt, who is from Sterling, Mass., is a molecular biology major and a candidate for a certificate in quantitative and computational biology. His various activities include serving as chair of The Princeton Tiger humor magazine, speakers chair for the Student Bioethics Forum and as a leader trainer for the Outdoor Action preorientation program for freshmen.
 

Princeton's Sims wins Nobel in economics with visiting professor Sargent
 

Sims (left) and Sargent enjoying a laugh during Princeton's Nobel press conference.
     
 

Princeton professor Christopher Sims was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Economics along with Thomas Sargent, a New York University economist and visiting professor at Princeton for the fall semester. The men were honored for developing tools to analyze the economic causes and effects of monetary policy.
     Sims, the Harold H. Helm '20 Professor of Economics and Banking, has been a faculty member at Princeton since 1999, and is the third tenured faculty member at Princeton to win the Nobel Prize in economics in the past decade. He and Sargent are longtime colleagues, and co-taught a graduate course this fall.
     The two men were recognized on campus Oct. 10 with a press conference that generated worldwide media attention and a reception with faculty, staff and students. Video from the press conference is available online.


Freshman seminars feature
 
     
 

What is the meaning of a good life? That was just one of the many questions raised in the freshman seminar "Individuality as an Ideal," which was taught this fall by Kwame Anthony Appiah, the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. Appiah is a world-renowned moral and political philosopher who has taught at Princeton since 2002.
     The course was one of 35 freshman seminars offered this fall. The seminars, which are hosted by the residential colleges, enable students to build strong relationships with faculty members and classmates in a close-knit intellectual setting.
     Coverage of other freshman seminars also were featured on the University homepage:
  •  Exploring the science and nuance of facial perception
  •  'Silence, Noise, Sound and Music'
  •  Tackling tough questions about global environmental change
 

Griswold gift supports economics, Ford gift for athletic programs
 

     
 

The University’s Aspire fundraising campaign continues to move forward to meet its $1.75 billion goal. Major gifts announced this fall included:
  •  Investment banking executive Benjamin H. Griswold IV, a member of Princeton's Class of 1962, and his family have made a substantial gift to endow a center in the Department of Economics. With the Griswold gift, the center has been renamed the Benjamin H. Griswold III, Class of 1933, Center for Economic Policy Studies, in honor of Griswold's father, a member of Princeton's Class of 1933.
  •  A gift from Princeton alumnus William Clay Ford Jr., and alumna Lisa Vanderzee Ford will create the Bill and Lisa Ford Family Directorship of Athletics at Princeton University. In addition to endowing the directorship, the Ford gift will provide funding for Princeton's athletic director to invest in programs to enhance the student-athlete experience.


Annual Giving raises $50 million, Parents Fund opportunities continue

Princeton's 2010-11 Annual Giving campaign, which ended on June 30, 2011, raised $50,010,045 — the second highest total in Annual Giving history. The results are notable for their strength and breadth across all of Princeton's constituencies: undergraduate alumni, graduate alumni, parents and friends. Princeton parents contributed a record-setting $2,842,556 to the 2010-11 campaign.
     The 2011-12 Annual Giving campaign is currently under way and parents are welcome to participate in the annual fundraising effort through the 2011-12 Parents Fund. The Parents Fund raises critical unrestricted funds that help sustain the quality of the educational experience at Princeton. Led by Terri and Jim Baird P06 P10, the Parents Committee is a dedicated group of parents of current students and graduates. Committee members connect with other Princeton parents and encourage their support of the University. In addition, committee members have the opportunity to participate in events on campus and throughout the country, as well as to meet faculty, administrators and other Princeton parents.
     For more information about the Parents Fund or to volunteer, contact Betsy Grimes, director of the Parents Fund, at 609-258-2344 or at egrimes@princeton.edu.
 

Faculty profile: Creative writing professor Jeffrey Eugenides
 

     
 

Princeton creative writing professor Jeffrey Eugenides takes readers into the classroom in his new novel, "The Marriage Plot," about three college students on the cusp of graduation. In his own classroom, Eugenides talks to students about his creative process.
     "I try to have my students realize that all the mistakes they're making are mistakes that I've made and sometimes continue to make," said Eugenides, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who has been teaching at Princeton full time since 2007.
     Eugenides was the subject of a recent feature story on the University's homepage.


Spotlight: Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
 
     
 

In a video produced by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Emily Carter, founding director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, talks about why she decided to devote the rest of her career to energy research. Laying out her strategic vision for the Andlinger Center, Carter says that Princeton's track record for interdisciplinary work puts it in a unique position to solve the complex energy problems that society faces.
     The School of Engineering announced this summer that Lynn Loo, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, will serve as deputy director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.
 

At fifth anniversary, SINSI marks success in fostering future policymakers
 

Kimberly Bonner in Tanzania.
     
 

This fall marked the fifth anniversary of the University's Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative (SINSI), which is living up to its mission of fostering the next generation of public policymakers.
     SINSI is designed to encourage, support and prepare students to pursue careers in the U.S. government, focusing on both domestic policy and international affairs issues. Selected scholars pursue a rigorous academic schedule through the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs' master in public affairs (MPA) program and intensive language study, along with professional experience through a summer internship and two-year fellowships.


Commencement scheduled for June 5

Detailed information about Princeton's 265th Commencement can be found on the Commencement 2012 website.  The Baccalaureate ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 3, and will feature an address by author Michael Lewis. Class Day will take place on Monday, June 4, and actor Steve Carell will deliver the keynote speech.  The Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, June 5.


Academic calendar
SPRING TERM 2012
Feb. 6, Monday. Spring term begins
Feb. 25, Saturday. Alumni Day (open to parents)
March 12-16, Monday-Friday. Midterm tests
March 17-25, Saturday-Sunday. Spring recess
May 16-26, Wednesday-Saturday. Final examinations
June 3, Sunday. Baccalaureate
June 4, Monday. Class Day
June 5, Tuesday. Commencement
    FALL TERM 2012
Sept. 13, Thursday. Classes begin
Oct. 12-14, Friday-Sunday. Freshman Parents Weekend
Oct. 22-26, Monday-Friday. Midterm tests
Oct. 27-Nov. 4, Saturday-Sunday. Fall recess
Nov. 21-Nov. 25, Thursday-Sunday. Thanksgiving recess
Dec. 14-Jan. 6, Saturday-Sunday. Winter recess
Jan. 16-26, Wednesday-Saturday. Final examinations
 
    SPRING TERM 2013
Feb. 4, Monday. Spring term begins
Feb. 23, Saturday. Alumni Day (open to parents)
March 11-15, Monday-Friday. Midterm tests
March 16-24, Saturday-Sunday. Spring recess
May 15-25, Wednesday-Saturday. Final examinations
June 2, Sunday. Baccalaureate
June 3, Monday. Class Day
June 4, Tuesday. Commencement

Other comments, questions, ideas?
We would like to hear from you on the types of stories you would like to see featured in this newsletter in the future. Please send your comments to parents@princeton.edu.

Editor: Emily Aronson
Contributing Writers: Emily Aronson, Cass Cliatt, Karin Dienst, Nick DiUlio, Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, Jesse Jacobs, Paul Karr, Ushma Patel, Beth Perrino, Steven Schultz and Ruth Stevens
Design: Mahlon Lovett
Photo Contributors: Denise Applewhite, Kimberly Bonner, John Jameson and Frank Wojciechowski
Video Contributors: Nick Barberio, Teresa Riordan and Evelyn Tu
Princeton Parents News is published by Princeton's Office of Communications, 22 Chambers St., Suite 201, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08542, 609-258-3601. It is sent electronically at no charge to parents of undergraduates, and also to parents of graduate students upon request. Permission is granted to reprint or to excerpt written material from Princeton Parents News without attribution for use in the media.
Nondiscrimination Statement. In compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other federal, state, and local laws, Princeton University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, or veteran status in any phase of its employment process, in any phase of its admission or financial aid programs, or other aspects of its educational programs or activities. The vice provost for institutional equity and diversity is the individual designated by the University to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX, Section 504 and other equal opportunity and affirmative action regulations and laws. Questions or concerns regarding Title IX, Section 504 or other aspects of Princeton's equal opportunity or affirmative action programs should be directed to the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity, Princeton University, 205 Nassau Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544 or 609-258-6110.

Copyright © 2012 by The Trustees of Princeton University

In the Nation's Service and in the Service of All Nations

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