President's Pages in Princeton Alumni Weekly
February 13, 2002
One of the most frequent questions I have been asked by alumni and parents as I have traveled around the country and by members of the community as I walk the campus is what Princeton is doing in response to the terrible events of September 11. In December Princeton announced a commitment of $1 million to four programs created to assist individuals, especially young people, most directly affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and to help support New York City’s renewal and recovery from the attacks. The programs are designed to reflect Princeton’s teaching and research mission, to take best advantage of the wide array of talents offered by members of the University community, and to spread assistance, though not too thinly, over a range of areas. In recent weeks we have made progress on all four programs, and I thought alumni might appreciate this brief update.
The program aims to provide live cultural experiences for children in communities most significantly affected by the attacks and financial support to cultural institutions through ticket purchases. Up to 10,000 New York City-area children, many attending public schools that lack the necessary funding to expose their students to cultural experiences, are expected to participate. Rather than providing a simple grant, we have constructed this program so that our own students will participate first-hand in its creation and administration, as well as participating in the cultural events themselves. Not unexpectedly, given the intense desire of our student body to help in the recovery of New York, the student response to this program has been overwhelming. The Class of 2004 and the student Performing Arts Council have adopted it as a major project and put together teams who will work with our partner organization in New York, HAI, Inc., to determine the right kind of workshop for each event, sign up Princeton students to conduct each workshop and participate in each activity, and handle logistics.
Scholarships for John Jay College
We have provided $250,000 in scholarship support to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, which lost more than 100 students and alumni (mostly firefighters, police officers and rescue workers) in the September 11 attacks. In deciding to provide support for John Jay, we were not aware that when it was founded in 1946 many of its initial faculty members were Princeton alumni, and its first dean of faculty and second president Donald Riddle ’49 *56 received his A.B. and Ph.D. from Princeton. It was their vision that determined John Jay should be a liberal arts college with an emphasis on criminal justice, the only college of its kind in the country, rather than a professional academy.
John Jay will use its funding to award ten scholarships a year. Reflecting Princeton’s mission, each recipient will be required to enroll in two courses that are designed to prepare the student to conduct an independent research project related to the criminal justice/public service field. John Jay, which has few scholarship funds of its own, expects to be able to offer Princeton scholarships for at least seven years, and hopes to point to its experience with this program in trying to attract additional scholarship support from other sources.
A group of programs will focus on children from New Jersey who lost parents in the attacks on the World Trade Center or in the rescue efforts. We will offer high-school-age students one or more week-long sessions on campus probably during the summer, drawing on alumni of the Teacher Preparation Program to help plan and conduct the programs, which would offer educational, cultural, and athletic experiences, college counseling, and other activities. There is also likely to be a program at Blairstown for middle-school-age students. These initial plans may evolve after consultation with principals, teachers, counselors and parents. However, key to the program’s design is our desire to give the students opportunities to get to know other young people in similar circumstances and to get to know Princeton alumni who may be able to provide them over time with continuing guidance and assistance as they think about colleges, careers and other life choices. A significant number of alumni already have volunteered to help in the program.
This program provides support to faculty, staff and students whose expertise and skills can help in the recovery and renewal effort, and to help fund senior thesis or dissertation research related to the events of September 11. Let me give one example, a request that came immediately after we announced this program from Assistant Professor of Architecture Laura Kurgan for help in developing a Memorial Map Around Ground Zero. Professor Kurgan described the project as “a research investigation which suddenly took a turn toward realization” and describes the map as “a practical guide to the site as well as a memorial document. It addresses the multitude of people going to the site to bear witness, people who simply look or who seek to add something of their own to the many spontaneous memorials which have grown up around Ground Zero.” The PU4NY fund provided Professor Kurgan with resources to help print the map, which is provided free at Ground Zero.
More information about PU4NY can be found on the Web.