Fred Fox Fund
For over three decades, the Fred Fox ’39 Fund has been providing students with grants toward academic research and other educationally enriching activities. The fund’s administrators, now drawn from the Class of 1978, seek to establish the same close ties with undergraduates that Fred Fox nurtured in his heyday.
In the early days of space travel, Fred Fox ’39 sent a Tiger pennant to the moon with astronaut Pete Conrad ’53 as a way, he said, of putting Princeton 239,000 miles ahead of Harvard and Yale. That was Frederic Ewing Fox—humorist and head cheerleader for Old Nassau. He was many other things as well: ordained minister, special assistant to President Eisenhower, Princeton’s recording secretary, the official keeper of university memorabilia, and above all, friend and mentor to generations of Tigers. For years Freddie introduced freshmen to the colorful legends and songs of their alma mater, instilling in them not just a love for Princeton but also an abiding fondness for the man himself.
Freddie was eminently approachable. He used to pedal a bicycle around campus, stopping to chat with all and sundry. It was his congeniality that drew students to his office in 1 Nassau Hall and got him elected secretary of the Class of 1939. Occasionally students would ask Freddie for support with projects that fell outside established funding channels. Having obtained a green light from his fellow ’39ers, he would respond to these requests by tapping the class coffers. After his death in 1981, Freddie's classmates decided to honor the memory of their beloved friend by setting up a fund in his name. The first disbursement from the Fred Fox Fund went to a single student: Y. Ping Sun ’85. Recently arrived from China with little math and less English, Sun used her grant to get tutoring in these two subjects and after graduating went on to a prestigious law career. Today the fund—administered by members of the Class of 1978, with support from the Office of Religious Life—fields some fifty applications annually.
In Firestone Library’s reading room there is a portrait of Fred Fox standing next to his bicycle. With his insouciant smile, his beer jacket and tie, his orange and black cap perched jauntily on his head, he looks like the perennial Princeton undergrad. This is the Fred Fox who inducted the Class of 1978 into the ways of their alma mater, a man they hold dear in their hearts and in whose name they will continue to nurture ties with Tigers who are passionately pursuing their academic dreams.
The Fred Fox Fund provides grants for projects that are conceived by the individual student and relevant to his or her course of study. The amount of a grant depends on the initiative, imagination, and clarity of purpose an individual exhibits in pursuing educational opportunities outside the formal university curriculum. Students from all disciplines are welcome to apply. The members of the Class of ’78 who administer the fund want young Princetonians to know that there are alumni who care about them not for their grade-point averages, but rather for their academic interests and lifelong dreams.
Here is the link to the application portal for this funding opportunity.