Dear Members of the Class of 2016,
Greetings from Princeton! I am writing to welcome you to Whitman College. As you’ll soon discover, Whitman is a beautiful complex of buildings that houses approximately 500 students, including a full complement of freshmen and sophomores as well as a growing number of juniors and seniors who choose to stay on with us for all four years at Princeton. In addition to dining and residential halls, the College offers a small theater, a dance practice room, and several private study rooms. Lounges throughout the College make it easy and inviting to relax there with friends.
Even more important than Whitman’s accommodations is its well-known community spirit. This results from a variety of sources, all combining to make life in the College particularly rich and enjoyable. Your fellow students take the lead in organizing many of the events, and these are enthusiastically supported and supplemented by resident graduate students, faculty fellows and a resident faculty member—as well as your dedicated Whitman staff.
Much of what goes on at the college originates with, and is organized by, the Whitman College Council (WCC). This group of about a dozen students is active in the development of virtually all aspects of Whitman’s cultural, social and academic life, including intramurals, concerts, trips, speakers, and a variety of social events. The current Chair is James Cunningham ‘13. You’ll find a letter from James on this very page along with mine, and WCC members will be on hand to greet you when you arrive in September.
Another group of students who will be important to you are the Residential College Advisers (RCAs). Your RCA is a fine source of information about Princeton. He or she will be your main student guide during Freshman Orientation, and help you navigate your way through your freshman year.
About 50 Princeton faculty members are Fellows at Whitman. Faculty Fellows are encouraged to hold their classes in the college and invited to dine here. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to interact with members of the faculty outside the classroom. Eight Resident Graduate Students, who hail from academic disciplines ranging from politics to mechanical and aerospace engineering, live at Whitman. These graduate students are involved in organizing a slate of intellectual and social activities that I think you’ll enjoy.
Where do I fit in? Each college has a master, who is a member of the faculty. I am a Professor of Comparative Literature, and teach undergraduate courses in translation studies, poetry, and literary theory. One of the master’s most important jobs is making sure Whitman has a first-rate staff. Let me introduce them to you:
• Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu, the Dean of Whitman, is responsible for day-to-day management of the College. While she has primary responsibility for juniors and seniors, Dean Graves-Bayazitoglu can advise all Whitman students.
• Justin Lorts, Whitman’s Director of Studies, works with the Dean on all aspects of academic advising and offers general guidance for students, particularly first-year students and sophomores. In addition, he organizes intellectual and academic programs.
• Devon Wessman-Smerdon is Whitman’s Director of Student Life. She works closely with various groups of undergraduates to help make Whitman an exciting and supportive place. Ms. Wessman-Smerdon also provides assistance to students experiencing personal difficulty.
• Kristin Frasier is the College Administrator. She oversees the facilities and finances of the College. If you need to reserve a room or obtain some resources for a project, Ms. Frasier is the person to contact.
• Sara Krause, our College Secretary, is the first person to greet you when you enter the college offices. If you’re not quite sure whom to see for a particular issue, Ms. Krause will be happy to help you out.
I very much look forward to working with staff, students, and faculty—as well as you and your classmates—to create a congenial, safe and stimulating environment for you. Please explore the rest of our website to learn more about Whitman, including some beginning-of-the-year activities.
In early September, we will meet at Whitman and I will have the pleasure of welcoming you and your parents in person. In the meantime, the entire staff joins me in wishing you a pleasant and productive summer.
With best wishes,
My Fellow Princetonians,
Welcome to Whitman! The beauty of Princeton’s campus is no secret, and Whitman is no exception to that rule. From the dark wood floors to the gorgeous gothic architecture, our collegiate castle stands alone on our beautiful campus. Whitman is more than merely a pretty face though. It offers each of its residents a warm, welcoming home, a vibrant culture, and, most of all, the finest collection of neighbors you could imagine.
The dedication of each Whitman resident - each Whitmaniac - defines Whitman and breathes life into its soaring stone walls. The residents of Whitman gather to do yoga, paint in the quad, watch Monday Night Football - with the necessary accompaniment of pizza of course - and hunt each other down in heartless pursuit of the honored title of Whitman Assassin. They fill the Common Room with their talented musicianship, compete on the fields of sport in intramurals, and gather for dinners with professors ranging from own Master Bermann to President Shirley Tilghman. Beyond these programs, they gather every Tuesday night for a "Whitman students only", specialty themed dinner in Community Hall in an unmatched expression of college pride.
The Whitman College Council plans and executes many of these events. We on the Council have lived in Whitman for one to three years, gaining knowledge of and love for our home away from home. Our aim is to make Whitman the most welcoming and exciting college at Princeton. However, it falls to you, the residents of Whitman, to guide us where we are lacking and to provide us with the unparalleled input of Whitmaniacs. We all invite you to contact us with any suggestions or requests you may have for Whitman programs and we promise to do our utmost to help bring those ideas to fruition.
As a brief teaser as to what we have in store for you in the fall, I would like to introduce the Whitman Family Program. In this program we will match incoming freshmen with sophomore “older siblings” who most likely stayed in your room the previous year. These siblings will help guide you through the transition to Princeton life, supporting you and giving advice as needed, and will continue to serve as your mentor and friend for the remainder of your shared time at Princeton. Stay tuned for further details on the enrollment and pairing process as we near the beginning of the year.
I cannot begin to express my excitement, and that of the entire Council, at your joining us in our beloved college. If you have any questions about Whitman, Princeton, or college in general please do not hesitate to contact me at the email address below. I look forward to meeting each of you in the fall!
James Cunningham ‘13
Chair, Whitman College Council
Matthew Barouch '16
Kiana Amirahmadi '16