Dear Members of the Class of 2017,
Greetings from Princeton! And welcome 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 library for quiet study, 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 twenty 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 Kristin Wilson ‘14. You will find a letter from Kristin below mine on this very page, 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). You have probably already been contacted by your RCA, whose room will be near yours. 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 60 Princeton faculty members are Fellows at Whitman. Faculty Fellows are encouraged to hold their classes in the College, share their interests at special discussions and activities, and dine at the College. Their presence 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 anthropology to electrical engineering, also 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 this year I am teaching undergraduate courses in translation studies (a new and exciting field at Princeton), and in literary theory. One of the very best things about being a Master is the opportunity it gives me to meet a wide range of Princeton students—and I much look forward to getting to know each of you over dessert hours early in the year as well as through dinners, lunches and events throughout the year. Another great thing about my job is the opportunity to work with Whitman’s first-rate College Office staff. Let me introduce them to you:• Day-to-day management of the College is under the direction of Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu, the Dean of Whitman 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.
• Momo Wolapaye is Whitman's Director of Student Life. He works closely with various groups of undergraduates to help make Whitman an exciting and supportive place. Mr. Wolapaye 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 much look forward to working with staff, student leaders, and faculty—as well as you and your classmates—to create a congenial, safe and stimulating environment in the coming year. Please visit our website: http://www.princeton.edu/whitmancollege 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 great 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,
Cotsen Professor of the Humanities
Master, Whitman College
Hello, future Whitmanite!,
As a member of the Whitman College Council, I am delighted to welcome you to our community. Five years ago when I first visited Princeton, I remember how struck I was by Whitman’s magnificence. Imagine my delight on learning it would be my home at Princeton. I have lived in Whitman for the past three years and the lustre is more than skin-deep. Whitmanites are an excellent bunch; quite simply, the best Princeton has to offer. Think about it this way: you are a spirited, brilliant and exceptional Princetonian. You are also a Whitmanite. We have been fortunate to consistently have dedicated Whitmanites – Whitmaniacs – that have worked to create an experience that makes Whitman truly feel like home.
The College Council organizes events and activities for Whitman students but our community is incredible because of the level of student participation and dedication, and so as you meet council members please share your ideas and suggestions. Think of the Council as your facilitator; this really is your college to shape. We have ideas and traditions that we hope you will enjoy, but ultimately, Whitman is yours to define. Our goal is to be visible enough for you to give us as much input as you want. You are certainly guaranteed our full attention. In fact, if you have any ideas or questions right now, send me an email and I will be glad to read them. I, along with everyone else at Whitman, want you to have a tremendous residential college experience, and the College Council is full of Whitmaniacs dedicated to making this happen. You are invited to be a Whitmaniac too; to initiate, plan, participate and help Whitman continue to excel.
Since we are so excited to meet you this Fall, Whale Week is our way of saying “Welcome!” The whale is our college mascot and in the coming semester, you will be called Whitmanites, Whitmaniacs, Whitmanians and Whales. During Whale Week will be a variety of activities geared toward giving you a sense of both the possibilities for college-sponsored events and of the “Whitman community”. The Whitman Olympics and College Night are two such activities. We are big on community and innovation but the Whitman Olympics is one of Whitman’s traditions. We have interpreted athleticism rather loosely for the sake of inclusiveness and entertainment, so think tug-of-war, eating contests, [face-]painting, [free] gear, delicious food, Frisbee, chalk drawing, races, water balloon fights, basketball, and overall Whale awesomeness. As a celebration of community, College Night provides an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful, themed dinner with fellow Whales in the dining hall. There will be decorations, great food and surprises. Look forward to it!
I can scarcely exaggerate how amazing my Whitman experience has been over the last three years, and I look forward to another great year with you all!
Kristin Wilson ‘14