21, 2001: From
Early in my freshman
year, three dorm-mates and I wandered down to Jadwin Gym to watch
another take part in a track meet. After the match, she introduced
us to her mother. Mom, this is Susie, she began. She
runs cross-country. This is Karen she plays tennis. This
is Julie; she sings. And . . . Pause. This is Jane.
Naturally I hightailed it to the Prince to start padding my résumé,
but the point is that in that tiny, random sample of freshmen there
was a wide range of interests and talents (and leadership skills;
two went on to captain their teams and the singer became president
of her a cappella group).
Despite our extracurricular
and, for that matter, academic diversity of interests,
though, we were extremely similar in our backgrounds. We were all
white, all from the Northeast, all from relatively well-off families;
two were Princeton legacies.
Some 15 years later,
its evident from the stories in this issue of PAW that questions
of diversity What do we mean by diversity? If we can define
it, how do we achieve it? How do we balance it with a corresponding
sense of unity? still resound, perhaps more loudly, at Princeton.
For Janet Dickerson, the universitys first female African-American
vice president and the new head of campus life, questions of diversity
top her agenda (see story on page 16). Thats in no small part
because diversity tops the list of student concerns, as demonstrated
by Alex Rawson 01s On the Campus column on page 15.
The topic is also of importance to other administrators, and a significant
reason for building Frist Campus Center at which we take
an architectural look on page 18 was to provide a casual
gathering place for groups of students who might not otherwise interact
with each other.
In his closing remarks
at the Alumni Day luncheon on February 24, President Shapiro talked
about diversity, saying that when he speaks to alumni it is
difficult to convey the spectrum of students and activities we have
here on campus. As one example, he said that in just the last
two weeks he had met with students from the jazz ensemble, the wind
ensemble, and the orchestra; one student who hoped to start a mariachi
band and others interested in klezmer music; and a group intending
to form an East Asian music and comedy troupe. He reflected, The
we that is Princeton is exploding in all directions,
adding, We all manage to live together. Its Janet
Dickersons unenviable job to make sure were living in