April 18, 2001:
letters. We may edit them for length, accuracy, clarity, and civility.
Our address: Princeton Alumni Weekly, 194 Nassau St., Suite 38,
Princeton, NJ 08542 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am delighted that the
endowment has grown so Princeton can lead the way in providing an
education to more students from lower income families. Access to
Princeton should be based on merit, not income (cover story, March
I was surprised, however,
that the tone of the article seemed to suggest that Princeton's
investment record for the decade of the '90s was spectacular, achieving
a 17.1 percent annual compound return. On an absolute basis, this
is indeed a wonderful result, and one that I guess will not be achieved
in this decade. That said, I looked up the results of the Standard
& Poor's 500 stock average over the period January 1, 1990,
to December 31, 1999, and according to Bloomberg, this unmanaged
index had a compound annual rate of 17.98 percent.
While this difference
may not seem great, it is surprising how large it becomes over a
ten-year period. Using the example in the article of how a $100,000
investment in Princeton's endowment would have grown to $485,600,
the same investment in the S&P 500 would have grown to $522,497.
More important, the differential on a billion dollars of endowment
invested for the decade in the S&P 500 versus Princeton's results
would have been a staggering $368,970,000.
Thirty-five years in
the investment world have taught me this is not an easy business,
and Princo's directors are to be congratulated for being in the
top 10 percent of endowment performance. But let's not get too puffed
up about our results!
James M. Clark, Jr. '60
New York, N.Y.
Congratulations to the
people who made our endowment grow from $4 to $8 billion in the
last five years! But does it make sense that, in the same five years,
the fees for tuition et al. increased each and every year by an
amount greater than the rate of inflation (and as I understand it,
have increased at a greater rate than that of inflation for the
last 20 to 30 years)?
As I figure it, with
5,000 undergraduates, it would only take $50 million to roll back
the tuition fees by $10,000. Why doesn't Princeton use the money
to keep education affordable
as well as high in quality?
J. Kenneth Looloian '43
I give up. You win. Never
again. This is it - my last letter to the editor about how laughable
your occasional analysis of the endowment has become. Actually,
analysis is the wrong word. Your article is more like the output
of a spin machine.
For example, you refer
to the performance of the fund as on "jet fuel" because
it returned 35.5 percent last year versus 7.2 percent for the S&P
500. You go on to say that the fund earned 17.1 percent for the
decade but omit that the S&P returned 18.21 percent for the
same period! Why would you leave that out? Could it be that the
truth - the whole truth - would put a dent in fundraising?
Moreover, given the types
of investments that the fund is making - private equity, hedge funds,
and venture capital (you actually call attention to these with bold
caps) - the return of the fund should be substantially higher than
the S&P or else why else go through the exercise described by
Scully as "Taking money off the table . . . now, not tomorrow."
But in this last attempt
to help you with future articles I will quote myself writing on
the same subject five years ago.
"What is needed
is a table. It would have a column for each year and a row for each
portfolio and index. Then, any reader can make up his own mind about
how well, or maybe not so well, he is doing. Now, all we get is
a graph showing how Princeton beat Harvard and Yale, demonstrating
only that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Lee W. Minton, Jr. '67
While it is gratifying
to know that alumni contributions, wise investing, and a robust
stock market have combined to create an "overflowing endowment,"
I was surprised to hear that there are many among the staff who
feel that the pay scale and benefits are significantly below the
amounts typically provided for similar work elsewhere.
While it may seem noble
to try to hold down costs in order to keep students' tuition, room,
and board fees to reasonable levels, it is much harder to justify
such cost-saving measures when the endowment is "overflowing."
It invites people to wonder whether part of the reason that the
university coffers are so full is because it has been Scrooge-like
in its approach to the staff. Is the cat fat because he's eaten
up most of the food of the mice?
Jay Tyson '76
Editor's note: The university
administration announced March 7 that it was reviewing its policy
with regard to its low-wage workers. (See our item in the April
As a former graduate
student, I was interested in the article by Maria LoBiondo about
the Graduate College (cover story, January 24).
I had not been aware
of the contro-versy between President Wilson and Dean West.
I was in residence at
the Graduate College during the academic year 1954-55. It was the
last year, more or less, of the old order. I liked it, but there
were already those who did not care for the formality, the academic
gowns, the rituals, the ceremony. One professor was overheard to
say that for the price of a gargoyle he could support a graduate
student for a whole semester. The barbarians were at the gates.
As far as relations between
graduate students and undergraduate students were concerned, there
weren't any. There were senior graduate students who acted as teaching
assistants, but their relationship with undergraduates was that
of faculty member to student, not as fellow students or fellow Princetonians.
I do not think it is fair to say that graduate students somehow
felt left out or felt inferior. The Graduate College was a separate
institution, and most of us were very happy to be members of that
The ethos of the Graduate
College was very different from that of the undergraduate college.
Princeton, by which I mean the undergraduate campus, still had much
of F. Scott Fitzgerald '17 about it. That is not to say that some
undergraduate students did not take their studies seriously, but
the idea of the "gentleman's C" was still very much alive.
It did not do to be seen as trying too hard. The undergraduate campus
was not exactly anti-intellectual, but it was not exactly pro-intellectual
either. Great emphasis was placed on conformity. There were strict,
if unwritten, dress codes and codes of behavior.
The Graduate College
was very different. It was, of course, actively pro-intellectual.
One of my fondest memories of that time is the conversation at dinner
- elegant wit in various languages, both living and dead. In addition
to our studies, which occupied most of our time, we had our own
social life and our own sports. The Graduate College was very much
a complete and self-contained world, or so it seemed to me. I do
not think anyone cared, or even thought about, the fact that it
was not part of the undergraduate world.
Stefan Schreier *56
I enjoyed your article
on graduate students trying to fit into an obsessively undergraduate
campus, but was a little disappointed not to see the D-bar (drinking
hole in the basement of the grad quad) mentioned. I was introduced
to the D-bar through another '99er, Masato Ikeda, and we would occasionally
go there on the few nights we took out from our pointlessly rigorous
mechanical engineering studies. The D-bar was notable for its good
beer at discounted prices and cheap snacks. It was an extremely
relaxed atmosphere, and we generally felt welcome. I was infuriated,
therefore, to hear at some point in 1999 that undergraduates would
no longer be allowed at the D-bar at all. I am all for a heightened
intermingling of grads and undergrads (though I'm not sure what
graduate students will gain from it), and the best place for
this to happen is in a relaxed recreational setting like the D-bar.
The eating clubs, in contrast, tend to be full of tight undergrad
cliques who do not so easily welcome outsiders.
George Showman '99
Reading about the graduate
concerns was like "déjà vu all over again,"
some 50 years removed.
I arrived with my wife,
Helene, in August 1951 from the University of Alberta, to try for
a Ph.D. in chemistry. The Butler Tract was filled with veterans
from WWII, so we had to seek housing elsewhere. Our first room was
with a family on Ewing Street and later with another family on Princeton-Hightstown
Road. My assistantship paid $1,200 from which $700 was deducted
for tuition. Health care? Dental care? Never heard of them.
Helene is a nurse and
worked at the Princeton Hospital for $120 per month, meals included.
We had to buy an ancient Buick so that we could get from our quarters
to work - thank goodness insurance was not required!
And the Castle on the
Hill - after about a year or so I heard of it but never during my
three years was I so much as invited to share a meal, let alone
to be immersed in a Princeton experience. I did have many rewarding
experiences with undergraduates in my laboratory classes.
We had our first child
in 1952 and got a discount from the hospital because Helene worked
up to her final day, and walked down the hall to deliver. A kind
obstetrician also gave a discount. Helene continued on the night
shift while our daughter and I burned the midnight oil.
I had two wonderfully
humane professors, N. Howell Furman and Clarke Bricker, who did
much to ease our way through the tough years. They obtained the
LeRoy Wiley McKay fellowship for my support in 1953-54, and my family
finally made it into the Butler Tract. I graduated in June 1954
and left shortly for industry. An offer to stay on as instructor
and then a possible career in academe was regretfully rejected.
Industry - nuclear submarine reactors - offered a fortune, $7,200
My sojourn was a record
in time - about two years and 10 months. The intellectual experience
was outstanding and the broad-based education has served me well.
G. William Goward *54
The article "The
Other Side of the Golf Course" prompted us to get out our old
copy of the 1942 edition of Princeton Campus Songs. One song's words
seem prophetic in regard to Scott Craver's T-shirt cartoon of the
The Goon School is across
We watch it as we sip
We often sit and wonder
The grads don't fly up
in the sky.
Jane and George King
Once and for all, when
are graduate students going to learn to celebrate their special
place in the Princeton community? Though I will admit that my gregarious
personality made it easy for me to meet undergraduates, I cherished
my place apart from the community in which they lived. I always
remembered that I was there doing a Ph.D. I was there because the
university, and the department of music, saw fit to keep me there.
I took pride in the fact that money did not buy my position in the
academic community. If this sounds unsympathetic to the woes of
graduate students, as well as a bit pompous, please forgive me,
but the whining must end! This deep sense of inadequacy on the part
of graduate students is an expression of their inability to devote
themselves wholly to their respective disciplines.
Peter Robles *94
New York, N.Y.
I read with interest
Ann Waldron's "Hopping off the Tenure Track." When I completed
my Ph.D. in mathematical statistics at Princeton in 1980, I immediately
surveyed graduate institutions and performed a formal decision analysis
to determine which academic position to pursue. Somewhere into my
sixth year of teaching, I was drawn into the midst of a public health
outbreak on the university's campus - I happened to have the entire
women's basketball team in my class at the time, and all were ill.
Located in a state capital, I found myself involved with a dedicated
and intelligent group of public health professionals, interested
in protecting the health of the community. I was fascinated by the
application of my academic interests and training to this urgent
Now, 20 years post Ph.D.,
I find myself with a second career in public health. Public health
is a population- based discipline founded on science that uses knowledge
through skillful applications directed at the prevention of unnecessary
disease, disability, and death, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
A fundamental public health activity is the scientific measurement
of health status. Statistical methods provide the basis for establishing
objectives for health promotion and for disease and injury prevention,
setting priorities for allocation of health care resources, and
determining the impact of specific interventions. I am involved
in these activities at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
My training at Princeton's
graduate school gave me the skills to work with other public health
professionals on polio, influenza, homicide, firearm-related injuries,
maternal and child health issues, and multiple outbreaks in communities
- all consequential applications of the skills in my field. In fact,
my first statistical analysis in public health was subpoenaed for
a legal investigation! I've had opportunities to work with communities
in China, Spain, Central America, and Europe. My publications now
result from real-world applied health problems, and my review skills
are used to evaluate evidence for community preventive services.
My current emphasis is on establishing a formal outreach for CDC
to students and teachers, using the sciences of statistics and epidemiology
as tools for teaching the scientific method (see our Web site www.cdc.gov/excite).
My goals now are quite
different from what we graduate students contemplated at Princeton
in the midst of our qualifying exams and dissertation preparation.
However, the training that I received and the contacts that I continue
to make are directly related to my time at Princeton. Please let
your readership know that this field of scientific inquiry is an
absolutely fantastic career outside academia!
Donna F. Stroup *80
Maria LoBiondo's article
on graduate student life confuses two separate issues. The real
one is the "step-child" status of the Graduate School
and its students. This is largely a function of Princeton's nearly
3:1 undergraduate-to-graduate student ratio and lack of conventional
(and often powerful) professional schools to buttress the Graduate
School. But two successive graduate alumni in the
president's office, the
Frist Campus Center, and the Graduate School's Centennial and its
$100-million campaign have done much to ameliorate the problem.
The article's second
concern - the lack of graduate interaction with undergraduates -
is a non-issue. Graduate students are separated from undergrads
by age, experience, often marital status and nationality, definitely
by career goals and professionalism, and desire. They have already
experienced college life and have chosen to move beyond it to advanced,
no-nonsense training for academic or research careers. If they want
to interact with undergrads, it's not as social chums but as older
mentors and role models of the intellectual life - as apprentice
professors, research directors, or assistant administrators. And
when they seek recreation from the hard grind of graduate study,
they understandably gravitate to graduate peers.
Ms. LoBiondo suggests
that the location of the Graduate College on the golf course underlies
both "problems." While Wilson was undoubtedly right about
the need for intellectual "coordination" in his own day,
the distance of the Graduate College has since shrunk as the campus
expanded and new streets and roads were built. Moreover, an overwhelming
majority of the graduate alumni who answered a questionnaire I devised
(to inform a chapter in a book on the history of the Graduate School)
think that neither the physical nor emotional distance was a problem;
indeed, most regard it as an asset that allowed them to create a
distinctive identity separate from the undergraduates.
It is very kind of you
to award me a Princeton graduate degree by including me in your
list of "Notable Alumni" and I would accept with pleasure,
except for the fact that it might appear ungrateful. Harvard was
kind enough to award me a medal for being a notable alumnus of their
graduate school, and it isn't fair to "double-dip." I'm
afraid they have got it right, at least as far as the alumnus bit
goes. I hope you will let us in on the secret of who was the 101st,
with an extra spot now available?
I was rather overwhelmed
but very proud to find my name and picture on the list of 100 notable
graduate alumni of Princeton.
But I was especially
happy to see the recognition for my friend Lloyd Axworthy *72 -
a great person, a great mind, and a great foreign minister. He deserves
all the recognition possible for his work. He and so many other
Princeton graduate alumni (David Dodge *72, Bill Thorsell *72, George
Fallis *75, and many others) have built Canada in my generation
and contributed to the world in ways the Princeton experience inspired
Lorna Marsden *72
I noticed some omissions
from your list of notable alumni of the Graduate School. Under the
category of academics, researchers, and inventors, you might have
included three of the most influential philosophers of the last
half-century: John Rawls '43 *50 and Robert Nozick *63 of Harvard
and Jerry Fodor *60, formerly of M.I.T., and currently at Rutgers.
Samuel G. Wong *84
It's gratifying to be
considered one of the Graduate School's Notable 100!
I want to suggest another
name: Dr Eugene M. Shoemaker *60. He was one of the fundamentally
important earth scientists in the 20th century and a great figure
in NASA and the history of space exploration.
Gene was the first to
show that giant buried meteoritic impact craters exist in places
all over the earth - his work led straight to the Alvarez theory
that an impact 65 million years ago killed the dinosaurs. Later,
his discovery (with wife Carolyn and colleague David Levy) of Comet
Shoemaker-Levy, which hit Jupiter spectacularly in 1995, made him
famous and demonstrated in a vivid way the extreme power of planetary
impacts. Gene was also principal investigator for lunar geology
during the NASA Apollo Moon missions, and was also principal investigator
of some of the unmanned NASA missions to the Moon. His ashes were
scattered on the Moon by a NASA spacecraft (he's the only person
buried on the Moon), and NASA recently named its asteroid spacecraft
mission the NEAR
Shoemaker mission, in honor of him.
Richard Preston *83
I have a Princeton Ph.D.
and served as president of Oberlin College from 1970-74. Like John
Toll, I was a student of John A. Wheeler. I believe there's one
other student of Wheeler's who became a college or university president,
but I'm not sure. Could it be Ken Ford *53?
Robert W. Fuller *61
My name was omitted as
one of the alumni who is a college or university president. Since
1990 I have served as president of Herbert H. Lehman College of
the City University of New York.
Ricardo R. Fernandez
Dr. Jack W. Peltason
*47 has had a brilliant career as a university president. First
as chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(1967-77); president of the American Council on Education (1977-84);
chancellor of the University of California Irvine (1984-92); and
president of the Univer-sity of California system (1992-95).
As a graduate student
he was a Procter fellow, and he is also a Madison Medalist. Peltason
has coauthored the most widely used college text on American government.
He is the author of a volume on the Constitution.
Bill Dowey *48
How could you leave Alfred
F. Hurley *61 off your list of presidents of colleges and universities?
He has been an outstanding president of the University of North
Texas for some 15 years and has done a remarkable job of raising
the stature of the institution from that of a small regional college
to that of a large, first-class university. Furthermore, three of
his children are alumni of Princeton who have made their own significant
marks in the world.
Eugene F. Corrigan '47
I suggest you include
Anderson Todd '43 *49, who, following in the path of noted architect
Jean Labatut, has done more for the profession of architecture than
any Princetonian through his years of teaching at Rice University.
Through his rare gifts as a teacher he has turned out more qualified
professionals than all other graduates in the field combined.
Denis Beatty '42 *49
San Francisco, Calif.
I found most interesting
the list of 100 notable alumni of the Graduate School. Where else
would you find a famous member of the corporate world whose surname
is a perfect acronym for his career? I refer, of course, to Lee
Iacocca (I Am Chairman Of Chrysler Corporation of America).
Rem Myers '37