September 12, 2001: Letters
Letter Box Online
PAW welcomes letters. We may edit them for length, accuracy, clarity, and civility. Our address: Princeton Alumni Weekly, 194 Nassau St., Suite 38, Princeton, NJ 08542 (email@example.com).
I was distressed to read that
Shirley Tilghman was named Princetons 19th president. My distress
came not just from the fact that a female president is out of place with
the lengthy male traditions of the university, but primarily from several
other factors. After all, a qualified, ethical female should make a qualified,
ethical president. And that is what everyone should want. It is certainly
what I want.
Shirley Tilghman is not a native
U.S. citizen. She was not educated in the U.S. Furthermore, she is not
a graduate of Princeton and thus cannot ever fully comprehend the student
experience at Princeton something that is essential to the qualifications
of a Princeton University president. Being a professor is not the same
as being a student.
I have read the background
information on Shirley Tilghman and fail to find anything that qualifies
her as a candidate for president of Princeton. She may be an outstanding
researcher and/or professor, but being a professor does not qualify her
for this office. I know of many graduates of Princeton who are much more
qualified than she is, and they are not qualified for this position either.
However, the most disturbing
thing about her appointment is the fact that she was a member of the original
search committee. It seems at the least to be unethical for a committee
that was formed to find qualified candidates for some position to recommend
one of its members as a candidate for that position. And if the member
who was recommended is an ethical individual, that individual should decline
the recommendation, not resign from the committee in order to be a candidate.
Stephen R. Dartt 72
I believe that, since Princeton
is an institution devoted to undergraduate education, it would have been
most fitting for the next university president to have been an undergraduate
alum. At the very minimum, the president should hold a Princeton degree.
The last time Harvard had a non-Harvard educated president was 1672. Apparently
the Harvard trustees think more highly of their university than the Princeton
trustees think of ours.
President Tilghmans personal
life, and why she and her husband split up when their children
were infants, is certainly none of my business. But to headline that unfortunate
event in your Notebook story June 6 as a point of pride and evidence of
her accomplishment is, in my opinion, wrongheaded and screwy. When Shapiro
became president, I do not recall PAW praising him in its headline for
making his marriage and family work.
Donald W. Fish, Jr. 90
Why did I not see a quiz in
PAW regarding Shirley Tilghman?
Ira Kaplan 83
I read with interest Peter
Moyers 00s letter in the July 4 PAW regretting the trustees
choice of Shirley M. Tilghman as Princetons 19th president because
she lacks experience as a Princeton undergraduate. Amazing, I thought
on first glance at his class numerals, that theres still someone
living from the Class of 1900! Then I realized that Mr. Moyers had graduated
barely a year ago.
None of Princetons first
six presidents was a graduate of it. The first to claim that distinction
was Samuel Stanhope Smith 1773, who took office in 1795. Six of the 12
presidents who followed him were alumni of the college and three of the
graduate school (one, Robert F. Goheen 40 *48, had degrees from
both). Since the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson 1879, in 1902, only three
of Princetons seven presidents have been undergraduate alumni. Among
those lacking a degree from the college was the venerated Harold Willis
Dodds *14, who served from 1933 to 1957.
With the exception of Harold
T. Shapiro *64 (19882001), every Princeton president of the last
113 years eight in all has come from the faculty, so has
entered office thoroughly familiar with Princetons culture, including
(albeit at second hand) its undergraduate culture. By no means is faculty
experience an essential criterion for choosing a president, but its
probably at least as important as having an apostrophe after ones
J. I. Merritt 66
My family and family friends
were just tickled to see a whole page dedicated to my grandpa John Sease
41 (Snapshot, July 4). The photo spurred Nicholas Apostolakis 55
to contact me regarding my other grandfather, Dimitrios Monoyios, a professor
at Athens College in Greece. As it turns out, my grand-father was a great
source of support for Mr. Apostolakis while he adjusted to life at Princeton,
so it was good to establish a connection with him. Neither my father nor
I were aware that Mr. Apostolakis had known my grandfather at all.
The picture of our dogs was
also great (page 27, top, July 4). Theyve been a regular fixture
at the P-rade since I arrived at Princeton in 1997. This year, the oldest
dog, who is 13, was having a little trouble walking and was dragging behind
. . . that is, until we hit the classes of the 1980s! Suddenly, the sides
were lined with little kids who were ooh-ing and ahhh-ing and petting
her as she walked by. She perked up right away as if to say, HEY,
NOW! I kind of like this!
Kalliopi Monoyios 00
Your reunion edition is the
best I have ever seen! Makes me wish that I had attended! Keep up the
Frank Schaffer 45
Your issue of June 6 was one
of the best ever. I am referring to the cover story From Thesis
to Reality: the Scholarly Effort.
I was particularly impressed
that most of the six seniors mentioned were concerned with issues dealing
with the disadvantaged or ill people who are too often forgotten
and neglected by society.
No doubt the choice of their
work was the result of each ones own interest possibly encouraged
by an adviser. In any case, they are all to be commended.
I am certain that there are
many other Princeton students who are similarly involved with the disadvantaged
but could not be included because of lack of space.
Congratulations to PAW, Princeton
University, and most of all to the involved students.
Forrest C. Eggleston 42
Re: the senior thesis. Sunday
following this years reunions, I was driving south on Interstate
95 and stopped at a rest area. As I sat at a table, two delightful young
gals seated nearby noticed I was still wearing my Class of 36 name
tag button, and motioned to me. They were in the Class of 91, returning
from their 10th reunion. In the ensuing conversation, I asked them to
tell me about their senior theses, and I reported on mine. Unfortunately,
my atrophied ears failed to record their names.
Later, as I was returning my
rental car at the Philadelphia airport, Christopher Beiswenger 93
noted the same button and helped carry some baggage with which I was struggling.
Again there was an exchange of senior theses subject matter.
Sharing these encounters, covering
a 65-year time span, is an exhilarating memory for this antique Tiger.
John Paul Jones 36
I am writing to retract my
letter to the editor published in the October 27, 1993 issue, apologize,
and attempt to rectify the situation. In my 1993 letter, I defended the
Boy Scouts policy of excluding gay scout leaders (I did not realize
they also banned gay children), and attacked Princetons cutoff of
funding to the Boy Scouts. Since the time it was published, Ive
had second thoughts about my letter, because it didnt reflect the
mixed feelings I had, even then, about the Boy Scouts anti-gay policy.
Upon re-reading my 1993 submission,
I was shocked at how bigoted and holier-than-thou my words
sound now. I apologize to those I must have offended when I wrote, Princeton
may tolerate immorality in the name of political correctness, but the
Boy Scouts strive to set a higher standard. In my defense, in 1993
I was a recent convert to the Mormon Church, which bans homosexuals, and
had just been appointed by my bishop as a Boy Scout leader. I was writing
as a good Mormon, repeating Church terminology (immorality,
to Mormons, is a sexual term referring to any act outside marriage, including
As I pointed out in my 1993
letter, the Mormon Church is by far the largest sponsor of the Boy Scouts.
They threaten that if the Scouts accept homosexuals, they will withdraw
all support, leading to the collapse of the Boy Scouts. I now disagree
with my Churchs doctrine that homosexuality is immoral, as well
as its threat to destroy scouting, and my 1993 letter compels me to state
Coincidentally, as I was writing
this letter today, 60 Minutes came on with a segment about the Boy Scouts
anti-gay policy. It told of a town where 60 parents from eight scout troops
wrote a letter to Boy Scout headquarters saying that if a qualified gay
man applied as a scoutmaster, they would accept him. The Boy Scouts of
America, in another heavy-handed punishment of free speech, sent letters
expelling all those troops from scouting, giving the boys in that town
no place to go. The letters from Scout headquarters said they had to comply
with the wishes of their religious sponsors, specifically mentioning my
The Supreme Court may have
narrowly ruled that the Boy Scouts have the legal right to discriminate
against gays, but that does not make such discrimination morally right.
David L. Harten 84
This is to heartily endorse
the excellent letter from Dennis Beatty 42 *49 (April 18) suggesting
the inclusion of architect and professor Anderson Todd 43 *49 in
your list of notable Princeton alumni. I know that I join thousands of
fortunate architects who cannot imagine their lives without his influence.
Nicholas D. Davis *57
The list of omissions grows
longer. I was president of Salem College (North Carolina) from 19821990.
Thomas V. Litzenburg, Jr. *65
I lived in the Graduate College
while earning a masters of public affairs degree at the Woodrow
Wilson School from 197678. The Wilson School was a wonderful place
for graduate students to learn, and its faculty and administration did
a superb job of helping its graduate students form a strong identity within
the Princeton community.
Sadly, the university did not
seem to share the Wilson Schools enthusiasm for graduate students.
As a graduate student, I felt unrecognized at best and, more frequently,
isolated and overlooked within the larger Princeton family. Sports, clubs,
social life, and campus activities focused almost exclusively on the undergraduate
population. The relatively remote location and austere character of the
Graduate College didnt help matters, either. Finally, I received
the distinct impression (how, I cant say) that undergrads perceived
grad students as, well, oddities people you really wouldnt
want to bring to your eating club.
Having since received a second
graduate degree from Penn, I can state with authority that at least one
other Ivy League school maintains more active contact with its graduate
students than does Princeton. I have interviewed high school seniors for
admission to Penn and been an active member of my local alumni association.
By contrast, Princeton did not invite me to join my local alumni club
until 22 years after I graduated (an invitation that I accepted), and
I have yet to be asked to participate in screening potential students
in my area.
While justifiable pride was
and is taken in Princetons standing as a undergraduate institution,
it would enhance Princetons stature to more fully integrate graduate
students into the Princeton family.
Leanne Tobias *78
I am delighted to discover
that I can rendezvous with PAW online. Now, if I can only find the time
to look up the many things that seem likely to be interesting! But that
is my objection to all publication of a journal on the www: to rummage
through even one good one is time-consuming in the extreme. This is not
a justification for reducing journals to squibs. Yet is there some other
Harvey Kerpneck *56
Princeton may have poorly prepared
some of us for the 2000 election. In the May 16 PAW, a classmate of mine
extols his and other Nader voters right to vote for a candidate
to our liking and asks, Are we less worthy of democracy than
other voters? Undergraduates of my era were spoiled in university
elections by a system that allowed voters to rank candidates in order
of preference. Single transferable vote, I think it was called.
Alumni trustee ballots also use preference ranking. Current proposals
for U.S. election reform speak of instant runoff voting, but
for now each American can only vote for one presidential candidate at
Foreign democracies are often
led by coalition governments formed when no party wins a majority of seats
in parliament. Although the U.S. has no formal structural equivalent of
the parliamentary system, modern media offer a functional analog to seats
in parliament: percentage points in the polls. To form a coalition
government in the U.S., you must use your percentage points before
an election. Because no partys candidate had a majority in the polls
last year, Ralph Nader 55 could have used his pivotal standing in
the polls to negotiate policy or appointment commitments from either major
party (if he really found them as similar as Tweedledum and Tweedledee).
In return, as a strong party leader, he probably could have delivered
a truly decisive margin of victory to Bush or Gore.
David Holtzman 82
Regarding the Florida election
fiasco and the accompanying political rhetoric, the facts indicate that
the presidential election resulted in a tie, in that the margin-of-victory
was well within the margin-of-error. This means that, regardless of which
candidate was declared winner, 50 percent of the voters were disenfranchised.
It seems to me that the only equitable solution would have been to exclude
the Florida State electoral vote (or to split it in two, rendering the
same result). Unfortunately, the Constitution does not provide for such
Charles Canfield Brown 53
I would have preferred Gore
From the beginning, Bush has
made it very clear that he would do everything he could to put more wealth
and power in the hands of the very wealthy who run our multinational corporations,
and if it costs the health of our planet, so be it. Combine this with
religious fundamentalism and you have a real winner.
Gore would have regulated this
situation a little, but he would not have dealt with the fundamental problem.
This is an old fight, and most
Princetonians have followed Madison in trying to structure this nation
for the benefit of the opulent. However, my soul thrills to Jeffersons
words that all humans are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable
rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
David Jenkins 62
Several readers have complained
about votes for Ralph Nader taking away from a potential Gore victory,
and Nader voters tend to respond that they ought to be able to vote for
the candidate they prefer.
Of course, it would weaken
the two-party system by encouraging much more third-party voting without
fear of ballot splitting, thus the major parties would be expected to
oppose such a thing quite strongly.
Dan Krimm 78
In George Showman 99s
July 4 letter indicting Princetons recruiting of student-athletes,
and in asserting the general incompatibility of study and athletics, he
gives as an example of a positive athletic experience on campus
the Princeton Ultimate Frisbee team, Clockwork Orange. Mr. Showman characterizes
the team as made up of kids who couldnt make it in other sports,
and who hadnt come to Princeton to play ultimate, but had come together
to enjoy the pleasures and lessons of team sports, while still retaining
their cultured, interesting side. According to Showman, team
members also had their priorities straight: When school work got serious,
they would let their sport fall by the wayside.
I am currently the head captain
of Clockwork Orange, and I can say that Mr. Showmans notion of Clockwork
ultimate as a paradisiacal sort of bookish mans hobby-sport is completely
inaccurate. First, it is not true that ultimate players are kids who werent
good enough to play other sports. Most of our players played varsity sports
in high school, and a few of them were on junior varsity squads here at
Princeton. Ultimate at the college and club level is a hard-played, fast-paced,
physically demanding sport. It requires you to be in excellent practice
and shape. During the spring, Clockwork has regular conditioning sessions
in addition to our regular thrice a week practices. Second, it is not
true that nobody ever came to Princeton to play ultimate. Ultimate was
not the only reason I came here, but it was one of them, and I am not
the only person on the team who factored in Princetons ultimate
team when I applied and chose to come here. Third, it is not true that
we drop ultimate like a brick the second school work intensifies. Clockwork,
as you might have inferred by this point, is made up of a hard-working,
competitive, committed group of guys who really enjoy ultimate and, through
that work and commitment, aim to achieve team success. The lack of commitment
that Mr. Showman extols as a virtue is absolutely revolting to me, and
to everyone on the team who works hard and makes sacrifices for its benefit.
When work intensifies, members of Clockwork occasionally miss a practice
or two. Generally, they deal, work harder, and manage their time all the
better (just like having a job in college makes one do).
Jacob Dee GS
What a shame George Showman
99 failed to learn that one of Princetons core values is a
commitment to excellence in all fields of endeavor.
Lets hope young George
will mature, overcome his fears, and come to appreciate that every communitys
sustainability is dependent upon people with diverse talents and backgrounds.
Jim Petrucci 86
I take offense at George Showmans
99 letter. Mr. Showman claims that the presence of recruited athletes
detracted considerably from his Princeton experience and that an outstanding
academic and an outstanding varsity athletic experience are mutually exclusive.
The gross generalizations in his letter do a disservice to all student-athletes.
Because I was a graduate student
at Princeton, I was not able to compete on Princetons varsity athletic
teams. However, I was a volunteer assistant mens track and cross-country
coach from 199499. During that time I saw many dedicated student-athletes
who had success both in the classroom and on the track. They include Scott
Anderson 96, an All-America miler whose academic work was such that
the NCAA awarded him a graduate fellowship to attend the University of
Chicago business school this fall. Since graduating, Anderson has run
professionally, including in the Olympic Trials, while working as an economist
at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.
Craig Anne Lake 95 was
another successful student-athlete I knew. Lake now coaches track and
cross-country at Columbia University. In her short tenure, Columbias
womens teams have gone from last-place finishers to contenders at
the Heptagonal Champion-ships. During that time, she earned a masters
from Columbia University.
Peter Kimball 98 was
a Heptagonals champion in the 800 meters while at Princeton pursuing an
economics degree. After graduation, he ran track professionally while
working for the Brookings Institution. He then started his own company
involved in economic data collection and dissemination.
These three are a few of a
large number of successful student-athletes I met at Princeton. In each
case, their academic and athletic success continued beyond the time they
spent at Princeton.
Jason Rhodes *99
Concerning the letter by R.
Wardell Loveland (July 4), I think it is unfortunate that he trivialized
an important issue, i.e., the academic performance of student-athletes,
with biting sarcasm. I will add, however, that in addition to the book
The Game of Life by William Bowen and James Shulman, a report by the Knight
Commission appeared recently that also addresses the issue of academic
performance, as well as the diversion of scarce resources (money) to athletics
that could be used for more pressing academic needs. Thus, I think the
impact of intercollegiate athletics on academic programs continues to
receive serious attention.
W. E. Schiesser *60
My local newspapers rarely
show any information about the Ivy League. Even though it takes a couple
of weeks to get here, I enjoy keeping up to date with the happenings at
Princeton through PAW. One comment: Since most graduates live too far
from Princeton to attend local events, the athletic scores are much more
of interest than the schedules. No matter how late it is, I am more interested
in the soccer score against Harvard, or the lacrosse score against Johns
Hopkins than in a schedule of events I cant attend.
Walt Culin 52
I enjoyed very much your July 4 edition with its coverage of Reunions
and the mens NCAA lacrosse championship, I was quite disturbed to
see nary a mention of the mens heavyweight crew recent Eastern Sprints
champion-ship and subsequent second-place finish to California in the
national champion-ships, even in your Sports Shorts.
Rowing is the biggest intercollegiate
sport at Princeton with men and women competing in both heavyweight and
lightweight programs against the best programs in the country. Many of
these, like the University of California, provide athletic scholarships
to their athletes and also recruit athletes from overseas Olympic programs.
Yet the rowing program at Princeton continues to perform at a level of
excellence that is unsurpassed by any other at Princeton and perhaps only
matched by our excellent mens lacrosse team. There is no more demanding
sport, both physically and mentally, than rowing at the elite level. A
little recognition of the results of the great efforts made by Princetons
oarsmen and oarswomen would be most welcome.
John G. Reeve 70
I too was disappointed to find
that Princeton University apparently sold my name to a junk mailer in
support of another of those ubiquitous letters promoting superfluous credit
cards. This solicitation comes with Princeton University showing
on the front and back of the envelope. What a class act! I suggest that
everyone who gets this do what I did stuff all of the mailing into
the return envelope (including any other random junk at hand) and send
it back so the credit card company has to pay the postage.
Don Tocher 59
I have solved the problem of
the appearance in PAW of soapbox tirades, social criticism, and
self-indulgence, of emotional, close-minded, and overly simplistic
political opinions, and in general of letters that clearly
belong somewhere else (Letters, May 16). Obviously an authority
is needed to provide prepublication assessment of any potentially emotive
opinion, before taking the rash step of exposing the entire alumni body
willy-nilly to the possibility of upset. That authority will be: Me.
All alumni are hereby asked
to submit letters to me for rating prior to publication in PAW. Assigned
ratings will serve to warn unwary readers away from items which they may
prefer not to read while eating. The following should cover all eventualities:
G: acceptable for general readers
G-Arc: acceptable for general
readers, except supporters of campus architecture
G-Arc(V): acceptable for general
readers, including supporters of campus architecture, except those who
Adm: critical of admissions
policy in general
Adm-Ath: critical of admissions
Adm-Leg: critical of admissions
Adm-DFWIWA: critical of admissions
re anything different from when I was admitted
PG/Prospective Guidance: do
not read unless and until your child is admitted
R: ridiculous social or political
R(JB): ridiculous opinion re
R(RN): ridiculous opinion re
R-and-R: ridiculous opinion
re a prior writers ridiculous opinion
NC-17: opinion (ridiculous
or otherwise) of the seemliness of a Princeton alumnus editing a soft-sex
magazine, and/or of the coverage of such behavior by PAW, and/or of the
opinions of other alumni re such editing and/or coverage and/or opinions
Letters of appreciation may
be sent to me. Letters of complaint are to be directed to the Alumni Council.
Brian Zack 72
There is a very good possibility
that the lonely stringer in the July 4 Archives photo (above) is a 50-years
younger me. I am sure it is not one of my Press Club brethren in the classes
of 1951, 52, or 53, and my wife believes the ears are indisputably
mine. Maybe someone from a later class can provide a more positive identification
(and forget the ears).
John B. Lowry 52
I am quite sure that the undergraduate
shown in the Palmer Stadium press box is my classmate James McGlathery
Howard Sussman 58
The photo is of Jim McGlathery
58, who was Press Club president. He would have been active in the
fall of 1954 until the end of 1957. Since he always seemed wise and experienced
to those of us in younger classes, my inclination is to say that the photo
was taken before 1957, but I could easily be wrong.
R. Grant Smith 60
Editors note: All of last years From the Archives photographs have been posted on our Web site, along with all the correspondence received in connection with the images.
I have non-Princeton friends
(Im ashamed to say); and they do ask whether paw is really a weekly.
When I say no, they ask, so why the name? This makes Princeton look silly.
Why not call it Princeton Alumni
World, so that youd still have the acronym, avoiding the jarring
Bart Holland *83
PAW has expanded its Web site to include a feature called Letter Box, where many more letters than can fit in the print magazine are published. Please go to Letter Box to read and respond.