September 12, 2001: Notebook
professor and chair of Princetons classics department, Robert Kaster
teaches every level of Latin and Greek, administrates, and studies life
back when the worlds most famous marble sculptures were new and
still had their extremities.
Though ancient art does interest
him, Kasters main focus is ancient education. Having an education
in antiquity was a tremendous privilege, he says, and teachers
got respect as being the gatekeepers of the elite.
Asked about the benefits of
a classical education in this modern world of Internet commerce and cell
phones, he says, Its a way of learning more stories about
the ways we are human or have been human. And the more we learn about
ourselves, the better off we are. Through my work on education, Ive
gained perspective on our own educational system and how it fits into
our world today. Ive also learned a lot about my own emotions and
interactions with other people.
If what youre looking
for is a tool that will help you immediately achieve material success
in life, then classics would not be a great choice, he says. But
there are aspects of the study that almost anybody can enjoy whether
youre a budding Caesar or a poet.
They arent prerequisites, but Kaster says that a classicist should have some facility for languages, a certain amount of patience especially for doing tedious things like memorizing and a curiosity about people who are different. He says that roughly one of every five classics majors at Princeton goes on to related graduate studies.
By Rob MacKay 89
weeks into her tenure as president, Shirley M. Tilghman in July appointed
Professor of Politics Amy Gutmann to be the universitys second-ranking
officer, making Princeton one of only two major research institutions
to have women in the top two posts, president and provost. A professor
of politics at Princeton since 1976 and the founding director of the universitys
Center for Human Values, Gutmann took over as provost on September 1,
succeeding Jeremiah P. Ostriker, who is now a professor of astronomy and
experimental philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Ostriker will
return to Princeton after his three-year appointment in England. Like
Tilghman, Gutmann holds no degree from Princeton, but she has spent her
entire career at the university.
A political philosopher, Gutmann
earned her A.B. in 1971 from Harvard-Radcliffe College, a masters
degree from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in political science
in 1976 from Harvard. She served as dean of the faculty from 1995 to 1997
and as academic adviser to President Shapiro from 1997 to 1998. She also
has served on a number of university committees, including the budget-setting
Priorities Committee and the Committee of Three, which oversees faculty
appointments and promotions. Gutmann has won the Presidents Distinguished
Teaching Award as well as other scholarly honors.
Tilghman said, My goal
was to appoint a provost who would bring exceptional credentials as a
teacher and scholar, particularly in the humanities or social sciences;
who has a broad and deep understanding of this university; and who has
demonstrated skills as a senior administrator.
When Gutmann stepped down from
the deanship of the faculty four years ago, she wanted to return to teaching
and research. But now, she says, my obligations have changed
she recently completed the draft of her latest book, about identity
politics in democracies, and, she says, its time for new leadership
at the Center for Human Values. Im eager to be part of a team
with Shirley and other people. Both the opportunities and the challenges
are irresistible, she says. And she looks forward to making Princeton
even better, more accessible and more innovative in its teaching
and production of knowledge.
Gutmann is married to Michael
W. Doyle, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton,
who is on a sabbatical to serve as assistant secretary-general and special
adviser to the secretary-general at the United Nations. Their daughter,
Abigail Gutmann Doyle, is now a senior at Harvard, majoring in chemistry.
A finalist in Harvards search for its presidency, Gutmann says shes interested in being involved in all the different parts of the university, the nonacademic and the academic. I really like working with lots of people collaboratively.
Photo by Ricardo Barros
At Harvard, Walk was assistant
director of the Harvard Writing Project, an innovative writing-in-the-disciplines
program that assists faculty and graduate students in assigning and responding
to student writing more effectively. She helped departments develop second-level
writing intensive courses, trained graduate student instructors, and wrote
and disseminated pedagogical materials.
She was also a senior preceptor in Harvards Expository Writing Program, for which she recruited, mentored, and trained teachers in the program, developed curricula, maintained the program Web sites, and taught freshman writing. Walk earned her Ph.D. in English literature at the University of California at Berkeley, where she first taught writing, and recently wrote Commenting & Grading: A Guide for College Teachers, which will be published this year.
He was born in Savanna, Illinois,
and attended Beloit College. He earned a doctorate at Yale in 1970 and
joined Princetons faculty as an assistant professor that same year.
He was, above all, a
passionate teacher of the history of science, said his department
colleague Angela Creager. His devotion to his graduate students
was legendary. Always approachable and down to earth, he drew students
to see science and medicine as human enterprises.
Geison wrote two books, The
Private Science of Louis Pasteur and Michael Foster (1995) and The Cambridge
School of Physiology: The Scientific Enterprise in Late Victorian Society
(1978), and edited four more. He also wrote numerous essays, reviews,
At Princeton, Geison was director
of the Program in History of Science from 198086 and was the programs
director of graduate studies for many years. He was associate dean of
the college from 197779, master of the Graduate College from 198285,
and secretary of the Committee on the Course of Study from 197779.
In addition to his many honors, he was a visiting scholar at the Institute
for Advanced Study, a visiting historical scholar at the National Library
of Medicine, and a visiting senior Wellcome Fellow at the Wellcome Institute
for the History of Medicine in London.
A memorial service for Geison is scheduled for October 12 at 1:30 p.m in the University Chapel.
Photo: Princeton communications office
the sixth year in a row, Annual Giving set a record. With 59.4 percent
of alumni contributing, this years total of $36,698,032 was a 2.7
percent increase over last years $35,717,687.
The Class of 1976 raised $5,447,376,
setting a 25th-reunion record as well as contributing the highest amount
of any class in Princetons history. The Class of 1951 also set a
50th-reunion record by raising $3,535,447.
Other classes setting major-reunion
records were the classes of 1936, 1941, 1986, 1991, and 1996.
The unrestricted funds
that Princeton receives through Annual Giving are absolutely critical
to the success of our educational mission, said President Tilghman
in a statement. And the high rate of participation among our alumni
and friends demonstrates a level of confidence and support for which we
are very grateful.
The Class of 1931 had the highest rate of participation, with 92.3 percent. The Class of 1939 had a 91 percent participation, exceeding 90 percent for the 10th consecutive year. The Class of 1963 raised $550,363, setting a record for a non-major reunion class.
Illustration: Steve Veach
Shirley M. Tilghman will be installed as Princetons 19th president on Friday, September 28, in an afternoon ceremony on the front lawn of Nassau Hall. The academic convocation, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. and should last two hours, will include an academic procession, welcoming remarks by university representatives, and an address by President Tilghman. Dinner and dancing will follow later that evening. Tickets are not required, and alumni and their guests are invited to attend all events.
Pictured: At an information fair for graduate students, university employees explain fire-safety rules to incoming international students. (Photo: Frank Wojciechowski)
In August, approximately 115
students traveled overseas to Princeton to begin graduate study. They
may have come from all over the world, but they share a common goal: to
take back a Princeton Ph.D.
Princeton is just like
my dream, said Zhensong Wei, a first-year graduate student in the
mechanical and aerospace engineering department.
I think I will love it
here, said Lucie Medova, a first-year in the Slavic language and
linguistics department who has two masters degrees one in
linguistics and one in Czech language and literature. Like Wei, she was
quite impressed by the Graduate College and Princetons
environment in general.
Simone Piccinin, a first-year
chemistry student from Italy, was also struck by Princetons beauty.
The campus is all green and looks like Cambridge or Oxford,
he said. Then you see the big cars and you know you are in America.
The university offers a variety
of programs to help acclimate international students to campus life. One
of these offerings, the English Language Program, focuses on helping international
students gain fluency in English.
All students in the three-week
English Language Program take an oral proficiency test called SPEAK, a
test based on the Test of Spoken English. Those that pass the test do
not have to take additional English as a Second Language courses during
Jianfeng Zhen, a chemistry
first-year from Hebei, China, is optimistic about ELP. The program
will allow us to communicate with native speakers and become accustomed
to the culture, he said.
The International Center also
helps students learn about American culture by sponsoring events that
encourage intercultural exchange. The noon international lunches at Murray-Dodge
draw many international students together for an hours worth of
chatting practicing English with native speakers and eating
In addition, the International
Film Series, sponsored by the Center for International Graduate Students,
provides cultural variety (and relief from American cinema) as well. This
year, there will be eight movie showings with films from around the world.
At times, seasoned graduate
students help the newcomers adjust to the rigors of academic life as well.
Huilin Gao, a second-year graduate
student in the department of atmospheric science who has been through
the English Language Program, recalled that her first year had been very
hard because of the Chinese/English language barrier.
I think we students from
China have a big challenge. During the first semester, most of my attention
was concentrated on understanding what the professor was copying on the
blackboard. Second semester was much better, she said.
In retrospect, Gao feels very
lucky to have adjusted easily to campus life.
I never felt lonely during
the past year because a lot of my former classmates are in the U.S. now,
she said. She spends most of her meals with Chinese classmates and colleagues,
which gives her an opportunity to relax.
When her friends gather for
meals, they prefer speaking Chinese this makes our English
progress go more slowly.
During the first weeks of school, people form groups based on ethnicity or within their department, said Claude Berrebi, a third-year graduate student in the economics department from Israel. But later on, you make friends that have nothing to do with the first group.
By Regina Tan 00
Regina Tan 00 is a reporter and freelance writer who lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
The Department of Romance Languages
and Literatures has been divided into two separate departments. The two
new departments are French and Italian, and Spanish and Portuguese Languages
The split came after an outside
review committee delivered a very thoughtful and detailed report
confirming that it was the right way to go, said Dean of the Faculty Joseph
Taylor. The original department had lost several faculty members in recent
years, and Taylor said that often the disciplines and interests of the
various segments had not overlapped. There are downsides to the
division, he added, but intellectual benefits could happen.
The faculty members can still collaborate.
Angel G. Loureiro, who came in January to Princeton as a member of the Romance languages department, was asked a few weeks after he arrived if he would chair the new Spanish and Portuguese department and he agreed to take on the additional duties. David Bellos, former chair of Romance languages, heads the Department of French and Italian.
The Board of Trustees approved
last April the tenure promotions of eight assistant professors to the
rank of associate professor. They are Oliver Arnold, in the English department;
Perry Cook, computer science; Angela Creager, history; Elizabeth Gavis,
molecular biology; Laura Landweber, ecology and evolutionary biology;
Giovanni Maggi, economics; Shivaji Lal Sondhi, physics; and Thomas Leisten,
art and archaeology. Suzanne Walker, a lecturer in chemistry, was also
promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure.
The following professors were transferred to emeritus status at the end of the last academic year: Leland Allen, professor of chemistry; Gregory Chow, professor of economics; Richard Falk, professor of politics and international affairs; Fred Greenstein, professor of politics; Norman Itzkowitz, professor of Near Eastern studies; Pierre Piroué, professor of physics; Harold Powers, professor of music; Richard Ullman, professor of international affairs; Walter Wallace, professor of sociology; Peter Westergaard, professor of music; Ying-shih Yu, professor of Chinese studies; and Theodore Ziolkowski, professor of Germanic languages and literatures and comparative literature.
Shaomin *88, the American professor jailed in China in February and accused
of espionage in May, was found guilty at his trial in July. He was expelled
from China shortly thereafter and returned to his Hong Kong City University
teaching post. From there he wrote a short essay about his experience
that was published August 7 in the Wall Street Journal. In the essay,
he wrote, I do not want to be a celebrity because of my ordeal.
Nor do I want to write a book about it. In the greater picture of Chinas
development, my experience is nothing. But I do want to visit China soon
to continue my study of Chinas transition. And it is because of
my optimism about the country that I decided to return to Hong Kong and
continue my work.
The New York Times reported
that math professor Andrew Wiles, famous for proving Fermats Last
Theorem, received a rock-star-like reception at the International Mathematical
Olympiad in Washington, D.C., in July. At the competition, the most prestigious
high school math competition in the world, one contestant acknowledged
that Wiles is a hero among the math community. At the close of the event,
the normally reclusive professor was met with whoops and sustained applause,
said the Times.
Ralph Nader 55, having
recently organized a new political group called Democracy Rising, kicked
off what he hopes to be a multicity tour last August in Portland, Oregon.
There, to a crowd of about 7,500 people, he declared, Our elections
are not for sale! Our democracy is not for sale! Our government is not
for sale! Our children are not for sale! Our environment, not for sale!
According to newspaper reports, this and other future appearances are
intended to energize grassroots activists.
Dan Barry *80, one of PAWs
notable Graduate School alumni (January 24), wrote thanking PAW for the
honor. He added that he would be on the Space Shuttle Discovery in August
on the mission STS-105 and will again carry a parcel from Princeton
to the International Space Station. The STS-105 mission, for which
Barry is mission specialist 2, was to deliver equipment and supplies to
the space station as well as perform two spacewalks.
Charles Seife 93 last spring won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction for his book Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Viking, 2000). Seife, a journalist with Science magazine, was praised for this extremely rigorous and often extremely funny investigation of a number which recounts the history of the human race through its terror of and flirtation with nothingness.