October 10, 2001: From the Editor

It started on the advocates-and-skeptics list. Shortly after the violent attacks on New York and Washington, Bob Alfson ’72, who is also the father of a freshman, posted a message to the TigerNet discussion group explaining how to find alumni business addresses — in particular, World Trade Center addresses — on TigerNet. Greg Cramer ’68 followed his instructions and came up with 81 names, six of whom, he realized, he knew personally. He quickly e-mailed the list to friends and classmates, then posted news of his list to advocates-and-skeptics and another discussion group, princeton-matters. Two dozen people asked him for a copy.

One of those people was Scott Rafferty ’76 *79, who had compiled a similar list of alumni with Pentagon addresses. He and Cramer merged their lists and posted the result — now with 101 names — on princeton-matters. It was not yet noon on September 12, 2001.

As e-mails began to fly, Rafferty took the list one step further. He composed a message: “You don’t know me and I hope that this e-mail is not an intrusion. However, there are a great number of Princeton alumni who are concerned about our colleagues who list work addresses in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. If you get this e-mail and find it appropriate to respond, I’ll make up a list of people accounted for. Our prayers are all with you, your family, and coworkers.” He sent the e-mail to those on the list who had not been located. Those that didn’t have e-mail addresses, he called.

On Thursday, September 13, Rafferty wrote to the list: “As of this morning, there has been an attempt made to contact each alumnus who listed a business in the World Trade Center or Pentagon.” Rafferty himself had done the calling and e-mailing, starting before he went to work in his Los Angeles office. Although he worried briefly when the university raised concerns about privacy to class officers, he decided to persevere. “People were without exception pleased,” he explained later. “This was true even in three phone calls where the news was not good. The families of those missing wanted the Princeton community to know.”

In a dark hour, the outreach of Rafferty and the entire Princeton network shone a little bit of light. “I only wish that it somehow could have brought them all back,” wrote Bob Alfson.

The staff of PAW send our great sympathy to the families and friends of all the victims.


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