September 27, 2006: From the Editor
On a crisp fall day five years ago this week, Shirley Tilghman was installed as Princeton’s 19th president. It was the public celebration of an appointment that had taken effect the previous June, making headlines around the globe. But new headlines came to dominate the world’s media that autumn, of course, and Tilghman revised her celebratory address to capture the somber time.
She spoke about the role of universities during a time of war on terrorism, and of a university’s participation in the “national debate we are sure to have.” She called on Princetonians to preserve the freedom to “pursue ideas that conflict with what we believe or what we would like to believe,” and to protect the ability to pursue research that may have no immediate or apparent applications.
Some of the issues she noted then have come under increasing scrutiny in the last five years: funding for basic research, freedom of expression, and the value of higher education as a democratizing institution, open to all. In an interview beginning on page 22, Tilghman speaks about her first five years as president and the issues she considers most important. We continue the discussion with comments from several alumni who are college presidents themselves, at a wide range of institutions. On the last page, still another president, John Waterbury ’61, discusses challenges of a different sort: running a university in a place battered by war. Waterbury, an emeritus professor at Princeton, heads the American University of Beirut.
With this issue, the first of the new academic year, PAW introduces a few additions and changes to our magazine and online coverage. As the arts become more important on campus, we hope to give them more attention in our pages, and regularly will supplement our coverage of alumni and faculty authors with news of alumni and campus artists. It’s clear that a tremendous wealth of material is being produced by alumni artists — and equally certain that we can only scratch the surface with our coverage.
At PAW Online you will find a new blog created by associate editor Brett Tomlinson, (link will be active after issue date). Each Wednesday, the blog will help the Weekly live up to its name by providing a preview of weekend sporting events, updates from the campus, and alumni news. If you have suggestions, please e-mail Tomlinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we are happy to announce that Gregg Lange ’70, chairman of the Alumni Council’s Princetoniana Committee, takes over the “Under the Ivy” column from former PAW editor Jane Chapman Martin ’89, who is moving on to other writing projects. We will miss the graceful way she has brought Princeton history to life. Lange’s first column can be viewed at www.princeton.edu/paw.