Notebook: March 20, 1996
Several hundred Princetonians gathered in Alexander Hall to officially kick off the university's 250th anniversary celebration on February 23. Decked out in orange and black, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall was filled to capacity with luminaries, alumni, students, professors, and staff, who commemorated Princeton's past, looked to its future, and renewed its commitment to serve the nation.
Each of the guests gave a five-minute presentation. The nine scholars, said Gutmann, have published work on the problems and prospects of American democracy, including the importance of making democracy more deliberative; reversing the erosion of family life, community life, and trust in government; and improving race relations.
The immediate purpose of the dinner conversation, said Gutmann, was to prepare Clinton for the State of the Union address (delivered January 23). "The long-term purpose," she said, "was thinking broadly about the condition of American democracy and deciding how best to move the country forward."
Gutmann is a political philosopher with two principal interests: democracy and education. In accepting the invitation to dinner, she was asked to fax a chapter of her recent book, Democracy and Disagreement, which she coauthored with former politics professor Dennis Thompson. It will be published by Harvard University Press later this year.
Gutmann likened the dinner to a long preceptorial, led by the President. "At one point, to our surprise, he took on the persona of Newt Gingrich. It was a remarkably respectful rendition of Speaker Gingrich's position that the problem plaguing the United States is big government, and the responsibility of public officials in Washington is to get rid of big government. The President then turned to us, and asked: 'How do you answer this?' . . . It was clear that he had considerable respect for this position."
In his State of the Union address, Clinton said the era of big government is over. But he also said he favored more funding for education and more police in local communities, and not cutting back on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
"So you might ask," said Gutmann, " 'Doesn't that sound like big government?' He said in effect, 'No, what most Americans really mean by big government is big bureaucratic government that is not responsive to the needs of the people. All of these programs have a local, a community dimension.' "
This story was adapted from one written by Jacquelyn Savani for the Princeton Weekly Bulletin.
Throughout his speech, "Rethinking America's Leadership," Bradley kept reiterating his vision for the United States as a "pluralistic democracy with a growing economy that takes everybody, not just the privileged few, but everybody to the higher ground." America needs to do a lot to realize this goal, said Bradley.
Politicians, he said, have to avoid "political speak" and instead must talk to "real people . . . particularly those who are in economic stress." The media has to do more than stoop to "the lowest common denominator" and become less invasive in covering the private lives of politicians. And people, he added, "have to get off the sofa and stop looking at politics as a spectator sport in which they are entertained, and get involved."
Although he's leaving the Senate after 18 years representing New Jersey, Bradley said he's not giving up public life. He plans to work on campaign-finance reform, which he believes can't happen in Washington. He also wants to address wage stagnation in the middle class. Part of the solution, he said, lies in creating enough jobs for those workers who are displaced as a result of new information technology.
Bradley called public service "a noble profession, notwithstanding the problems it has today," and the life of a U.S. senator "tremendously fulfilling." He urged students to consider public service as a career. "Politics," he said, "is the only way we can reconcile great differences and move our collective humanity one inch forward." In addition to public service and politics, he added, "it's important to excel at being human," by which he meant giving other people a part of one's life.
Leadership, said Bradley, "isn't something done to you. . . . It's what unlocks the potential of every citizen" and "calls people to task." A good leader, he added, can alter the national self-perception of what's possible.
William W. Fortenbaugh '58, the vice-chairman of the Friends of Princeton Wrestling, believes the university's partial reversal of its 1993 decision is due at least in part to the announcement of this debate. "We were forced to play the card we still hadn't played-the feminist card," he said.
The discussion centered on the role in the wrestling decision of Title IX, a 1972 federal law that requires universities to provide equal opportunities for both sexes in athletics. The law was intended to expand opportunities for women, but some universities have chosen to achieve gender parity by cutting men's sports. Doing this, argued Paglia and Kern, doesn't help female athletes. "Women's liberation cannot be achieved upon the smoking ruins of men's tradition," said Paglia. Wrestling was good for Princeton, she said, because of its long tradition and national popularity and because (unlike football) it is an economical sport. She suggested that to address its financial problems, Princeton instead "fire some deans."
Paolella and Ricks said the university's efforts to balance its budget forced a cut in athletics and that Title IX requirements necessitated cutting a men's sport rather than a women's. They argued that wrestling didn't deserve special treatment simply because it's been around for a long time and asserted that wrestling's worth to the university didn't depend on its varsity status. By evening's end, the only loser seemed to be the Princeton administration, which was criticized by both sides for its handling of the affair. Paglia delighted the audience with her enthusiastic jabs, labeling administrators as "corrupt bureaucrats," "Bolsheviks," and "the lackeys and whipping boys of the feminist establishment."
During a half-hour question-and-answer session, several spectators also managed to have their say. Former Princeton wrestler Eric R. Lubell '76 dismissed the role of gender equity and money in the wrestling decision, asserting that the cuts were the result of former athletic director Robert J. Myslik '61's "personal bias." And Hannah Schein '96 wondered if the university would have accepted the $2.3 million in pledges the Friends offered to the university to endow the wrestling program if they had also offered to endow a women's sport. Her question wasn't answered by either debate team, but H. Clay McEldowney '69, chairman of the Friends, told paw that it "would be happy to fund a women's wrestling team as an emerging NCAA sport."
-Paul Hagar '91
Oberdorfer and West Honored
Princetonians flock to 81st Alumni Day, attend lectures on racism and journalism
Some two thousand alumni and friends descended on campus for the university's 81st annual Alumni Day on February 24. They enjoyed an unseasonably warm and sunny day as well as lectures, presentations, and receptions.
President Shapiro announced initiatives in undergraduate teaching which he hopes will "increase our capacity for innovation, effectiveness, and excellence." He has set a goal of raising $50 million to endow the initiatives and has already received $9.5 million in gifts for them. The Presidential Teaching Initiatives consist of three parts: a 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education, endowed at $25 million; four 250th Anniversary Visiting Professorships for Distinguished Teaching, endowed at a total of $12 million; and $13 million to support positions, programs, equipment, and space at the Center for Teaching and Learning, which will be associated with the new campus center.
Richard O. Scribner '58, the chairman of the national Annual Giving committee, reported on the progress of this year's AG effort and the five-year Anniversary Campaign. To date, AG has raised $12.7 million from 27 percent of alumni toward a June 30 goal of $23 million and 58 percent participation. Scribner said the university has raised more than $240 million of the $750 million goal in capital and AG funds for the five-year campaign. The five-year goal for AG, he noted, is $125 million and 60 percent participation.
Scribner; Shapiro; Luther T. Munford '71, the chairman of the executive committee of the Alumni Council; and Robert H. Rawson, Jr. '66, the chairman of the trustee executive committee, presented awards to students and alumni.
The M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the university's highest general award for undergraduates, was shared by Derek C. Kilmer '96 and Daniel K. Walter '96. The two will split an amount equal to this year's tuition ($20,960). They were selected as the seniors who most clearly manifested "excellence in scholarship, character, and effective leadership in the best interests of Princeton."
A Marshall scholar and vice-president of the senior class, Kilmer has served as a class officer each year he has been at Princeton. He was secretary of the Princeton College Democrats for three years and is a member of the undergraduate honor committee. A Woodrow Wilson School major, Kilmer has been an Urban Action coordinator and a participant in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and he has played string bass for the Princeton University Players.
An aspiring public-policy analyst, he has used his summers to gain experience outside the classroom by working for U.S. Representative Al Swift and in the White House Office of Domestic Policy. His senior thesis deals with the sociological impact of the collapse of the timber industry, the lifeblood of his hometown, Port Angeles, Washington. Kilmer wants to explore economic alternatives that could provide new jobs for its residents. He plans to use his Marshall scholarship to pursue the broader question of what happens to communities when an economic engine is lost and how they can recover.
Walter, a physics major, has a nearly perfect grade-point average of 4.123, having earned all A's in his Princeton career with the exception of one B+. In 1995 he was a tutor in Princeton's first Summer Scholars program, which gives additional instruction in math and physics to incoming freshmen. This was a natural outgrowth of the tutoring he has also provided to fellow undergraduates during his years at Princeton.
Walter, who hopes to pursue a PhD in physics, worked for two summers as a researcher in condensed-matter physics at Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois. He then spent part of 1995 working in Berlin, Germany, in the basic-research division of Siemens, a major industrial firm. His thesis in atomic physics applies quantum mechanics to spin dynamics in alkaline metal noble-gas systems.
In accepting the award, he thanked his parents for "carrying him" through most of his life and alumni for the financial aid that supported his education.
The Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship was awarded to Nikita Alexandrovich Nekrassov, a graduate student in the physics department. He was unable to attend the ceremony, and his mentor, Professor of Physics Alexander M. Polyakov, accepted the award on his behalf. The university gives the prize to the graduate student "who has evinced the highest scholarly excellence," in the judgment of the faculty. The fellowship funds the final year of graduate study.
Nekrassov is a theoretical physicist working on string theory-a description of the basic structure of matter and its interactions. In particular, his work focuses on symmetries of string theory and models that describe a four-dimensional world. A 1995 graduate of the Moscow Physical Technical Institute, Nekrassov expects to complete and defend his dissertation this year, at the age of 23. After Princeton, he will join the Society of Fellows at Harvard.
The S. Barksdale Penick, Jr. '25 Award went to the alumni schools committee of the Princeton Club of Philadelphia, chaired by Duncan W. Van Dusen '58. The prize recognizes the regional group that has "most effectively realized the primary goals of Alumni Schools Committee work" in recruiting students and representing Princeton to its local community.
The Alumni Council Award for Community Service honored the Princeton Club of New York for establishing The Princeton Service Project, which expects to involve 250 alumni and provide 2,500 hours of community service by Charter Week (October 21-27). As of December 31, about 200 alumni volunteers had provided more than 1,100 hours of service. The Alumni Council established the award three years ago to "recognize outstanding contributions by groups of Princetonians in their efforts to address critical social, economic, and environmental needs."
The Harold H. Helm '20 Award for "sustained and exemplary performance" to AG was given to John J. Loose '70 and Charles E. P. Wood '70. Loose served as class agent and Wood as special-gifts chair for their 25th reunion, which raised more than $4 million, a new all-time record for any class.
The Class of 1926 Trophy was awarded to the class of 1970, led by Loose and Wood, for the largest single amount raised in last year's AG campaign.
The Jerry Horton '42 Award for an outstanding regional committee that has "expanded the knowledge and awareness of Annual Giving" was presented to the AG committee of New Canaan, Connecticut, chaired by Thomas R. Fisher '65. Last year its participation topped 66 percent.