Class Notes - November 4, 1998

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Lion in waiting

Students in Wilson College returned to campus after the summer to find two dignified gilt lions gracing the steps leading to the arch connecting 1927 and Clapp halls. Each lion reclines on a plinth bearing the chiseled inscription, "Class of 1879."

The lions are not new to Princeton, however. The venerable beasts were presented to the university by the Class of 1879 upon its graduation. Designed by Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty, the lions flanked the main entrance of Nassau Hall for 32 years.

During the later years of the 19th century, however, orange and black became established as Princeton's colors, and the image of the tiger -- not the lion -- became increasingly identified with the university. Thus, in 1911, the Class of 1879 replaced its lions with the A.P. Proctor bronze tigers that still guard Nassau Hall. The demoted lions were placed, appropriately, on the steps of 1879 Hall, facing Washington Road and Prospect Street.

There they remained for approximately 60 years, according to Alexander Leitch '24's A Princeton Companion. Then, because of deterioration and vandalism, they were removed and put into storage.

But where? "Bud" Wynne '39, a Princeton resident and member of the Alumni Council's Committee on Princetoniana, says he noticed "about 10 years ago" that the lions he remembered from his undergraduate days no longer stood sentinel outside 1879 Hall. He was determined to find them, wherever they might be. Armed with a hefty flashlight and a tolerance for spider webs, Wynne eventually discovered the discarded statuary in the basement of Palmer Hall.

Thanks to Wynne's enterprise, the cooperation of the Office of Physical Planning, and the efforts of conservator John Scott, the lions finally returned to public view this past July.

They haven't forgotten their pedigree, however. They are still the Class of 1879 lions, and their new home is the residential college named for the most famous member of the Class of 1879, Woodrow Wilson.

-- Caroline Moseley

Golf is too darn slow for Buzzy Krongard '58

Bankers Trust's former vice-chairman joins the CIA

A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard '58 once punched a great white shark in the head on a bet. He practices lethal martial arts with an intensity that is frightening. And the only guns he collects are ones he can use.

So when the Bankers Trust New York vice-chairman announced earlier this year that he was retiring after 27 years as an investment banker, nobody expected him to pass his golden years strolling the fairways. Golf is "just too darn slow," he growls.

Instead, at 61, Krongard signed on with the company -- the CIA. That's right. The Central Intelligence Agency. Spooks. Classified briefings. Krongard has left behind high finance to jet around the world clandestinely as counselor to CIA Director George Tenet. The CIA created the job for him.

Colleagues and family say they're not surprised Krongard chose a second career in the perilous world of international espionage. He's a former Marine with an outspoken nogutsnoglory persona that made him stand out among the reserved, grayflanneled ranks of investment bankers.

Some intelligence experts say Krongard might be just what the CIA needs now. He earned a reputation for being brutally honest while building Baltimore brokerage Alex. Brown into a respected Wall Street player before Bankers Trust bought it in 1997.

"It's going to be a breath of fresh air out at Langley. Buzzy is certainly sympathetic to the mission of the agency, but isn't at all hesitant to speak out about problems," says R. James Woolsey, the CIA director from 1993 to 1995.

Critics say the CIA has lost its analytical depth -- it failed to foresee India's nuclear tests last May, for instance -- and is in need of a major overhaul. "It's not a one-to-one translation from Wall Street to the intelligence community. But unlike an agency insider, Buzzy will be able to use his principles of management to help improve the agency," Woolsey says.

What does Krongard say he can offer? "My main job is to be helpful. I'll pick up towels in the men's room if they want," he says. "What I will be doing is assist in strategic matters. Many Wall Street analysts do things and collect information in ways not dissimilar to what we do here. The only difference is methodology."

Krongard is a larger-than-life character whose words often beg to be accompanied by the Marine anthem. Friends say he exudes a stormthebeach brand of patriotism.

"I'm not sure this second career has anything to do with patriotism. It's self-interest," Krongard says. "Who offers opportunity and freedom the way the United States does? It's incumbent upon me to preserve the preeminence of the United States. For evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."

Krongard's second career was born over a lunch late last year with his old friend Tenet, who raised the possibility that Krongard come work for the CIA. "I can't think of another job that would have tempted me," says Krongard, who started his new job in February.

Krongard's business experience began 36 years ago when he went to work for his father-inlaw's label and patch company in Baltimore after a threeyear stint in the Marines. He got hooked on the art -- and adrenaline -- of dealmaking when negotiating the sale of the company. He knew finance was for him. In 1971, he joined what was then called Alex. Brown & Sons as a finance associate. Under Krongard's leadership as CEO at Alex. Brown, the firm was transformed from a regional brokerage into a Wall Street force, all the while remaining headquartered in Krongard's native Baltimore. Between 1992 and 1996, the firm's revenue grew from $445 million to more than $1 billion. The firm also became a leader in underwriting initial public offerings, a lucrative business that made Alex. Brown an attractive target for Bankers Trust. The bank bought the firm for $1.7 billion last year, and the deal left Krongard with $71 million in Bankers Trust stock. In his last year at the firm, Krongard made $4 million in salary and bonus.

But Krongard dismisses the whopping pay cut he's taken to work at the CIA -- he makes about $120,000 a year -- as insignificant. "The psychic income is infinite," Krongard says. "Besides, how much money is enough?"

Krongard likes honing his marksmanship with his favorite 9mm Glock or SIG-Saurer handguns at the firing range on his 93acre estate near Baltimore. But he also enjoys intellectual pursuits. He can carry on for hours about his favorite philosophers -- Socrates, Spinoza, and Hume -- or about his favorite paintings in the Louvre. And if Krongard is as driven in his new job as he is about his physical fitness, the spy world had better watch out.

Consider this recent demonstration: Krongard, in the basement gym of his Baltimore home, asks me to punch him in the gut. After some trepidation, I land a right jab squarely on Krongard's taut abs. "Come on now," Krongard shouts. "Is that all you got?" I swing again. And again. "Geez, is that all you got? I mean really hit me." I deliver one last punch, this time with a wind-up. A grimace doesn't even cross Krongard's face. "Boy, you don't hit very hard, do you?" Disappointed, Krongard returns to practicing moves on a rubber dummy.

-- Tom Lowry

Copyright 1998, usa today. Reprinted with permission.

Cogito, ergo I sew

This former philosophy major dyes cloth and designs clothing

At a recent apparel trade show in New York City, Nina Skaya '91, owner of Lokal, a firm that makes hand-printed clothing, considered leaving a sign in the press room listing her booth number below the question "What do you do with a philosophy degree from Princeton?"

For Skaya, who recently changed her name from Pearlstein after a nickname from her Russian grandfather, the answer is simple: run your own company.

During a recent interview at Lokal Ware's Norwalk, Connecticut, headquarters, Skaya explained that studying philosophy taught her to make an argument and think logically, both useful skills in the business world. Likewise, long hours practicing oboe for the Princeton University Orchestra (she also holds a master's degree in music from the University of Michigan) prepared her for the discipline of working alone in her studio.

As the sole owner of Lokal Ware, Skaya handles every aspect of the business: creating the designs, carving the printing blocks, hand-printing the garments, and selling the line. Her family helps out at craft shows and with scouting new stores. Lokal Ware is currently distributed at specialty stores along the East Coast and has been carried at Nordstrom in Virginia, New York, and Chicago. Prices range from $18 for a T-shirt to $86 for a dress.

Skaya and her mother had been fans of Lokal Ware before Skaya bought the company in January 1997, but it's one thing to enjoy wearing hand-printed clothing and another to begin making it. "One of the things I didn't realize was that to do this business you have to be physically really strong,'' she says. A box of T-shirts can easily weigh 50 pounds, and the five-foot, two-inch Skaya remembers tossing garbage bags of clothing off her second-story balcony rather than lug them down to the car before her first trip to the dyer. She spent that first winter in a carriage house in Redding, Connecticut, surrounded by piles of Lokal Ware. "I'd put on long underwear, a hat and fingerless gloves, and go print in an unheated storeroom," she recalls. "It's hard to find a place to live and work with paint."

Now she looks back on those early printing efforts with the critical eye of a seasoned pro. "I've gotten so fast, and I've developed a better sense of color," she says, sounding more like a designer than a philosophy grad. She finds inspiration for patterns from Native American designs and nature, as well as customer requests. The current line features leaves and coffee mugs, and each piece has an extra detail, such as tiny paw prints on the pocket to go with a cat motif.

Lokal Ware is growing swiftly, and Skaya expects sales to double this year to about $100,000. In addition to her spring/summer line, she has expanded by adding new items this fall. Despite all the hard work, Skaya enjoys meeting customers at craft shows and seeing their responses to her creations. "It's so nice to see people try stuff on and have it look good on them. They feel comfortable, and they feel good in the clothes.''

-- Bridget McQuaid