Web Exclusives: Tooke's Take
a PAW web exclusive column by Wes Tooke '98 (email: cwtooke@princeton.edu)

December 5, 2001:
Progeny at Princeton
Just why is it again that my son and daughter didn't get in?

Admission Office
Princeton University
March 15, 2024

Dear Sir,

No! After a short and painless debate, we have decided that your son will not be attending Princeton University next fall. Although 80 percent of our entering class now consists of alumni children, we have nevertheless determined that your particular child is not worthy of joining that august group.

But before you blame your son for his failure to gain admission, we here in the admission department feel that perhaps you should turn the torch upon yourself. After all, due to the marvels of recessive genetics, your child is a fine candidate. We realize that in addition to his excellent grades and test scores, he speaks five languages, throws a nice spiral, and has mastered the dying art of Geisha dance.

Our department felt, however, that all of his accomplishments couldn't outweigh your deficiencies as an alumnus of Princeton University.

Before you protest the last phrase, please do us the favor of hearing our evidence. We have taken the liberty of compiling your record since leaving the university and have found that you are short in the following four critical areas.

1) Class Dues. You have been consistently and aggravatingly faithless in meeting this minimal financial obligation. Perhaps you have been confused; the payment of class dues is not an option. Please note the use of the word "dues." And we do not consider this requirement to be particularly onerous--after all, some of your fellow alumni pay their dues three or four times a year. Which brings us to...

2) Money. You have not given us enough. Did you really think it would escape our notice that the football stadium remained nameless for 10 years while you piddled around with that writing thing? And please spare us the tedious argument that you didn't have enough cash on hand to write the check. We know that any Princeton graduate who can't pay for a simple stadium must have some sort of unexplainable allergy to money.

3) School spirit. We are not interested in hearing that orange isn't a good color on you. We are not interested in hearing that your class's beer jacket looks like tiger barf. We are not interested in hearing that you missed your eighth reunion because it conflicted with your sister's wedding. Good Princeton graduates arrive for reunions looking like a particularly noxious test pattern and drink our beer until they are ready to write a sizable check. Bad Princeton graduates just drink our beer. You have been bad.

4) Letters to the PAW. Good graduates write at least one idiotic letter to the PAW every five years. It's a bonding thing.

Given your above transgressions, we hope you can understand why we were forced to refuse your son admission to the university. After all, President Tilghman proved conclusively in 2008 that alumni giving and a propensity for wearing the color orange are genetic traits. So despite the fact that your son is clearly smarter, more athletic, and funnier than you, we must nevertheless refuse him admission.

We trust that our decision will not affect your class dues.


Fred Hargadon, Jr.

You can reach Wes at cwtooke@princeton.edu