Web Exclusives: PawPlus

March 19, 2008:

Overheard on Alumni Day 2008
For those alumni who were unable to return to campus Feb. 23 for Alumni Day, here’s a sampling of what the speakers had to say:

College admissions

“ ‘Where is the nearest nail salon, because I wear tips?’ is not a good question.” – Anita Harris ’73, chairwoman of the Princeton Schools Committee, who gave a talk on how high school students should prepare for an interview with an alum. She spoke in a session with Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye, in a session called “Navigating the College Admission Process.”

“Parents, support your children. Remember that they are applying to college, not to heaven.” – Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye.

“This is not about re-creating your experience.” – Dean Rapelye.

“Don’t tell us about the absolute worst thing that ever happened to you. We call these ‘Oprah essays.’ … We want to know what is good and strong and powerful about you” – Dean Rapelye.

Faculty panels

“When one looks at the entire spectrum of Islamist organizations, one realizes that there is in fact a great deal of variety, of diversity, in their politics and in the sorts of activities they undertake.” – Muhammad Qasim Zaman, professor of Near Eastern studies and religion, speaking on “What Is Islamism?”

“Prejudices are more complicated, more automatic, more ambiguous, and many of them are more ambivalent than people normally consider them to be.” – Psychology professor Susan T. Fiske, speaking on “Perils of Prejudice: Universal Biases in Brain, Mind, and Culture.”

The future of the autonomous vehicle project

“The next thing is, we’d like to apply for a New Jersey state driver’s license.” – Alain Kornhauser *71, adviser to undergraduates who have built an “autonomous urban vehicle” – a driverless truck.

Campus life

“We could have left it alone, and everyone would have been happy. But we felt it was our responsibility as educators to make more discriminating judgments. Even the best students don’t do their best work in every course.” – Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel, responding to a question from a parent about the University’s grading policy, adopted three years ago to combat grade inflation.

“It’s really hard for a student to fall though the cracks here … if a faculty member reports to the dean’s office that he or she is worried about a student, it gets followed up on.” Dean Malkiel, asked about campus safety in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. END