22. It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.
      –F. Scott Fitzgerald


Photo used with permission from the Office of Communications

Photo by Dino Palomares

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald ’17 did not actually graduate from Princeton. His enthusiasm for extracurricular activities, including the Triangle Club and Tiger Magazine, always threatened his academic eligibility, and he did not return to complete his degree after serving in World War I. Before he left, Fitzgerald had begun to work on a novel about the college experience; he finished writing This Side of Paradise in his eating club (Cottage Club) during a leave from duty in January of 1918. The book was an instant success, launching his writing career and immortalizing an image of Princeton in that era as an illustrious country club. Fitzgerald followed Princeton news and athletics throughout his life, and he regularly called the football coach on evenings before big games to give advice and receive assurances. Ironically (or perhaps fittingly), he died of a heart attack in 1940 while reading and making notes in the margins of an Alumni Weekly football postmortem.