Notebook - December 1, 1999
Carl Icahn '57 gives $20 million
The Icahn Family Foundation, whose founder and president is Carl C. Icahn '57, has made a $20-million gift to construct a laboratory that will be home to Princeton's new interdisciplinary Institute for Integrative Genomics. The Carl C. Icahn Laboratory will be adjacent to the Lewis Thomas Laboratory. Construction of the new building, which will contain research labs, offices, and seminar rooms, is expected to begin next summer and to be completed by early 2002.
In this new facility, investigators will pick up where the Human Genome Project, which is mapping the entire human gene sequence, leaves off-identifying the functions of human genes and then discovering how different genes act together in an integrated fashion, said Shirley M. Tilghman, the Howard A. Prior Professor in the Life Sciences and director of the Institute.
One of the best-known figures in American business and finance, Icahn is president and CEO of the investment firm Icahn & Co., Inc., which specializes in such areas as real estate development, oil and gas, rail car leasing and manufacturing, and technology firms. A noted philanthropist, Icahn serves as chairman of the board of Children's Rights Inc., a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of poor children dependent on government systems. He also founded Icahn House, a home for single mothers and their children. Icahn has established educational institutes and created scholarships at a number of schools, including Princeton. n
Princeton pushes study abroad
Departments ease obstacles to learning overseas
In an effort to double the number of students studying abroad, Princeton is developing closer relationships with programs and universities overseas and modifying the way juniors can complete their independent work.
Today, about 10 percent of each class studies abroad, said Assistant Dean of the College Nancy A. Kanach, which is low compared with some of Princeton's peers. This year about 115 students will spend a semester or two in one of some 20 foreign countries.
Increasing the number of students abroad is important because of today's global economy, said Jeffrey I. Herbst '83, an associate professor of politics and international affairs and chairman of the faculty-student committee on study abroad. "Many students will have to work in foreign environments during their careers," he said. "Living overseas allows people to further improve their language skills and gives them insights into the nuances and subtleties of foreign cultures.
"In the last few years, my colleagues in many departments have done a great deal of work to make studying abroad easier for their students," said Herbst. For example, several departments have integrated their requirements-such as Woodrow Wilson School task forces and junior seminars in the English department-into programs at institutions overseas. Some departments are also appointing foreign scholars to serve as advisers to Princeton students.
Sarah Garcia '00, a political economy major, who spent last spring in Buenos Aires, said research for her junior paper on Argentina's political party system presented problems and opportunities for her. "I had not done research beforehand, and when I began to do it in Buenos Aires, I soon realized that it was not very easy," because of the difficulty of checking out books from the library. But she soon discovered other ways of doing research. "I relied on newspapers, interviews with professors, flyers from the political party headquarters. It was more time-consuming than being able to find everything you would ever need in one of the hundreds of computers at Firestone, but it also taught me how to conduct more interactive research."
For environmental engineering major Ben Runkle '00, spending the fall semester of his junior year at the University of Cape Town offered him the chance to take a course on the religions of South Africa and learn from his daily encounters with South Africans.
"We don't want to re-create Princeton abroad," said Kanach. But the university wants to make sure the quality of education is high and that immersion and integration into the society are complete.
-Kathryn Federici Greenwood
In 1999-2000, about 115 students will study abroad in the following countries: Denmark, The Netherlands, England, Spain, Australia, France, Russia, Israel, Costa Rica, Chile, Italy, Scotland, Germany, South Africa, Panama, China, Japan, Ireland, and Greece.
Trustees criticize Forbes, reaffirm commitment to academic freedom
In a highly unusual move, Robert H. Rawson, Jr. '66, the chairman of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees, publicly criticized fellow board member and presidential hopeful Steve Forbes '70 for public attacks on the controversial philosopher Peter Singer. Forbes called on the university to rescind his appointment and promised he would not donate any more money until that happens.
In a statement released on October 7, Rawson responded on behalf of the trustees to a letter by several faculty members who had requested a clarification of the board's position on academic freedom in this case. Rawson affirmed the trustees' support for the university's decision to hire Singer, who even before he arrived on campus this fall to become the DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values had attracted media attention for his views on infanticide and euthanasia.
The trustees have an "overarching responsibility to advance and protect the core values of the university, which include the essential principles of academic freedom," Rawson said in the statement. "One of our members apparently is not willing to accept this fundamental responsibility of trusteeship."
In the 26-year tenure of Vice-President and Secretary Thomas H. Wright, Jr. '62 as board secretary, this is the first time he recalls a trustee publicly speaking out against a fellow board member.
Robert Rawson '66, chairman of the executive committee, released the following statement on behalf of the Board of Trustees.
President Shapiro's recent public statements have strongly reaffirmed Princeton's unwavering support for academic freedom. Because of the centrality of academic freedom to this or any great university and because of recent statements by trustee Steve Forbes, President Shapiro asked the board at its recent meeting for its explicit endorsement of the position he has articulated. The trustees present provided this endorsement unequivocally and unanimously (not of course including Steve Forbes, who was not present). There should be no question, on campus or off, about the commitment of this board . . . to the principles of academic freedom.
The trustees are extremely disappointed that Mr. Forbes has chosen to attack publicly a faculty appointment (of Professor Peter Singer) that the trustees duly approved and that was presented to the board following long-established procedures. In approving this or any faculty appointment, the board takes no position either endorsing or contesting any of the views of those being appointed. The trustees have not, and will not, apply any ideological litmus test to the appointment of distinguished scholars and teachers who are recommended to the board by the faculty, the faculty's elected Advisory Committee on Appointments and Advancements, and the president. As should be obvious to all, Princeton demands the highest standards of scholarship and pedagogy in all its faculty appointments, and the board relies on the faculty, the academic deans, and the president to assure that those standards are met. The trustees are fully confident that those standards have been met in Professor Singer's case.
As Princeton trustees, we value the principles of academic freedom above the personal views of any one of us. Indeed, as trustees we recognize that excellent teaching and scholarship depend on the debate on controversial issues that academic freedom protects. . . .
Any trustee individually is certainly entitled to express his or her opinion on any matter affecting Princeton. But the trustees collectively have a special and overarching responsibility to advance and protect the core values of the university, which include the essential principles of academic freedom. We sincerely regret that one of our members apparently is not willing to accept this fundamental responsibility of trusteeship. But this does not in any way diminish the board's collective determination-or the individual determination of the other trustees-to assure that Princeton's core values and essential principles will be honored and defended.
Armand Hoog, the Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature, Emeritus, died on September 10 in Boston. He was 86.
A native of Paris, Hoog studied at the École Normale Supérieure, where he earned his teaching degree in 1937. Before World War II he was an associate professor of French literature at the University of Cairo.
A lieutenant in the French Army, he was named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur and awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional courage at Dunkirk. He spent two years as a prisoner of war in Silesia, later he published Littérature en Silésie, a series of essays on French literary greats.
Hoog joined Princeton's Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in 1955 and retired in 1981. His publications include Le Temps du Lecteur (1975) and Stendhal avant Stendhal (1983), as well as six novels.
Honoring Mandela . . . clip trips . . . disco Dream
More than two decades ago, students protested the university's holdings in South Africa, leading to the trustees' eventual divestiture of a number of its investments. This fall, when it was announced that Princeton was bestowing an honoris causa degree February 25, 2000, on Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, students rallied again, this time in support of the man who brought down apartheid. The event was originally scheduled for Richardson Auditorium, but many students thought the 1,000-seat space was insufficient and urged it be moved to a larger venue. After hearing students' concerns, President Shapiro agreed to relocate the occasion to Jadwin Gym. Any drawbacks to using a gymnasium for such a dignified occassion? Shapiro has asked that Jadwin be organized and decorated to befit an august academic event.
Hoagie Haven, Nassau Street's popular sandwich shop, has run into trouble with the three Rs of restauranting: roaches, refrigeration, and regional health department. Allowed to remain open with a conditional approval for foodservice permit, the eatery is remediating.
Finding an inexpensive haircut in Princeton requires a fine-tooth comb, and a number of students trek out to Route 1 for the $11 special offered at one of the strip malls. Jeremy Weissman '01 confirms that the Hair Cuttery is "well liked," adding that "a lot of people don't have cars, though, and resign themselves to the $20 cuts at Rialto on Nassau Street. Some say the Jets football talk compensates for the high price." No Jet setter he, Weissman goes to Jimmy's, at the corner of John and Quarry Streets, where the cuts are $8.
Notable speakers scheduled for campus this fall included former Secretary of State George Shultz '42; Martin Butora, ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States; Sidney Blumenthal, assistant to President Clinton; journalist Robert MacNeil; Christopher Dunford, president of Freedom from Hunger; Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party leader; and Mario Artza, the Chilean ambassador to the United States, with Andrés Allaman, a Chilean activist.
Garnering raves in the New York City press is The Donkey Show, a re-imagined
A Midsummer's Night Dream, told via '70s disco songs, such as Ring My Bell,
You Sexy Thing, and I'm Your Boogie Man. Produced by Jordan Roth '97, the
adults-only show features Dan Cryer '98, Kesu James '99, and Mimi Ferraro
'98; David Kaley '97 is the assistant costumer. For more information, hustle
to www.thedonkeyshow.com or
ring their bell at 212-971-1016.
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