Written by Princeton University’s Office of Communications

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber sent his second annual “State of the University” letter to faculty, students and staff Wednesday, Feb. 7, recounting advances over the past year and focusing on priorities for the year ahead.

Eisgruber will summarize the letter and invite questions at open meetings this month: the annual Town Hall meeting of the Council of the Princeton University Community from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 12 in 101 Friend Center, and a town hall for University staff from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Feb. 20 at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. more

Photo Credit: @lindt_chocolate

Sweeten your day with these special gifts. 

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CELEBRATING HISTORY: Members of the Princeton High boys’ track team celebrate last Sunday after they placed first at the Mercer County Track Indoor Championships in the Lavino Field House at the Lawrenceville School. It was the first-ever indoor county crown for the program, which last earned the outdoor county title in 1982.

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High boys’ track team appeared to have the pieces in place to win the Mercer County Track Indoor Championships last Sunday, Ben Samara knew nothing was guaranteed.

“We knew we were the favorites going in, but as I said to the guys on the bus, that doesn’t really matter because we were the favorites indoors and outdoors last year too,” said PHS boys’ head coach Samara, noting that PHS had never won the indoor county title and last earned the outdoor crown in 1982. “You have to get the job done and that is the bottom line.” more

BIRD’S EYE VIEW: This 1874 imagined aerial view of Princeton includes Morven, just off Nassau Street at Bayard Avenue, as it was then known. The tiny rectangle behind the house is evidence of Colonel Stockton’s greenhouse, which is the subject of the next exhibit at Morven Musem & Garden. The map is included in the exhibit.

By Anne Levin

At the front end of what is now the parking lot of Morven Museum & Garden, a small glass building once stood. Commodore Robert F. Stockton’s 19th-century greenhouse was filled with lemon trees, japonicas, cacti, azaleas, and other varieties, according to account books and inventories from the time. more

SNAP DECISION: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jerome Desrosiers dribbles the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, freshman Desrosiers made his Ivy League debut, contributing eight points and five rebounds in a losing cause as Princeton fell 76-70 at Penn in the Ivy opener for both teams. The defeat snapped the Tigers’ 18-game winning streak in Ivy League regular season and tournament play. Princeton, now 7-8 overall and 0-1 Ivy, hosts Columbia on January 12 and Cornell on January 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mitch Henderson believed that his Princeton University men’s basketball team was in a good place as it faced Penn last Saturday in the Ivy League opener.

Heading into the clash with the Quakers, Princeton was coming off a superb western swing which saw it go 4-1, posting wins at Cal Poly and Southern Cal and then topping Akron and host Hawaii after falling to Middle Tennessee State at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. more

“I LOVED TEACHING”: Princeton University PhD candidate Merle Eisenberg (right) put teaching theories into practice in his interactive history class on Western civilization at Mercer County Community College this past fall. The PU-MCCC partnership will continue this spring and next fall, with five more PU doctoral students teaching at MCCC.

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University (PU) and Mercer County Community College (MCCC) have launched a collaborative program for PU graduate students to gain teaching experience in the community college classroom, and the reviews are positive on both sides. more

POETRY AND POLITICS: Paul Muldoon, Princeton University professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the Princeton Atelier, has been approved by Queen Elizabeth II for the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2017. Muldoon said his award was an acknowledgment of both “the impact of a few of my poems” and of the current positive relations between Ireland and England. (Photo by Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite 2017)

By Donald Gilpin

Paul Muldoon, Princeton University creative writing professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the Princeton Atelier, will be awarded Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2017 by Queen Elizabeth II in an upcoming ceremony.  more

Photo Source: Princeton University 

By Donald Gilpin

A recent study, co-authored by Princeton University Economics Professor Janet Currie, reveals significant increases of health risks for infants born to mothers living within two miles of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) site.

“Given the growing evidence that pollution affects babies in utero, it should not be surprising that fracking, which is a heavy industrial activity, has negative effects on infants,” said Currie, who directs the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. more

PUTTING IN MYLES: Princeton University men’s basketball player Myles Stephens drives to the hoop in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star and tri-captain Stephens chipped in 16 points and four assists as Princeton defeated Cal Poly 80-60 in improving to 4-6.  Stephens, who had 19 points and eight rebounds in a 69-58 win over Monmouth on December 12, was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week. After playing at Southern Cal on December 19, the Tigers head across the Pacific Ocean to compete in the Diamond Head Classic from December 22-25 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Myles Stephens and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s basketball team, their 71-60 defeat at George Washington earlier this month proved to be a wake-up call. more

By Doug Wallack

Photos Courtesy of Friends of Washington Crossing Park

On a chilly Christmas Day in 1953, a crowd of about 700 gathered on the banks of the Delaware River as a crew of six men rowed across from Pennsylvania in commemoration of George Washington’s iconic 1776 crossing—a grueling feat of logistical prowess and grit that enabled the Continental Army to defeat the Hessian mercenaries encamped at Trenton, and the British at Princeton just over a week later. The crossing marked the beginning of what historians call the “Ten Crucial Days” that restored the morale of the American troops, who had before then been flailing badly. more

This holiday season, outfit your home with “smart” gifts.

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JOIN THE CLUB: Charter Club, designed in 1913 by Philadelphia architect Arthur Meigs, is among the palatial Princeton University eating clubs profiled in a new book by local author and historian Clifford Zink. Meigs was a member of Charter Club and the Class of 1903.

By Anne Levin

Back in the mid-19th century when Princeton University was still called The College of New Jersey, undergraduates had a hard time finding a decent meal. This gastronomic inadequacy regularly sent students to local taverns and inns, much to the disapproval of faculty at Nassau Hall. more

By Lynn Adams Smith 

Photograph by Jeffrey E. Tryon

Back in 1968, Joanne Woodward purchased a Rolex Daytona watch for Paul Newman and had it inscribed “Drive Carefully Me.”  For the next 16 years, he wore the watch while acting in movies, fly fishing, and racing cars.

In 1984, Newman’s daughter Nell was dating James Cox.  One summer day Cox was helping to repair a treehouse on their property, when Newman casually gave him the watch. more

Children and their parents experience Brandywine Christmas. Photo by Carlos Alejandro. 

By Ilene Dube

In all its starkness, winter was the favorite season of the painter Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009), one of the 20th century’s most popular American painters. Even today, exhibitions of his works draw large crowds to museums.

Wyeth described winter as a time when “you feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling…” Wyeth’s landscapes of that season are both placid in their silence and haunting in their feeling of desolation. He has the ability to capture the nuanced shades of white, even when working in watercolor. more

Bucks County Company Mines the “True Meaning” of Christmas with One-of-a-Kind Works

By Wendy Greenberg

Michael Stumpf, who has been a photographer, banking executive, ad agency owner, and community leader, cherished his childhood F. W. Woolworth Nativity scene into adulthood. When it fell apart from age, he and his daughter built one of their own design.

Some years later, A.J. DiAntonio, who was captivated by Nativity scenes and had amassed an impressive Christmas collection, left a Hollywood production career and returned to the Pennsylvania suburbs where he grew up. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Among the holiday season’s crop of new books, most of which are immense, amply-illustrated volumes destined for display, some of this year’s stand-outs feature interesting women, whether photographers like Mary Caperton Morton (Aerial Geology), painters (Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900), or women of the Old West like Calamity Jane (The Calamitous Life of Martha Jane Cannary), or superstars like Wonder Woman (The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen) and culinary legend Alice Waters, whose modest-sized, compulsively readable best-selling memoir is more suited to bedside than coffee tables. more

The Holidays at Drumthwacket

Jack Frost is in the air, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is about to begin…

Mark your calendar for these festive events that celebrate the season:

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By Donald Gilpin

The relationship between Princeton University and Iran goes back a long way—at least 110 years to 1907 when Howard Baskerville, Class of 1907, went to Iran to teach science and English. He died at age 24 fighting alongside his students for constitutional democracy, but his memory lives on for many Iranians, and his grave is preserved in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz. more

By Anne Levin

Photographs Courtesy of The Historical Society of Princeton

Back in the 1930s, my grandparents considered moving from Philadelphia to Princeton and opening up a medical office for my grandfather, an obstetrician. But as Jews, they worried about discrimination. So they stayed put.

Some eight decades later, such trepidations would seem unfounded. Princeton’s Jewish community coexists collegially among other religions and cultural groups. The town prides itself on diversity. Being Jewish in Princeton is, you might say, no big deal. more