State grants will increase student engagement and support academic progress.

Montclair State University will receive more than $1.4 million from the state of New Jersey to support programs that help to address the impacts of COVID-19 on postsecondary students. 

Gov. Phil Murphy and Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges announced the grants on July 12, with Montclair State among 35 public and public-mission private institutions receiving $30 million in state aid to implement vetted best practices that increase college completion, address barriers to student success, and develop sustainable systemic reforms.  more

As of August 2021, Drew University in Madison, N.J., has announced the addition of new majors in cybersecurity and statistics, as well as a dual-degree cybersecurity program with New York University. These new majors join an already robust selection of concentrations from the liberal arts college. 

The new major in cybersecurity will be available in fall 2021. The program will offer a liberal arts approach with flexibility through elective offerings for students to choose emphases in software, systems, or interdisciplinary contexts. 

Undergraduate degrees in cybersecurity are a rarity in higher education and the program’s liberal arts emphasis will further separate it from the few contemporary programs offered in the U.S.  more

Interview by Lynn Adams Smith

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is the Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and professor emeritus of Princeton University. He received his BA in economics from Yale University, where he was a National Merit Scholar, and earned a PhD in economics from MIT. Krugman is the author or editor of 27 books, including scholarly works, textbooks, and books for the general public. His most recent book, Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future, expands upon his New York Times opinion columns to highlight how some conservative lawmakers use false or misleading information to benefit the wealthiest Americans.

In your book, you describe zombies as “ideas” that have been proven wrong by evidence but refuse to die. The ideas keep shambling along, eating away at people’s brains, and are kept alive by influential people such as billionaires and politicians. What are a few examples of zombies?

The most persistent zombie in U.S. discourse — the Zombie Supreme, you might say — is the belief that cutting taxes on high-income individuals will create an economic miracle. It never works, yet the belief persists. Belief that government debt is terrible, horrible, that it means crisis any day now is another, and it persists even though the debt scaremongers have been wrong year after year. Yet another is the belief that we can’t address environmental problems without killing the economy, even though clean technologies have made huge progress.

How is a cockroach idea different from a zombie, and what is an example?

Cockroach ideas are ideas that can be made to go away for a while, but keep coming back. I think I introduced the term in response to people who kept saying that Keynes would never have advocated fiscal stimulus if debt had been this high in his day. When you point out that debt was actually very high in the 1930s, this claim tends to go away, but someone else who hasn’t checked the facts always shows up to make it again.

Who will benefit the most from Biden’s coronavirus relief package, and does it properly target the specific needs of the current crisis? Is $1.9 trillion the appropriate size to jump-start employment recovery? How does the relief package compare to Obama’s 2009 $831 billion stimulus plan?

This is a very redistributive plan: huge benefits for lower-income families, especially with children. It’s important to understand that it’s NOT mainly about jump-starting the economy; it’s about getting us through the rest of the pandemic. And I have to admit, it’s a generous plan — it provides mostly adequate aid to those in need, and does scatter the aid widely, so many people who might not need help get money as well — which is OK. This is all a huge contrast with Obama’s stimulus, which was supposed to drive recovery, and was woefully underpowered for the task.

The $15 minimum wage proposal did not make it into the relief package. What do history and data say about the correlation between increasing wages and job loss? Is it possible that increasing the current minimum from $7.25 to $15 is too big of a jump for small businesses trying to stay afloat during COVID?

Minimum wages are a subject where we have unusually good evidence, because many states set minimums above the federal level and we can see what happens when they raise wages. The answer, overwhelmingly, is low to zero job loss. To some extent that might be because minimum wages are so low — surely a minimum wage of, say, $30 would cost jobs. But we can be reasonably sure that not many jobs would be lost if we went up to $15. more

Drew University will add a new finance major to its list of undergraduate offerings within the school’s department of Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurship. The program will launch in the fall of 2020.  more

By Taylor Smith

 American poet Walt Whitman has been honored with a new United States stamp.

The stamp is intended for domestic first-class mail weighing up to 3 ounces, and is priced at 85 cents. USPS Art Director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with artwork by Sam Weber, who previously illustrated the Flannery O’Connor stamp in 2015 and the Henry David Thoreau stamp in 2017. more

Mike Bloomberg

By Taylor Smith 

“Philanthropy gives us a competitive advantage, we think, in recruiting and retaining talent. And I can tell you from personal experience, it is also good for the bottom line, as good a thing a company can do.” —Michael R. Bloomberg

Headquartered on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Bloomberg Philanthropies was founded in 2006 with the purpose of directing funding and research to five major areas: the environment, public health, the arts, government innovation, and education. By “using data in new ways,” Bloomberg Philanthropies routinely shifts policies and advances progress, legislation, and public opinion. As an example, the organization has potentially saved countless lives by creating solutions proven to curb global tobacco use. According to bloomberg.org, “If left unchecked, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century.” more

By Taylor Smith 

On Thursday, October 10 at 8 p.m., former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a talk at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. The event is presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University and is part of the New Jersey Speaker Series at NJPAC that has previously hosted former FBI Director James Comey, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin, journalist and political activist Gloria Steinem, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ian Bremmer, founder of the Eurasia Group. All events take place at NJPAC’s Prudential Hall.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The makers of the Peloton indoor cycling bike have a new model on the market — the Peloton Tread. Unlike the bike, the Tread is a hulking piece of fitness equipment with a hefty price tag of $179 per month for 24 months or a one-time payment of $4,295. More than just a standard treadmill, the engineers behind the Peloton brand are hoping that users of the bike will opt in to purchasing the Tread because of the personalized coaching and virtual reality community experience.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Philanthropist and former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg recently announced on his Twitter account: “I’m giving $1.8 billion to @JohnsHopkins for financial aid so admissions can be permanently need-blind. I want to open the same door of opportunity that I had for generations of talented students, regardless of financial aid.” 

The donation is the largest ever to a higher education institution. Bloomberg wrote in a following New York Times op-ed, “My Hopkins diploma opened up doors that otherwise would have been closed, and allowed me to live the American dream.” Bloomberg has stated that he was able to attend Johns Hopkins because of a National Defense student loan.  more

What U.K.-based health care company Virtue is doing to help people age well

By Taylor Smith

According to the World Health Organization, “an estimated 47 million people currently suffer from dementia and that number is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030. It is projected that the number will triple by 2050.” To put these numbers into perspective, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that “the cost to care for an Alzheimer’s patient in a private room in a nursing home is around $97,455 per year.” This is where U.K.-based health care start-up Virtue steps in (https://www.virtue.io). With the goal to “empower the silver generation,” Virtue aims to “develop transformative solutions for aging well.” more

By Taylor Smith

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis sativa plant, but it contains no THC (the psychoactive constituent) and is not evident in a drug test. Also known as hemp oil, many wellness practitioners have begun to tout the many benefits of CBD oil for the treatment of everything from anxiety and/or depression to pain relief, PTSD, insomnia, skincare, digestion, and seizures.  more

(And how Princeton played a role in Teach for America and Teach for All)

Photos Courtesy of Teach For All

Wendy Kopp, founder of the successful education access nonprofit organizations Teach For America, and more recently, Teach For All, was inspired by her time at Princeton University — as a 1989 graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She realized she had access to a good public and college education, but not everyone did. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to make a quality education accessible to all.  more

Laying the Groundwork for Future Female Tech Leaders

By Taylor Smith 

Photos courtesy of Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code was founded by Reshma Saujani six years ago with the aim of closing the gender gap in computing classes in schools across the nation. Girls Who Code is now 90,000 strong in all 50 states, building the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States. Its Clubs Program, Campus Program, and Summer Immersion Program help to create accessible pathways for Girls Who Code alumni to enter into university and workforce computing programs. The organization also offers continued learning opportunities for Girls Who Code alumni to enhance their professional computer science skills.  more

The National Science Foundation’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure program has awarded TCNJ a $500,000 competitive grant for a collaborative project led by the Division of Information Technology and the School of Science.

This grant will fund strategic enhancements to TCNJ’s network infrastructure to enable and expand the innovative and diverse scientific research occurring at the College. Specifically, the grant will allow TCNJ to implement a new high-speed science network and a friction-free “DMZ” (or “DeMilitarized Zone”), which will allow for faster transmission of data and enhanced network security. more

TAKE YOUR PICK: This house on Princeton’s Library Place is one of several in the exclusive Western Section that is currently for sale. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

There appears to be a glut of seven-figure mansions available in Princeton’s Western Section. No less than five are advertised for sale on Library Place. Four more of these palatial homes, a favorite of gawkers on tours of the town, are up for grabs on Hodge Road, around the corner. A few more have “For Sale” signs on Morven Place and Cleveland Lane.

While changes in the new tax laws, property taxes that can reach more than $60,000, the pending School Board referendum, and changing demographics add in to the equation, local real estate agents say the situation is normal and no crisis is at hand. “It’s a convergence of a few things,” said Judson R. Henderson, whose Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty is handling a majority of the listings in the neighborhood. “I’m having this conversation a lot, but we are close to deals on a number of them and we recently put one under contract.” more

Audience members (opposite) explore the 2018 Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show May 6, 2018 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. U.S. Air Force photo by Brad Camara.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve Turns 70

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McGuire is a fantastic example of what the Air Force Reserve can, and should, be,” asserts Col. Robert Dunham, a graduate of Princeton University. “McGuire is an associate unit, meaning that reservists share the same hardware with their active-duty counterparts. That is a model that has worked very well.” more

Photos Courtesy of The Peddie School

A Look Back at an Epochal Turning Point in One School’s History

Twenty-five years since Walter H. Annenberg bestowed his historic gift on Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., the school is an example of how philanthropy can transform a school — and how a school can transform thousands of lives as a result.

On Father’s Day, 1993, Annenberg gave $100 million to Peddie — along with $265 million to the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California and Harvard University — as an endowed fund designed to expand financial aid, institute innovative programs, and recruit exceptional faculty. It was the largest cash gift ever given to an independent school, and it brought instant fame to Peddie. more

Photos Courtesy of Butler’s of Far Hills, Inc. Photography by Laura Moss

Vacation homes are a boon to New Jersey’s economy and beyond

By Wendy Greenberg

Second homes represent a lifestyle change, an investment, and sometimes several years of exploring myriad locations. But often, the second home becomes as beloved as the first home, and many times the homeowners don’t want to go home. They ARE home.

As Spring Lake realtor Cindy Napp says, “Life is short. Buy the beach house.” more

Photo courtesy of Princeton University, Office of Engineering Communications, Andrea Kane (2018)

By Donald Gilpin

“Data Fallout at Facebook,” “Americans See AI as a Threat to Jobs,” “Digital Cash Made Easy (Fraud Too),” “Self-Driving Car Accidents Will Keep Happening,” “Russian Election Meddling,” “The Rise of Cyber Surveillance,” “Can Democracy Survive Big Data?”

The headlines overflow with ominous warnings about the unintended consequences of the rapid growth of technology in the 21st century. Our romance with artificial intelligence (AI) and our faith in its potential to improve our lives have clearly hit a rough patch. A self-driving car kills a pedestrian; Facebook accounts look like more of a liability than an asset to our personal lives and relationships, our freedom, and the stability of our political systems; our jobs are disappearing; and though our smartphones often bring us together and help to educate our children, they can also create more loneliness, less actual human contact, and more closed-mindedness. more