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Dear Readers,
Happy New Year and welcome to the Winter issue of Princeton Magazine. I am pleased to report that 2024 marks our 15th anniversary of publishing the magazine! You might think that after so many years we would run out of ideas, but that is far from the case.

Princeton is home to a plethora of accomplished people and there is always another interesting person to interview. We also enjoy exploring topics on architecture, nature, health, cooking, sports, history, culture, politics, and businesses that have a positive impact on the community. more

In New Memoirs, Two Former College Presidents Explore What Made Them Who They Are

Interviews by Wendy Greenberg

Two extraordinary women, both with leadership roles in higher education — and each with ties to Princeton — have written compelling memoirs that were published in 2023.

Drew Gilpin Faust, the first female president of Harvard University (2007-2018), whose father, uncle, and brothers were Princeton University graduates (she might have been, but Princeton didn’t admit women in 1968), has dug deep into her childhood and adolescence to understand the roots of her rebelliousness in Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury.

Ruth J. Simmons, president of Smith College (1995-2001), the first woman president of Brown University (2001-2012) and the first Black president of an Ivy League institution (and a former Princeton administrator), relives her journey from poverty in rural Texas, and circles back as she becomes president of Prairie View A & M University (2017-2023) near her hometown, in Up Home: One Girl’s Journey.

Each woman’s childhood made them who they are, setting them up to travel vastly different paths to the heights of higher education. Yet, they have some common ground. Each lost their mother as a teen. Each was motivated by the civil rights movement: one wrote to President Eisenhower when she was 9, pleading with him to end segregation; one lived segregation. Both experiences informed their responses to affirmative action as college presidents. more

Princeton University Store. (University Archives, Princeton University Library; Colorization by Steven Veach for Princeton Alumni Weekly)

Princeton’s Fondly Remembered Establishments

By Anne Levin | Photographs courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton

This past fall, a query was posted on the Facebook page of the group “I Grew Up in Princeton”: Might anyone have special memories to share about local shops they patronized as children?

Within minutes, responses began flooding in. Twenty-four hours later, there were hundreds of reminiscences — of candy stores, toy stores, pharmacies, clothing shops, gift shops, and grocery stores, many run by friendly owners who knew these young customers by name. If they were short on cash, the proprietors would often let them leave with merchandise and send a bill to their parents. Until a few decades ago, this was retail in Princeton. Mom-and-pop stores were the norm, catering to local families and Princeton University students. more

ROTC Programs of Princeton, Rutgers, and Penn

By Donald H. Sanborn III

“If you want to apply the skills and talents you might have developed in high school, be a part of a community and do good in the world, and you wouldn’t mind a free education — then ROTC is definitely an option worth looking at,” says Midshipman Second Class Bryan Suh, public affairs officer for the University of Pennsylvania’s Naval ROTC unit.

The point about Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) preparing students to “do good in the world” echoes a comment on Tiger Battalion’s website: “Princeton Army ROTC embodies Princeton’s motto, ‘In the Nation’s Service, and the Service of Humanity.’” more

Empowering People with Different Abilities

By Ilene Dube | (Photo Courtesy of Special Olympics)

When Monica Koppstein helps customers at the checkout at Costco on Quakerbridge Road in Lawrence, most notice her pleasant demeanor and unwavering focus on her work. What they may not know is that she is a three-time Olympic gold medal winner.

The 36-year-old has been participating in Special Olympics since she was 12. Koppstein has trained and competed in aquatics, basketball, cross-country skiing, power lifting, soccer, and track. She was one of the original members of the Special Olympics New Jersey cycling team, created in 2012, as well as the snowshoeing team, founded in 2009. Bowling is the sport in which she won her gold medals. more

How a balanced body can keep you active for the long-term

By Taylor Smith | Photos courtesy of

When people begin to exercise, they may correlate high-intensity and discomfort with physical “gains” and progress. This misleading way of thinking has led to countless injuries. What many people do not realize is that pain is our body’s way of signaling an imbalance and the potential for serious injury.

Recovering from an injury can also be a sliding scale of pain in terms of the ability to maintain previous activity levels. Typically, a sliding scale of injury could equate to taking a week off from weightlifting due to some slight tenderness versus being unable to walk after tearing a hamstring in a skiing accident. Surgery is generally the last resort, as most people will choose rehabilitation and physical therapy as their preferred recovery route. more

Providing Access to the “Amazing World of the Written Word” for 75 Years

By Donald Gilpin  

“I remember back in elementary school, I was taken out of regular classes and put into remedial classes for English,” said Justin Purvis, who is now a 24-year-old graphic novelist with a college degree. “It was hard.”

When Justin was in ninth grade his mother attended a seminar on dyslexia where she found out about Learning Ally. a Princeton-based nonprofit seeking, through audiobooks and other programs, to improve literacy across the country.

“I remember I was in ninth grade, and my mother told me to download a book,” Purvis recalled in a conversation at Learning Ally’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in October, where he was a featured guest. Joining Learning Ally, formerly known as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, was a turning point in his education and his life. “I was suddenly able to have access magically to all these books that I was using at school. I went back into the mainstream immediately. I was able to participate more and keep up with what was going on.” more

Comforting + Nourishing Soups for a Cozy Winter

By Mary Abitanto

Colder weather is upon us, which means cozy, woolly sweaters; warm puffy coats; tall leather boots; snuggling by the fire with hot cocoa loaded high with marshmallows; and making more soups, stews, and other delicious meals.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we are expecting a chilly and snowy winter, so my soup recipes can help nourish you with healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients that will keep you warm all winter long. It’s like a big hug in a bowl. more

By Stuart Mitchner

The most surprising stop on the tour of Midwestern cities my father treated me to when I was 12 was Racine, Wisconsin, home of the headquarters of Johnson Wax. Looking forward to Chicago with its skyscrapers, I wanted to drive on. “Just wait, you’ll see,” my father said. What I saw and was amazed by was a city of the future created by Frank Lloyd Wright. After Wright’s otherworldly Research Tower, skyscrapers seemed temporarily passé, so very 1950s. I left thinking of architects as writers whose works are big enough to live in. more

Do you love completing crossword puzzles in your spare time? Do you ever wonder how they are created with such regularity and precision by professional crossword puzzle experts?

On Sunday, January 14 at 3 p.m., the Arts Council of Princeton will be joined by crossword puzzle author and celebrity Mangesh Ghogre. Alongside bagels and coffee, Ghogre will give a refresher course on completing crossword puzzles and some handy tools for making puzzles of your own. Ghogre’s puzzles have been published in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. In an age of burgeoning artificial intelligence, Ghogre hopes to advocate for utilizing our own natural intelligence when it comes to clue making and problem solving. more

The Watershed Institute will be celebrating Groundhog Day a little early this year to share fun facts about these unique, comedic, and sometimes misunderstood animals. On Saturday, January 27 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., visitors will be led through a series of educational outdoor stations that include learning about the characteristics of a groundhog, searching for groundhog holes, meeting with naturalists for a treasure hunt/nature hike and, eventually, finding Wally the Woodchuck. Attendees will also be able to try chucking wood with a catapult or trebuchet. more

On Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m., Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson will perform at Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University. Ólafsson left a stunning debut impression with Princeton’s audiences when he performed during the 2022-2023 Princeton University Concert season.

J.S. Bach is especially close to the musician’s heart. Specifically, his album of the composer’s music for the Deutsche Grammophon label won both Best Instrumental Album and Album of the Year at the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards.  more

Experience Princeton Restaurant Week this March with new menus, prix fixe, and reduced pricing options. This annual event is perfect for visitors and locals alike. It is an excellent way to experience curated meals at local eateries, as well as drink pairings, food trends, and the possibility to hear from the chef and cooking staff. more

On Sunday, January 7, the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) will mark the 247th anniversary of the Battle of Princeton with its signature educational event, “Experience the Battle of Princeton.”

The event will begin at 9:45 a.m. with introductions and comments on the background of the battle. Members of the public are urged to arrive at the site by 9:15 a.m. to secure space and parking. A narrated reenactment of a portion of the Battle of Princeton will begin at 10 a.m. featuring reenactors portraying Crown and Continental forces. The reenactment will conclude by 11 a.m.  more

In 2016, Austrian cellist Sol Daniel Kim and Korean gayageum player Dayoung Yoon created a musical phenomenon bridging cultural divides through the universal language of music. Their unique fusion of instruments and musical styles will be showcased live at McCarter Theatre in “CelloGayageum: Lunar New Year Celebration” on Friday, February 2 at 8 p.m. By demonstrating the beauty and richness of South Korean music to audiences around the world, they are redefining what it means to be a global musical act. more

Interested students and families are invited to join the French American School of Princeton (FASP) for their Winter Open House on Saturday, January 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. This event is designed for prospective preschool through eighth grade students. more

On Thursday, December 28 from 5 to 8 p.m., Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton will be honoring the third day of Kwanzaa. On this day, special attention will be given to Ujima, which means “collective work and responsibility.” The aim of Ujima is to build and protect community, aiding each other and solving problems while ensuring that no man or woman ever feels entirely left alone. more

Karl J. Kuerner (b. 1957), Pennsylvania Farmer, 1996.

From January 27 to May 19, 2024, the Brandywine Museum of Art will be spotlighting Andrew Wyeth’s artistic connection and inspiration that he drew from the Kuerner family and their farm. During his lifetime, Wyeth painted numerous masterful studies of the Kuerner Farm, which sat adjacent to his own property.  more

Attention all runners and walkers! It’s time to put on your sneakers and hit the pavement for Cupid’s Chase 5K in Princeton on Saturday, February 10, 2024. Check in opens at 8:30 a.m. and the starting gun will go off at 10 a.m. more

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