Monmouth University President Patrick F. Leahy has been named to ROI-NJ’s Influencers: Higher Education 2022 list. The list highlights university leaders in New Jersey who have spearheaded meaningful improvements to their institution in the past year. According to ROI-NJ, presidents selected for the list represent schools that “graduate some of the top students in the country, many of whom will have global impact. Just as important, they will teach first-generation graduates that will have local impacts of equal measure.” more

New Jersey residents — it’s time to get your green on! The 8th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Asbury Park will take place on Sunday, March 13 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.., rain or shine. The parade will begin on Ocean Avenue at Sunset Avenue and proceed south to Cookman Avenue. Walkers will continue west on Cookman Avenue through the downtown and finish outside of Asbury Park City Hall. The parade is free to all participants! more

The College of New Jersey School of Business ranked 79th in Poets&Quants for Undergrads’ sixth annual best Undergraduate Business Schools 2022 ranking report. This year, the study ranked the top 94 business programs based on admissions standards, academic experience, and employment outcomes. 

The report is based on alumni survey responses and school-reported statistics, however, the methodology was updated for 2022. Changes included reducing weight even to average SAT scores from 35 percent to 10 percent. The weight given to acceptance rates was lowered from 35 percent to 30 percent. The average high school GPA of the most recently enrolled class (15 percent) was added along with the average percentage of students that reported being National Merit finalists or semi-finalists (15 percent).  more

It’s the summer conundrum that every parent faces — what camp do I sign my child up for this summer? While there are seemingly unlimited options for every interest in greater central New Jersey, one all-inclusive program that might appeal to your child is Rutgers Preparatory School Summer Programs. From in-classroom science classes to lacrosse coaching, Rutgers Prep has a variety of camp programs for different age levels.  more

On Saturday, March 5 at 11 a.m., join Gary Mount, owner of Terhune Orchards, for a free pruning class in his own orchards located at 330 Cold Soil Road in Princeton. Mount is frequently asked for his advice on pruning and will answer attendee questions through formal demonstrations and conversation. more

On view through March 20, 2022

Fans of Bruce Springsteen are invited to explore 49 years of Springsteen and the E Street Band history through exclusive interviews, iconic performances, and artifacts from the Bruce Springsteen Archives at Monmouth University. Partnering with the Grammy Museum Experience at the Prudential Center in Newark, the “Bruce Springsteen Live!” exhibit will be on view through March 20, 2022, before traveling to Los Angeles.  more

On March 1 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., take a tour through space and time, from the early days of space travel during the space race to present-day explorations of Mars. This unique program at Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is open to current and former service members only. Guest speakers will include present-day astronauts who will regal the audience with tales of their past and future space explorations and what it means for the future development of human understanding. Audience members will be able to get up-close and personal with model replicas of the Perseverance Mars rover and Ingenuity drone on temporary loan from NASA. The scientific conversations will continue over a catered dinner held at the space museum. 

To register for this enlightening evening of scientific discussion, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/intrepid-after-hours-to-the-moon-and-mars-tickets-262068362527. 

All visitors must follow the Museum’s health and safety guidelines. Following the city of New York’s Key to the City mandate, all visitors ages 5 and older will be required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses (except for those who have received the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), as well as identification, before entering the Museum. Please bring proof and ID with you to the program. Please review the FAQ below for a list of acceptable forms of proof of vaccination and ID.

More details about health guidelines and policies will be sent to all registrants ahead of the program. In the meantime, learn more here: intrepidmuseum.org/onboard-with-safety.

Veterans Programs are made possible by public funds facilitated by the New York City Council Committee on Veterans, in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. These programs are also supported by the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund. The Museum’s education programs are supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is located at West 46th Street in New York, N.Y. 

(Portrait by Peter C. Cook)

Princeton Legend and Witness to History

By Jean Stratton

Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States. Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton University. Nassau Street was a dirt road; most people traveled in horse-drawn carriages, and Henry Ford’s Model-T had not yet taken over the roads.

Silent movies were just beginning to attract an audience. There were no powered airplanes, household radios, television sets, fax machines, smartphones, computers, DVDs, or streaming. Certainly, no Facebook or Twitter.

Penicillin had not yet been discovered, nor was the polio vaccine available. Princeton Hospital had not yet been built, let alone become a medical center. The devastating 1918 influenza pandemic was more than a decade away.

It was 1902, the year Albert Edward Hinds was born in Princeton. more

Kathleen Biggins holds a block of carbon that produces 1 Kg of CO2 when burned. The U.S. annual emissions per person is 16 tons of C02, which is roughly two of these blocks per hour.

Opening Minds to the impacts of Climate Change

By Wendy Greenberg |Portraits by Andrew Wilkinson | Infographics courtesy of C-Change Conversations

They appear to be an unlikely group to advocate for and educate on climate change. They are not scientists, but they understand the science. They are not politicians; in fact, they are non-political. They have no hidden agenda, but what they have is a concern that climate change will harm our health and economy, and a passionate interest in the well-being of the Earth for future generations.
The 26 volunteers at C-Change Conversations are professional women (and one man), gathering scientific information on climate change, seeking skeptics, booking presentations, and hoping to open minds. They come from careers in marketing, communications, finance, investment, and business. In some ways the messengers are part of the message: that climate change affects all of us, and we all need to listen. They have become known as trusted messengers.

“We are nonpartisan. People can’t tell what our politics are. That is important to us,” said founder and President Kathleen Biggins of Princeton, where the group is based. “As far as I know, no one is doing it the way we are doing it — our approach and strategy are unique,” she says.

Not only is the timing crucial in terms of mitigating climate change damage, but the group sees a “greater opening” among those who were not previously open to learning that climate change can impact them.

C-Change collects and examines new information regularly and puts out a monthly newsletter to update others. Their science advisers, including Princeton’s own Climate Central, have contributed to the C-Change Primer that is the basis for presentations that take them all over the country. “We translate the science,” says Biggins. “We are careful about our role.”

They have been invited to present in 31 states, reaching 163 organizations, and get standing ovations in politically conservative areas. They speak in places that are comfortable to their audiences: garden clubs, country clubs, investment clubs, land trusts, churches, and schools. The presentation takes the topic out of the realm of the environmental and into the economic — how it will impact jobs, personal security and health, and exposure to geopolitical instability.

In the fall of 2019, Biggins and co-founder Katy Kinsolving wrote in Harvard Public Health Magazine that “the top predictor of one’s opinion on climate change is political party affiliation: Individual positions on the issue are often a litmus test of whether someone is a ‘good conservative’ or a ‘good liberal.’ … By meeting with those who are skeptical, in a place where they are comfortable and surrounded by people they consider to be peers and friends, we find they are more willing to listen. We often speak at regularly scheduled meetings, so that audience members do not have to consciously decide to come hear our message. This means they don’t feel disloyal to their ‘tribe,’ uncomfortable, or that they are wasting their time.” more

Photo from shutterstock.com

The Benefits of Unstructured Play and Nature-Based Camps

By Taylor Smith

Unstructured play is open-ended, and child-led. It is an opportunity for children to flex their creative muscles without adult guidelines as to what they can or cannot do. An example of this is bringing a coloring book to a child. A coloring book is filled with lines and shapes in which children are expected to color within. Alternatively, unstructured play would look more like handing a child a piece of paper and a box of crayons and telling them that they can create and imagine to their heart’s content.

Previous generations probably remember their parents or grandparents telling them to simply “go outside and play.” The benefits of this type of play are only now being fully understood. It has been recognized that there is a pivotal period in childhood development where children can imagine and formulate their own games and rules (waldorfeducation.org/waldorf-education). Even the practice of playing with dolls and toys, creating shapes and structures out of Lego bricks, and building one’s own “world” out of their imagination is significant. Toddlers, children, and even young teenagers benefit from role playing and acting out the scenarios that they dream up in their mind’s eye. This also aids social development, problem solving, and self-understanding in the sense that young people are learning how to occupy themselves and to develop their own creative reflexes.

Using one’s imagination also deepens social connections among children. Acting out storylines and building self-initiated games with their peers stimulates cognitive memory and social acuity, which is defined as the ability and inclination to perceive the psychological state of others and act accordingly.  more

Interview by Donald H. Sanborn III | Photo by Denise Applewhite (University Photographer, Office of Communications).

Award-winning poet and Princeton University professor Paul Muldoon has edited Paul McCartney’s two-volume anthology, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (published by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company).

In his introduction Muldoon reveals that The Lyrics is “based on 24 separate meetings over a five-year period” between 2015 and 2020. He adds that most of the meetings “took place in New York, and each involved two or three hours of intensive conversation” in which he and McCartney discussed “six to eight songs.”

Last February McCartney visited, via Zoom, “How to Write a Song,” a Princeton University course Muldoon teaches with Bridget Kearney (a founding member of the Brooklyn-based, multi-genre band Lake Street Dive, and winner of the 2005 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Jazz Category). The website for the University’s Lewis Center for the Arts describes the course as an “introduction to the art of writing words for music, an art at the core of our literary tradition from the Beowulf poet through Lord Byron and Bessie Smith to Bob Dylan and the Notorious B.I.G.”

Muldoon also is at work on a rock musical, Athens, Georgia, an adaptation of the Frogs of Aristophanes. The music is by singer-songwriter Stew (Mark Stewart), co-composer of the Broadway musical Passing Strange. Muldoon says that this version has a “strong racial justice component.”

The Lewis Center’s website describes Athens, Georgia as an “up-to-date version” that “combines slapstick and social justice” and “features appearances by the rock god Dionysus, the guitar hero Hercules, Check Berry, Little Richard and, of course, the Real Housewives of Hades.” Athens, Georgia is the subject of a course offered by the Lewis Center, in which students have the opportunity to follow the development of the musical, which was commissioned by the Public Theater.

Muldoon’s 14th collection of poetry, Howdie-Skelp, is available from Macmillan. According to Macmillan’s website, the poems in Howdie-Skelp include a “nightmarish remake of ‘The Waste Land,’ an elegy for his fellow Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson,” and “a heroic crown of sonnets that responds to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Muldoon will read from Howdie-Skelp at Labyrinth Books on March 1 (visit labyrinthbooks.com for details). more

Marian Anderson, center, with Albert Einstein. (Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs, 1898-1992, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania)

Marian Anderson in Princeton

By Donald H. Sanborn III

“Everyone has a gift for something,” contralto Marian Anderson is quoted as saying, “even if it is the gift of being a good friend.” In 1937 a unique friendship was formed after Anderson (1897-1993) gave a recital at McCarter Theatre.

Because of segregation, Anderson as an African American was denied lodging at a hotel in Princeton. In response, Albert Einstein invited her to stay at his home — an invitation he had extended to Paul Robeson two years earlier.

The meeting of Anderson and Einstein is the subject of a play, My Lord, What a Night. Written by Deborah Brevoort, the play recently was presented by Ford’s Theatre. The play’s title is derived from Anderson’s 1956 autobiography, My Lord, What a Morning.

Anderson’s autobiography, in turn, takes its title from a spiritual whose text includes the line, “To wake the nations underground.” Given the singer’s eventual impact on the civil rights movement, the line is striking.

When Brevoort was 7, her mother gave her a copy of Anderson’s book. “I remember loving that autobiography,” she says. When the singer was on a list of subjects for a commission, Brevoort eagerly welcomed the idea of writing about her, in part because the research process would provide an opportunity to reread the volume. The playwright was particularly fascinated by the story of Einstein opening his home to Anderson, an act that “launched this lifelong friendship.” more

The original stone farmhouse dates to the 1730s. Sean Skeuse’s parents had added on, as had prior residents. Sean and his wife, Megan, brought in the design teams of Eastridge Design Home (interiors) and Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction to modernize the home, letting in more light, though staying true to its historic integrity.

The Skeuse Homestead is Reimagined for Today’s Living

By Ilene Dube | Eastridge Design, Interior Design; Lasley Brahaney, Architecture and Construction; Interior Photography by Pam Connolly; Exterior Photography by Tom Grimes

Sean Skeuse spent his formative years on a 200-acre property in the rolling farmland surrounding Stockton, New Jersey. Growing things was in his blood. When he and his wife, Megan, were living in Boulder, Colorado, he became immersed in the cannabis industry, learning about the cultivation, extraction, and retail side of medical marijuana from the ground up.

Upon legalization of hemp farming in New Jersey in 2019, Skeuse returned to the family homestead – his parents had relocated to Houston. Skeuse’s firm, Headquarters Hill Hemp (HHH), has dedicated 14 acres to growing Berry Blossom Flower, an organically grown product containing less than .3 percent THC, as monitored by the state of New Jersey. (THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, and hemp growers typically market their non-psychoactive product as CBD.) The self-described modern-day farmer, who earned a degree in business administration at Rider University, also raises corn, soy, rye, and apples.

Megan, who teaches at Princeton Montessori School, always loved animals. Her childhood pets included a pony, a horse, birds, guinea pigs, bunnies, turtles, and dogs and cats. Today, Sean, Megan, and two daughters keep goats, pigs, silky chickens, rabbits, and geese. The animal theme continues inside on the wallpaper. more

The Wedding Dress: Styles and Stories

By Stuart Mitchner

For our lavish New York wedding (no music, no frills, no rice, bearded nondenominational minister, statue of St. Francis looking on), my wife wore a knee-length, crocheted off white dress purchased from the teenage girls’ department at Lord and Taylor (she’s 5’0).

Also 5’0 and two years younger on her wedding day in February 1840, Queen Victoria, according to numerous online sources, wore a white, off-the-shoulder gown with a structured, eight-piece bodice featuring a wide, open neckline; short, puffed sleeves trimmed with lace; a floor-length skirt containing seven widths of fabric; and a satin train over six yards long, which 12 attendants carried down the aisle.

Another thing my wife and Queen Victoria have in common is a fondness for Charles Dickens, who resisted invitations to visit the Queen until shortly before his death in 1870. Of all the wedding gowns in literature, the best known must be the one worn by Miss Havisham when young Pip first sees her in Great Expectations: “She was dressed in rich materials, — satins, and lace, and silks, — all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white.” Dressed for a wedding that never happened, she had but “half arranged” her veil, her watch and chain “were not put on, and some lace for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers…” And everything within Pip’s view “which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre and was faded and yellow.”

Credit to Victoria

In The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion (Running Press $24) by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Queen Victoria is credited with popularizing the long, white wedding gown, which was solemnized with the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Among the book’s illustrations is Michel Garnier’s painting The Marriage Contract Interrupted (1789), a preview of Miss Havisham’s dilemma that shows a bride in full wedding regalia “dropping her quill in surprise as an unexpected clause derails the ceremony.” more

Untitled, 1982 by Grif Teller. From “Crossroads of Commerce.” (Courtesy of Dan Cupper)

Ghost of a Town

By Anne Levin

At the bottom of Alexander Street where Princeton meets West Windsor, joggers, walkers, cyclists, and nature lovers gather — especially in fair weather — along the banks of the Delaware & Raritan (D&R) Canal. The leafy site known as Turning Basin Park has a parking lot on one side of the road, and a popular kayak/canoe launching site on the other. A few houses line Basin and Canal streets, which hug the narrow waterway. It is peaceful and quiet.

There is little, if anything, to suggest that, nearly 200 years ago, the area was a bustling center of commerce and industry. Princeton Basin was a thriving small town along the 65-mile canal, a mile south and worlds away from quiet, academic Princeton proper.

Princeton Basin took its name from two inlets, or basins, which opened off the north bank of the canal on either side of a turn bridge. These were small ponds where barges could moor overnight, unload their freight, and turn around. Vividly documented in historical publications written in 1939 and 1983, the Basin boasted coal yards, a lumber yard, a hotel, a tavern, and some 20 residences. The general store was a popular meeting place. A school was built as a mission by Princeton’s Trinity Episcopal Church. Pulled by mules along the banks, barges carried coal, hay, produce, quarried stone, and more between Bordentown and New Brunswick. The Princeton Steam Mills and the New Jersey Ironclad Roofing and Mastic Company were located at the Basin. It was busy, busy, busy — but the Basin’s heyday was short-lived.

“Settlement of the Basin dates from the early 1830s, when a railroad building furor was sweeping the eastern seaboard of the United States,” reads Old Princeton’s Neighbors, a 1939 publication of the Federal Writers Project. “And to Commodore Robert F. Stockton, United States naval officer and member of one of Princeton’s pioneer families, belongs much of the credit for building the canal and railroad which served central New Jersey. To his initiative, also, Princeton Basin owes its origin.”

Finished in 1834, the canal had four locks at Trenton, and another at Kingston. It wound through the smaller communities of Rocky Hill, Griggstown, Millstone, and Somerville. The Camden and Amboy Railroad ran a line next to the waterway. But as the railroads began to dominate the transportation industry, the canal, and its town, went into a steady decline starting in the 1870s. more

Gettysburg Cannon at Sunset (Sept. 2021) by Josh Friedman

Interview by Taylor Smith

Natural beauty is all around us, but how often do we press “pause” to find a change of pace, a new frame of mind, or inner peace? 

Bucks County-based photographer Josh Friedman has developed a following for his painterly photographic portrayals of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here, Friedman offers some insight into his own creative process and encourages everyone to find an activity in which they achieve a “flow” state — something that is immersive, yet effortless. An opportunity to lose oneself in an activity while enjoying a fulfilling creative experience.  more

February 26 and 27 

Join the celebration at Longwood Gardens for the annual Orchid House Opening Weekend on February 26 and 27. Meet the brains behind the beauty of Longwood’s orchid collection including facts about orchid restoration, research, and conservation. Orchid Collection Curator Greg Griffis will be on hand to answer attendee questions about everything orchid-related. Admission is free with the purchase of Gardens admission. Buy tickets in advance here: https://longwoodgardens.org/events-performances/events/orchid-house-opening-weekendmore

Princeton University’s Public Lecture Series will continue March 16 from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at McCosh 50 with Marc M. Howard of Georgetown University, one of the country’s leading voices and advocates for criminal justice and prison reform. He is a professor of government and law, and the founding director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University. He is also the founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, a nonprofit organization that launched in 2020.  more