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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Deconstructing America’s founders
Historians in Europe may explain national legacies in terms of sweeping social or political movements, but in the United States, collective explanations do not resonate. “We think of individual actions by individual actors,” said Alan R. Gibson, a professor at California State University, Chico, who spoke at Robertson Hall Sept. 18 as part of Princeton’s commemoration of Constitution Day. For America’s founding fathers, reverential best-selling books are only part of the story. Detractors tend to view the founders, particularly those who owned slaves, as hypocrites or worse. Some academics have taken sides in the debate, Gibson said, selectively framing the stories of figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington to support specific viewpoints. To get past divisive debates, Gibson urged taking a comprehensive view of the founders and understanding the context of their words and actions. Some details, such as Jefferson’s writings on race, may be unsettling, but they cannot be ignored, Gibson said, invoking the words of Immanuel Kant: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”
The James Madison Program and the Program in American Studies co-sponsored Gibson’s talk as well as a Sept. 17 lecture by Professor Stanley Katz of the Woodrow Wilson School titled “Who’s Afraid of Senator Byrd? Constitutionalism, History and Academic Freedom.”
Headless no more
When Herb Hobler ’44 snapped a picture of wife Randy, center, in Magdalena Abakanowicz’s sculpture Big Figures outside the University Art Museum last spring, his camera picked up one detail that the artist hadn’t intended. Hobler does not know the identity of the young man planting his face on the shoulders of the figure on the right and has no idea how he got there. “We didn’t even see him at the time,” Hobler writes.
Faculty in the news
New York Times “Economics Scene” columnist David Leonhardt spotlighted economics professor Orley Ashenfelter in a Sept. 16 book review about how statistical analysis tends to draw skepticism in fields that typically eschew numbers. Ian Ayres’ new book, Super Crunchers, features several examples, including that of Ashenfelter, who developed a method for predicting the quality of Bordeaux wines by using weather data. … In the wake of the Minnesota bridge collapse, architecture professor Guy Nordenson dissected the structure of bridges in an August broadcast of NPR’s “Studio 360.” Bridges have “bones” (towers) and “muscles” (cables), he said. “Without the muscles, the skeleton is a heap,” Nordenson explained. “It has to do with the fact that there is compression and tension. The compression goes into the bone and the tension goes into the muscle.” … Uwe Reinhardt, the James Madison Professor of Political Economy, wrote an Aug. 28 opinion piece for Forbes about solving the problems of America’s healthcare system. … Chemical engineering professor T. Kyle Vanderlick will become the first female dean of engineering at Yale University, the New Haven Register reported Sept. 7. Vanderlick, who has taught at Princeton since 1998, will begin her new job Jan. 1.
Football fan Lauren Nigro ’09 shows her stripes during Princeton’s Sept. 15 opener against Lehigh. The Tigers, who shared the Ivy League championship with Yale last year, got off to an inauspicious start when tailback R.C. Lagomarsino ’09 fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage. Princeton would commit three more turnovers in the first half – two interceptions and another fumble – and fall behind 23-0. The Tigers recovered with three touchdown drives in the second half, but it was too little too late. Lehigh won, 32-21. Defensive back Dan Kopolovich ’10 called the Lehigh game a “real eye-opener” in a Sept. 19 press conference. “Everyone is eager to get out on the field now to show that what happened Saturday isn’t consistent with how Princeton plays football,” he said. Princeton faces Lafayette Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. in Easton, Pa.
Photo by Frank Wojciechowski
More at PAW online
Revisit Reunions 2007 through PAW’s exclusive video clips and slide shows. Student filmmaker Noah Arjomand ’09 and photographers Ricardo Barros, Beverly Schaefer, and Frank Wojciechowski captured the color and tradition of Reunions and Commencement, from alumni sporting events and the P-rade to the procession of graduates.
Posted by Brett Tomlinson, Princeton Alumni Weekly
Monday, September 10, 2007
First and 10: What you need to know about Princeton football in 2007
A Weekly Blog Summer Special
1 – Princeton loss in 2006. Cornell topped the Tigers 14-7 at Schoellkopf Field, and coach Jim Knowles expects another competitive game when his team comes to Princeton for a Friday-night showdown Oct. 26. “We match up pretty well against them,” Knowles said in August. “All three years that I’ve been [at Cornell], they’ve been really close games. There’s a nice rivalry there.”
2 – Starting running backs returning. Fullback Rob Toresco ’08 and tailback R.C. Lagomarsino ’09 accounted for a third of Princeton’s offensive attack last season. The two combined for 779 rushing yards and caught 49 passes for 491 receiving yards.
3 – Passes thrown by Bill Foran ’08 last season. The new starting quarterback is a former sprinter on the Princeton track team who excelled as a kick returner and part-time wide receiver in the last three years, but he disputes the notion that he’s a running quarterback. “I think that’s a little unfair,” Foran said. “Just because you’re fast doesn’t mean you’re a runner. As a quarterback you have to be both [a runner and a passer]. … I can make all the throws.”
4 – Princeton games decided by a field goal or less last season. The Tigers won all four: 27-26 at Colgate in overtime, 31-28 over Harvard, 31-30 over Penn in overtime, and 34-31 at Yale. “Our largest lead [last season] was 14 points, and that was in the very last game,” head coach Roger Hughes said. “We got to enjoy that lead for two minutes.”
5 – More yards between the kicker and the far end zone. Kickers will start at their own 30-yard-line, instead of the 35. The NCAA made the change to prevent touchbacks and encourage more returns, but offensive coordinator Dave Rackovan is not sold on that logic. “I think it’s going to create injury situations,” Rackovan said, noting that players will have five more yards to build up speed before colliding. “It’s not a great rule, but we have to live by it.”
6 – Uniform number of wide receiver Brendan Circle ’08. Jeff Terrell ’07 slipped 56 passes into the sure hands of number 6 last season, and Circle finished the year with a league-best 835 receiving yards. “He doesn’t have great speed,” Hughes said of Circle, “but he has great savvy and great football sense and understands how to get open.”
7 – Princeton wins in its last seven games against Lehigh, Lafayette, and Columbia. The Tigers have played well against this year’s September opponents in the last three years. With wins over Lehigh and Lafayette in 2006 (the Patriot League’s top two teams), Hughes joked that the Tigers could have staked a claim to the Patriot title.
8 – Ivy championships for Princeton in the league’s 51 seasons. By splitting the title with Yale last year, the Tigers ended a 10-year drought. Princeton celebrated the achievement by including a picture of its Ivy championship ring in the corner of each page of the 2007 media guide.
9 – Starters lost: four on offense, four on defense, plus punter Colin McDonough ’07. Recent graduates J.J. Artis ’07 and Tim Strickland ’07 both were first-team All-Ivy defensive backs last season, and replacing them will be a significant challenge for defensive coordinator Steve Verbit. The punting job likely will go to Princeton-native Ryan Coyle ’09. “He stepped in for two games last year when Colin was hurt and has really shown a lot of promise,” Hughes said.
10 – Games, starting this Saturday. The complete schedule:
Sept. 15 LEHIGH, 6 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Lafayette, 6 p.m.
Sept. 29 COLUMBIA, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 HAMPTON, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Brown, 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Harvard, 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 CORNELL, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 at Penn, noon
Nov. 10 YALE, 1 p.m.
Nov. 17 at Dartmouth, 12:30 p.m.