Thursday, March 26, 2015

John Rogers Inspires NY Times Essay on Money and Decisions

John W. Rogers Jr., founder and chief executive of Ariel Investments in Chicago, inspired a new hire at his company at a lunch they shared. The new hire, then 22-year old Mellody Hobson, went on to become the president of Ariel Investments. 

In a New York Times essay on March 26, Hobson reflected on the lunch and Rogers's comments in an essay titled "Making Money Secondary in Decisions," in a "Your Money" special section. Hobson wrote,

I hung on John’s every word, filing away his every utterance. 
And then he told me this: “Don’t make decisions based on money.” Come again?  
This was peculiar advice for an investment manager to bestow — wasn’t every investment decision he made based on his research into which companies would thrive and make money? . . . 
From my older and wiser perspective, the warning is so legitimate that it is deceptively simplistic. Yet I see people making major life decisions for the wrong reason — money — nearly every day. So I question the young person who wants to take the job that pays more over the one that inspires her, the graduate who pursues the field he thinks will be more lucrative instead of the one in which he will thrive, the bride or groom who marries the financially secure mate over the one who offers true compatibility, partnership and love. They ought to anchor personal life choices with long-term consequences in something more meaningful than money. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Doug McGrath Writes About "Beautiful" Project in PAW

Doug McGrath drew on his experience writing for the Triangle Show in penning the Tony Award-winning musical "Beautiful," about the career of singer-songwriter Carole King. In an essay titled "Writing Carole King's Life, Thanks to the Triangle Club," in the January 7 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, McGrath wrote,

Everything I used to write Beautiful, I learned from my Triangle shows: sitting in the audience and listening for what works and what doesn’t and when it doesn’t, quickly finding a way to change it. It was at 185 Nassau St. and McCarter Theatre that I first learned not to be sentimental about something just because I wrote it.
At Princeton, I performed in several Triangle shows before writing one. The first show I wrote, Happily Ever After — for which I did the book and co-wrote the lyrics with David E. Kelley ’79 — received a fairy-tale reception from The Daily Princetonian. My second show, String of Pearls, which I wrote senior year, was more string than pearls. Our first run-through ran longer than Lawrence of Arabia. The officers of the club brought me into a room that in my memory had one lightbulb hanging from a fraying cord. They told me I needed to cut the show — a lot. I was shocked by this impertinent notion. Of course, they were right. This lesson stayed with me — by the time Beautifulopened, it was 20 minutes shorter than when we started.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Steve Strogatz Ponders "Pi" and Asks "Why?"

Pi Day came and went peacefully, with moderate intake of pies, and Cornell math professor and Google Scholar Steve Strogatz turned to the pages of the March 13 (of course) issue of the New Yorker to describe pi and ask why if so fascinates segments of the public. In the article, "Why Pi Matters," Strogatz notes,

So it’s fair to ask: Why do mathematicians care so much about pi? Is it some kind of weird circle fixation? Hardly. The beauty of pi, in part, is that it puts infinity within reach. Even young children get this. The digits of pi never end and never show a pattern. They go on forever, seemingly at random—except that they can’t possibly be random, because they embody the order inherent in a perfect circle. This tension between order and randomness is one of the most tantalizing aspects of pi.
Pi touches infinity in other ways. For example, there are astonishing formulas in which an endless procession of smaller and smaller numbers adds up to pi. One of the earliest such infinite series to be discovered says that pi equals four times the sum 1 – 1/3 + 1/5 – 1/7 + 1/9 – 1/11 + . The appearance of this formula alone is cause for celebration. It connects all odd numbers to pi, thereby also linking number theory to circles and geometry. In this way, pi joins two seemingly separate mathematical universes, like a cosmic wormhole.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Honorary Classmate Michael Graves Dies at 80

Michael Graves h80 died yesterday in Princeton at the age of 80. He had been the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus and an honorary member of the Class of 1980. An obituary in the New York Times stated,

Mr. Graves was first associated with the New York Five, a group of architects who achieved cult-like stature by helping to redefine modernism in the 1970s. He went on to design projects like the headquarters of the health care company Humana in Louisville, Ky., and the Portland Municipal Building in Oregon, which exemplified postmodernism with their reliance on color and ornament and made him a celebrity.

He used his fame as a brand, designing housewares for Target while continuing to run a busy practice even as postmodernism fell out of fashion and Mr. Graves’s reputation with it.

The School of Architecture's profile of him can be found here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sally Frank Quoted in NY Times Article on Women and Eating Clubs

A February 20 article in the New York Times quoted Sally Frank on her perspective on eating clubs and women at Princeton. Titled "At Princeton, Women Make Strides at Clubs That Once Barred Them," the article said:
Ivy’s elections also resulted in a gender-balanced group of officers, which had not happened in recent years. Ms. Mott said that she was excited about that, and encouraged by the opportunities for change given the short institutional memory of the club. 
Also buoyed by the results was Ms. Frank, now 55, the woman who took on the male-only clubs and won. 
“It’s extremely gratifying,” she said. “The election isn’t going to end all sexism on Princeton’s campus. But it can help.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On the Move: Florence DiStefano Hudson Joins Internet2

After a long career at IBM, class president Florence DiStefano Hudson will be joining the Internet2 consortium at Senior VP and Chief Innovation Officer. Hudson assumes the new post on March 16. A press release from Internet2 stated:

Hudson has more than 33 years in leadership positions at IBM including vice president and director in Corporate Strategy, vice president in the Systems and Technology Group, and vice president and acting chief technology officer of the IBM Global Industrial Sector. She brings a unique integration of business and technical experience and will provide senior strategic leadership for Internet2 and the broader research and higher education community in the areas of innovation, advanced technologies and new services . . .

In her new role at Internet2, Hudson will serve as the primary focal point to stimulate and catalyze the tremendous innovative capacity of the entire Internet2 community. She will organize new technology-driven initiatives across and beyond advanced networking and infrastructure, federated identity management and cloud services. She will also broaden the scope and value of Internet2 to its members by collaboratively and proactively working with the research and education (R&E) community to develop and implement new, leading-edge concepts.

Internet2® is a member-owned advanced technology community founded by the nation's leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve common technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions. I

PAW Remembers 1981 Cover by Rob Smiley

The Princeton Alumni Weekly's Throwback Thursday feature on February 25 looked back fondly on Rob Smiley's New Yorker-inspired cover that appeared on the May 4, 1981 cover.  The item said,

Princeton history columnist Gregg Lange ’70 once called Rob Smiley ’80’s May 4, 1981, cover image — pictured at right — “the most successful PAW cover of all time, and my favorite by far.”

The illustration shows a map of Princeton and beyond, executed by Smiley as an inspired parody of Saul Steinberg’s famous cover for The New Yorker, titled “View of the World from 9th Avenue.” Steinberg’s map ran in 1976; Smiley’s ran five years later (with the standard PAW banner; the New Yorker-style type was added for a poster version of the image).

“The loving touches — the WPRB radio tower on Holder Hall, the prominence of the Nassau Hall bell, PJ’s Pancake House, and even the New Yorker typeface replacing the PAW banner, were executed brilliantly by Smiley,” Lange wrote. “The resulting homage has been one of the few PAW covers to be reproduced for the public by popular demand, not to mention sold for real money.”