Princeton employees honored for special achievement, service and management leadership

President's Achievement Award winners with the president

Every spring brings a burst of pride at Princeton University in the annual time-honored tradition of celebrating Princeton employee service and achievement. This year, 517 employees are being recognized for their dedicated years of service, along with six staff members who were named as President Achievement Award recipients and two employees who received the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award.

The Unstoppable Maria Ressa

Much has changed in the days since Maria Ressa joined Julia Wolfe on stage at Richardson Auditorium on Feb. 19 as they accepted the University’s highest honors for alumni. Maria’s message – to the students following in her footsteps at Toms River North High School and to the Alumni Day audience – has taken on an even greater urgency and poignancy for me as I watch Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and effort to undermine its democracy:

“Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without these, we have no shared reality, no rule of law, no democracy.”

Maria’s rallying cry is global, but it is also deeply individual. She spoke about how Princeton’s Honor Code has been foundational for her, in the values she brings to her media organization, Rappler, and as she rallies fellow journalists to fight for facts and the freedom of the press. At its core, the Honor Code is about individual accountability and responsibility. That’s where change begins.

Roots are important to Maria, too, as she told Katherine Dailey of the Daily Princetonian on the drive back to campus from Toms River:

“I like going back to Princeton because you walk in the steps of your old self. So this is a much younger, more insecure person whose shoes that I walked into… So coming back to high school was like stepping in the shoes of my high school self, when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life…”

And she pays it forward – whether through sitting down with the Daily Princetonian, meeting with students from her high school alma mater, or pushing for 7 court approvals and flying half-way around the world to attend Alumni Day.

Maria’s voice also resonates on a very personal level for me — whose mom emigrated from China and raised me as a single parent. Maria told the students at Toms River how she was very shy, barely speaking English, when she started at the school. “There was a devil on my shoulder, pounding me to do well, to prove that I belong.” But something she learned playing basketball at Toms River gave her the determination to persevere:

“Face your fear – touch, hold, and embrace it. If you take the sting out of your fear you are unstoppable.”

And there is no stopping Maria Ressa.

Ben Chang,
Deputy Vice President for Communications

Politics & Polls #227: 40 Acres, a Mule, and an Early Civil Rights Champion (Bruce Levine)

In this episode, Sam Wang takes a deep dive into the life of Thaddeaus Stevens – a 19th century statesman and an often-forgotten champion for racial justice in America – with historian Bruce Levine, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois and the bestselling author of four books on the Civil War era. They also discuss “Special Field Order 15,” which later became known by the wartime phrase “40 acres and a mule,” in which some freed Black families were given 40 acres of tillable land.

Laugh, cry, click, share: Princeton virtual theater experience aims to disrupt stigma around mental illness

“The Manic Monologues” is a virtual theater experience designed to capture storytelling and shareability. Monologues of true stories, performed by professional actors, and pre-recorded conversations with Princeton students, experts and activists aim to disrupt the stigma around mental illness. Visit the interactive website. (The Manic Monologues” website is an intensive media experience containing audio and animated graphics. It is best viewed on a desktop or laptop device, rather than a mobile or tablet device.)

Princeton, Rutgers among first tenants of ‘The Hub’, in New Brunswick

From Princeton and Rutgers universities will join two health care giants in becoming the first tenants of The Hub, a technology and innovation complex planned for downtown New Brunswick.

Related coverage:

Weirdly, Monkeys Keep Domesticating Themselves. Huh.

From Popular Mechanics: Scientists say that while “domestication syndrome” has been theorized since the days of Charles Darwin, a new study is the first concrete data to show a link between group behaviors and physical signs of individual domestication. In the new paper, Princeton University researchers study the combination of a specific facial fur patch on marmosets with a vocal pattern they say corresponds to the patch.

Related from The Daily PrincetonianU. study finds that monkeys may have self-domesticated like humans

Major High Meadows gift renames Princeton Environmental Institute

Carl and Judy Ferenbach, pictured at their Vermont farm.

The High Meadows Foundation, a philanthropic organization co-founded by Judy and Carl Ferenbach III, a member of the Class of 1964, has made a transformative gift to Princeton University that will support environmental research and educational initiatives through the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), the University’s interdisciplinary center for environmental research, education and outreach. PEI has been renamed the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI).

Additional coverage by AxiosHigher ed’s expanding climate push
Princeton University yesterday announced a “transformative gift” from the High Meadows Foundation, a philanthropy co-founded by an alum.

  • The money will expand the school’s interdisciplinary environmental institute, with a focus on climate change, energy, biodiversity, food and water.
  • The amount was not disclosed, but spokesperson Ben Chang said, “the gift will ensure that environmental research at Princeton will be supported into the next half-century and beyond.”

Tweet by Princeton University about the recent largest COVID-19 contact tracing study to date, which was led by Princeton researchers

Your movements are being tracked down to the inch: Colleen Josephson and Yan Shvartzshnaider

Cookies: Tech Security & Privacy: Guests on the podcast’s first season finale episode are Yan Shvartzshnaider and Colleen Josephson. They recently wrote a fascinating piece for Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy blog, Freedom To Tinker, about how a new technology embedded in the most recent generation of Apple iPhones has the technology to track the owner’s movements, down to the inch, indoors.

Politics & Polls #206: What Happens Next?

From Politics & Polls: As the election inches closer, polling data seems favorable to the Democrats, especially in a number of Senate races. Yet some say the Democrats are being too optimistic and overly confident, mirroring some of the sentiments from 2016. In this episode of Politics & Polls, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss what will happen next — and the problems that are different from 2020. They go into the uncertainty not just on Election Day, but after — even in the new Congress.

Princeton University professor discovers clues to Alzheimer’s disease, wins largest unrestricted scientific prize

Clifford Brangwynne, professor of chemical and biological engineering

From Princeton’s Clifford Brangwynne has won America’s largest unrestricted scientific prize for his discovery that upends previous understandings of the internal organization of cells.

Princeton Professor of Visual Arts Deana Lawson wins Hugo Boss Prize, first photographer to be awarded the prize

Deana Lawson, professor of visual arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts

Deana Lawson, professor of visual arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts, and renowned photographer, has been awarded the Hugo Boss Prize. Sponsored by Hugo Boss and presented by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the prize has been awarded biannually since 1996 and is considered among the most prestigious awards within the contemporary art world.