Friday, June 1

Evolution of Campus Architecture

Back in 1957 when Jon Hlafter was a freshman at Princeton University, there were some 3 million gross square feet of floor space on the campus. That figure has tripled in the past five decades. And Hlafter, who as been at Princeton University for 39 years and now has the title of university architect, has been watching and monitoring all along.

This expansion is the topic of a talk Hlafter will deliver at the university’s reunions celebration on Friday, June 1, at 9 a.m. at McDonnell Hall, room A01. The talk is sponsored by the Class of 1957.

While the campus has blossomed in both its size and its architectural diversity, its growth is actually not that unusual, says Hlafter. “It’s important to say that it is in the nature of universities to grow, because human knowledge is always growing,” he says. “And it is the purpose of universities to explore and understand our world.”

Hlafter’s talk will focus not on architecture (the campus has buildings by Robert Venturi, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and other celebrated architects), but rather on simply how the campus has changed visually in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

“It’s about the evolution of the campus,” Hlafter says. “I’ll be using some diagrams that show how it has grown from 1756 to the present.”

There was virtually no growth on the Princeton campus between the years of the Great Depression through World War II and beyond. Firestone Library, built in 1948, was the only new construction of significance during that period. Dillon Gymnasium had burned during the war, so it was reconstructed and enlarged. But in the decade of the 1960s, everything changed.

“The reason for what turned out to be a very dramatic period of growth in the ‘60s and early ‘70s was several fold,” Hlafter says. “The Russians set up Sputnik in 1957 and Princeton University, like many universities across the country, realized that new science buildings were needed to improve the education of our youth in various areas of technology. The combination of that and just the general need to modernize after so long of a period of no building resulted in a very significant expansion in a very short time.”

Contemporary buildings began to appear on the campus, which had until then been built in a traditional style. “In order to add to the campus as efficiently and economically as possible, the buildings were pretty much designed in what I suppose most people would call a modern style,” says Hlafter. “And therefore that was a break from the earlier buildings in the first third of the 20th century which were Collegiate Gothic.”

By the early 1970s, Princeton University had built a number of laboratories. It had used a gift from the Jadwin family to construct both Jadwin Hall for the Department of Physics, and Jadwin Gymnasium for the Department of Athletics. There was a brief hiatus in the mid-1970s, Hlafter says, when the priority was to consolidate people in a new set of circumstances and in some cases squeeze additional faculty and staff into existing buildings.

As the university began to develop its residential college system and women were admitted, the undergraduate student body grew from about 3,200 to about 4,500. In about 1980 it was decided that all freshmen and sophomores would be assigned to residential colleges.

“In that period, existing buildings were reused in order to allow 5 residential colleges to operate,” says Hlafter. “Rockefeller and Mathey made use of dormitories in the northwest corner of the campus. Butler and Wilson were in the middle of the campus, and Forbes emerged from the residential college that had formed about the former Princeton Inn. All of that happened with relatively little new construction, except for Wu Hall by Venturi.”

Campus expansion was slow but steady in the 1980s. There was significant growth of research in molecular biology, and three laboratories were built to accommodate that. The university is now anticipating completion of the new science library at the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane, designed by the celebrated Gehry.

More change is coming, and Hlafter plans to address not only a history of the past, but also conceptual plans for the future.

— Anne Levin

Inside Chocolate

It’s chemical name, theobroma, translates into “food of the gods.” Many who have savored a rich morsel of chocolate melting on the tongue agree that it does contain a hint of the divine. Historically chocolate has served as a religious host, cash crop, currency, and child pacifier. It has been endowed with mythic powers and credited as a hallucinogen, aphrodisiac, panacea treacle, and the way to a woman’s heart.

Exactly what draws us to this dark indulgence ranges far beyond the scope of the laboratory. But Princeton assistant chemistry professor Stefan Bernhard will do his best to unravel this magic bean’s mystery in “The Chemistry of Chocolate” on Friday, June 1, at 2:30 p.m. at the Frick Laboratory, Kresge Auditorium (Room 120). This Princeton University Reunions lecture is open to the public.

While he does teach one course on chocolate chemistry, it is scarcely Bernhard’s life’s research. In fact, most of Bernhard’s days, during his five years at Princeton, have been spent trying to make better solar energy for us all. His work involves synthesizing various metal complex-based materials to develop new light-emitting devices.

Bernhard’s initial fascination with chocolate came from his native Switzerland. At age 16, prior to leaving for Germany to attend the University of Freibourg, Bernhard took a job at a local chocolate factory. Always the chemist, he soon achieved a position in quality control, checking, testing — and tasting. “I grew to hate the stuff shortly after working there,” he recalls.

Bernhard went off to Freibourg, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry. But each summer he would return to work at the hometown chocolate factory. His love for chocolate gradually returned. “But I like French chocolates best of all, and in moderation,” he says.

Aztecs and Mayas stumbled upon the cacao tree in the moist tropics of Andean foothills at about 500 to 1,000 feet of elevation. They soon discovered that this mid-growth tree, about 12 to 25 feet tall, yielded a large pod filled with beans and pulp from which heaven itself could be processed. They ground the beans and mixed them with water to create several beverages, deemed fit only for nobles and members of the elite priesthood. Aztecs termed this delight “xXocolatl” (bitter water), a word that morphed into “chocolate.”

From the tree. There are three initial, much-debated steps to the cocoa harvesting process that growers and chocolatiers agonize over as the key to quality. After the beans and pulp are plucked from the pod, they must be quickly sun dried for somewhere between three to seven days. Not long enough, and there will be mold instead of fermentation, too long and the flavor will be burned away.

Next, the beans are roasted, de-shelled, and ground. Again, how long and how finely differs from producer to producer. This final grinding of the bean’s core produces a chocolate liquor that, when cooled, becomes basic baker’s chocolate. Then, depending on recipe, much of the cocoa butter (the bean’s edible fat) is removed.

Dark chocolate is created from the liquor by adding sugar, some cocoa butter, and a dash of vanilla. Milk chocolate has all these, plus some dry milk powder. White chocolate has no chocolate liquor, but consists only of cocoa butter and sugar.

To the lab. Chocolate is one of several alkaloid molecules making up the group called methylxanthines. These molecules occur naturally in coffee as caffeine, in tea as theophyllene, in cocoa tree as theobromine, and in other forms in about 60 other plant species. Like caffeine, chocolate’s theobromine acts initially as a stimulant, but to a much lesser degree. It generally stays in the body about 6 to 10 hours.

Theobromine relaxes the body’s smooth muscles, and thus has been recommended as a diuretic and as a treatment in cases of mild cardiac failure. And yes, it is true, chocolate’s relaxing effect and its ability to dilate blood vessels makes it a proven way to reduce high blood pressure. Theobromine levels are about double in dark as opposed to milk chocolate, so for medication purposes, go dark.

Into the mouth. Britain’s Cadbury Chocolate Company keeps tallies on all national chocolate consumption. New Zealanders, with a huge Cadbury factory right on their own Southern Isle, eat on average seven pounds of chocolate annually, while their Australian neighbors double that with 14. In America we enjoy 17 pounds of chocolate per person per year, which falls in line with most European nations, where residents eat between 16 and 18 pounds each year.

But the grand winners of the chocolate appreciation award are, as expected, the Swiss. The average Swiss, Bernhard’s father, for one, devours 22 pounds of chocolate year after year.

The one aspect of chocolate consumption that absolutely escapes Bernhard’s scientific analysis is why women so much prefer it to men. “I have studied the make up of both genders, and found nothing that chemically would lead to this,” he says. “I even ask my students. The women admit they crave it more, but they cannot tell me why.”

— Bart Jackson

Education: Who’s on First?

Are we losing the race? For generations American politicians and pundits have been worried that our nation’s students are dropping the educational lead. First there worries that the Russians, with their space-probing prowess, have gotten out in front. Then there was worry that the disciplined Japanese with their clever, wildly popular electronics, are ahead. Most recently it appears that residents of India are coming on strong. However imaginary these global education Olympics, there is a belief that they lead to economic gold, and they are taken very seriously.

But Robert Burkhardt, lifelong educator and headmaster of the innovative Eagle Rock School in Colorado, points to a uniquely American educational edge. The country’s creativity, he argues, is being fueled by a system and spirit that will long keep us front runners. A Princeton alumnus, Burkhardt joins several fellow educators in an alumni-faculty forum, “Education and Competition: Are American Children Falling Too Far Behind?,” on Friday, June 1, at 9:15 a.m. at Princeton University’s McCosh Hall, Room 10. This panel discussion is open to the public.

In addition to Burkhardt, panelists include Tonya Chisolm Miles ‘82, Maryland State Board of Education; Misha Simmonds ‘97, associate partner, NewSchools Venture Fund; and Lisa Lazarus ‘02, teacher, Rafael Hernandez School.

It would be hard find an educational niche into which Burkhardt has not ventured during his teaching career. Born in Central Valley, New York, along the Hudson, he spent his boyhood near Washington Crossing. After graduating from Princeton in l962, Burkhardt earned a master’s degree in administrative education from Columbia Teachers College. He earned a doctorate in education from Cincinnati’s Union Graduate School. His thesis was the founding of a working alternative high school.

He then taught at the college level for several years, ending up in San Francisco in time to take over Governor Jerry Brown’s brainchild, the California Conservation Corps. Based on the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Depression era, this initiative involved having youngsters building, serving, and enthusiastically learning. It worked so well that under then-San Francisco mayor Dianne Feinstein, Burkhardt brought the program to the city level.

In l989 American Honda hired Tom Dean and Makato Itobashi to come up with an innovative education institution, and both men thought of Burkhardt. Together they formed Eagle Rock School, set high in Estes Park, Colorado.

Living and working here are 96 high school students. Each comes from an at-risk situation where graduation was deemed unlikely, and all are turning their lives around.

“The school is based on the idea that the desire to learn is innate,” says Burkhardt. “It simply needs to be individually fostered in the right manner.” In addition to experimental student programs, Eagle Rock offers a professional development center for teachers, and for older professionals seeking a second start. Visitors in person and online, at www.ceschangelab.org, are welcome.

“The world may be getting flatter with high tech knowledge making great strides in India and China,” says Burkhardt, “but the new Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and the spirit that launched Google are still coming from America.” Burkhardt thinks the whole concept of we-versus-they educational yardsticks are defeating, but for those who insist, he happily enumerates America’s assets and liabilities.

Land of innovation. Probably our greatest educational strength, says to Burkhardt, is the one most taken for granted. Since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, America has made the commitment to teach 100 percent of its young people. In most other nations five percent still remains the maximum commitment. By whatever method, America simply gets more of its youngsters educated to a higher level than anywhere else. It gives more people more tools.

Secondly, Americans are in love with the clever idea, backed by hard work. The old Horatio Alger stories invariably involved people who blended these two. Leonard Bernstein, speaking at John Hopkins in l987, said that “imagination is the key component to success.” Daniel Rink, an international computer genius who has reinvented the networking industry, predicts that “the future belongs to people who can synthesize ideas.”

By fiction or fact, American success is seldom earned by scholarly education alone, as is often the case in Pacific Rim nations, nor by finding favor with those in power. The intellectual melting pot has done away with any one sure path to success. For an American to rise to the top, he must think.

The process of starting a business remains comparatively simple in the United States, and we seek education that will fit our children for this task. Ten years ago the Massachusetts Institute of Technology moved humanities classes from elective to mandatory. When asked why, the school’s president responded, “because too many MIT graduates end up working for graduates from Harvard and Yale.”

Whether it’s our traditional emphasis on the individual carving his own path, early childhood filled with playful imaginative games, or simply the fiscal rewards from a successful startup, “believe it, America’s creative DNA is alive and well,” says Burkhardt.

Foreign competition. With more singular cultures and longer traditions, other nations find themselves inadvertently hemming in the creative DNA that is fostered in the American educational system. Given the fact that no nation’s youth are inherently smarter or more creative at birth than any other, Burkhardt invites us to examine the educational systems themselves.

Nations like India and China are producing a great number of very highly skilled technical graduates. But these nations are striving to survive, while the United States is striving to flourish.

Burkhardt estimates that these struggling nations will require several generations of successfully feeding themselves well before creative juices can be truly unleashed. They are in an atmosphere that does not — cannot — allow great risk taking. “And imagination demands that,” he says.

In the established nations, such as Germany, the rest of the European Union, and Japan, a tight educational collar, linked to an equally tight business milieu, often constrains top talent.

Encouraging trends. Burkhardt says that the increased move toward small, personal schools over the last 15 years has proved to be one of the most significant educational improvements in this country.

Back in the l950s, when classes were booming, educators espoused the mega high school. Such big schools, they argued, could offer the students more: full orchestras, for example, and a wider variety of sports and courses.

The problem was that none of the students knew each other, and most of the “athletes” sat on the bench while only the top 11 played. “Now private foundations and municipalities are developing schools from 50 to 300 students, where learning becomes personal again,” says Burkhardt.

In addition to the more personal atmosphere, educators are trying desperately to banish the formulaic teaching environment. Burkhardt cites Wendy Kopp, Princeton University Class of l990, who founded Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org). Kopp’s program has gotten Ivy League students teaching in inner-city high schools in a number of cities, including Camden and Detroit, to the benefit of both instructor and student.

Burkhardt admits it is impossible to undertake teaching 100 percent of America’s children without some formalized standards, but with so many different, individualized approaches, he sees great educational hope.

“Just look at the product,” he says. “I see hundreds of extremely bright young kids being turned away from even second tier colleges. We have nothing to fear.”

— Bart Jackson

Princeton University Reunions Events

It’s impossible to miss this Princeton rite of spring. Decked out in orange, often with black stripes, and obviously having a grand time, Princeton alumni are everywhere. Yes, the event is all about graduates of Princeton University, but townies can’t help but be drawn in.

There are a number of events that, while not quite public, are generally open to all who are eager to learn more about myriad fascinating topics. This year there are talks and seminars on everything from the Iditarod dogsled races to the upcoming presidential election to how to get your youngster into college. Below is a list of many of the events. The complete list is on the Princeton University Reunions website, http://alumni.princeton.edu/main/goingback/reunions/reunions_2007. Or for a short, just type “Princeton University Reunions 2007” into Google.

Friday, June 1

8:30 a.m.: “8th Annual Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network Conference,” day-long event with an address by Bill Hambrecht, founder of WR Hambrecht & Co., workshops, and panels for those interested in entrepreneurship. E-mail conferencechair@princetonen.org for more information. Friend Center for Engineering.

9 a.m.: Princeton University Reunions, “Evolution of Princeton’s Campus: 1957-2007 and Beyond,” Jon Hlafter, Princeton University architect. McDonnell Hall, Room A01.

9:15 a.m.: “Accelerating Population Growth in the U.S.: Implications and Issues,” panelists include Shana Weber, sustainability manager, Princeton University; and Harvey Bartle, chief judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania. Robertson Hall, Dodds Auditorium.

9:15 a.m.: “Hot Trends in Individual Investing,” John Mulvey, professor of operations research and financial engineering, moderates. McCosh Hall, Room 50.

9:15 a.m.: “Education and Competition: Are American Children Fall Too Far Behind?” panelists include Robert Burkhardt, head of school, Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center; Tonya Chisolm Miles, Maryland State Board of Education; and Misha Simmonds, associate partner, NewSchools Venture Fund. McCosh Hall, Room 10.

10 a.m.: “Library Exhibition Tour: To the Mountains of the Moon, Mapping African Exploration, 1541-1880,” led by John Delaney, curator of historic maps. Firestone Library, main exhibition gallery.

10:15 a.m.: “Navigating the College Admission Process,” dean of admissions Janet Rapelye and Walt Schanbacher, chair of the alumni council Princeton Schools committee; open to students in the 9th to 11th grades and their parents. Alexander Hall, Richardson Auditorium.

10:30 a.m.: “The Place of the Athlete in the University,” panelists include Craig Masback, CEO, USA Track and Field; Larry Arata, history teacher and head football coach, Prep Charter High School; and Maureen Davies Barron, head coach, women’s softball, Princeton University. Robertson Hall, Dodds Auditorium.

10:30 a.m.: “The Shape of the Arts to Come: Directions for the Creative and Performing Arts at Princeton,” panelists include John Solum, a flutist; Robert Taub, a pianist; Jacque Cofer, Natcho Enterprises; Anthony Mastromatteo, a painter; and Lawrence Goldman, president and CEO, New Jersey Performing Arts Center. McCosh Hall, Room 50.

10:30 a.m.: “What Needs to Happen to Make Health Care Better?” panelists include Tom Williams, associate clinical professor of cardiovascular surgery, Ohio State University Medical School; Martin Eichelberger, professor of surgery and pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center; Alicia Brooks Armstrong, reproductive endocrinologist, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH. McCosh Hall, Room 10.

2 p.m.: Panel of Alumni Returning from Service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whig Hall, Senate Chamber.

2 p.m.: Tree Tour of the Princeton Campus, led by Philo Elmer and university grounds manager Jim Consolloy. Cannon Green.

2:30 p.m.: “Civil Liberties in the Age of Countering Terrorism,” moderated by Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School; panelists include Andy Napolitano, senior judicial analyst, Fox News Channel; Eve Thompson, Pact Inc.; Anthony Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union; Ted Cruz, solicitor general of Texas; and Warren Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative, Brookings Institute. McCosh Hall, Room 50.

2:30 p.m.: “Live to Work and Work to Live: Balance in the Modern Workplace,” panelists include Drew Berry, McCarter & English; Eve Lesser; Lisa Belkin, the New York Times; Veronica Anderson-Corpening, Eye Associates of Central NJ; and Kari Kohl, La Leche League International. McCosh Hall, Room 10.

2:30 p.m.: “The Chemistry of Chocolate,” Stefan Bernhard, assistant professor of chemistry, talks about the history, technology, and science of chocolate. Frick Laboratory, Auditorium.

3 p.m.: “Princeton and Africa,” a panel discussion by students, faculty, and alumni. Guyot Hall, Room 10.

3 p.m.: “Princeton and the Planet: The University’s Role in Environmental Sustainability,” panelists include Stu Orefice, director of dining services; and Shana Weber, director of the office of sustainability. Robertson Hall, Bowen 001.

3 p.m.: “The State of Progressivism in America: Where Do We Go from Here?” Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and part-owner of The Nation. McCosh Hall, Room 46.

3:30 p.m.: “Judging in the Age of Cable Television,” four judges discuss the challenges of judging in a media-savvy culture in which judges can become celebrities by handling high-profile cases. Robertson Hall, Bowl 016.

4 p.m.: “Mechanisms Regulating Longevity, Reproductive Aging, and Neuronal Decline,” Coleen Murphy, molecular biologist. Lewis Thomas 003.

4 p.m.: “A Bishop’s Advice,” William Hudnut III, a Presbyterian minister who served as mayor of Indianapolis for 16-years, and as a Congressman for Indiana, is now a senior resident at Washington-based Urban Land Institute. Murray-Dodge Hall, West Room.

4:15 p.m.: “Conserving the Planet through Experiential Service,” Brian Rosborough, founding chairman of the Earthwatch Institute. Frist Campus Center, 302.

Saturday, June 2

9 a.m.: “Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women,” Christine Whelan, the author of a book by that title. Frist Campus Center, Room 302.

9:15 a.m.: “Jockeying for Position: Handicapping the 2008 Election Derby,” panelists include Todd Purdum, national editor, Vanity Fair; Juliet Eilperin, the Washington Post; and Liriel Higa, Congressional Quarterly. McCormick Hall, Room 101.

9:15 a.m.: “Solutions to the Energy Problem,” panelists include John Marburger III, science adviser to the president; and Greg Silvestri, COO, Plug Power. McCosh Hall, Room 46.

9:30 a.m.: “The Iditarod Adventure: Joy in the Company of the Alaskan Huskies,” Debbie Clark Moderow, founder of the Salty Dog Kennel, and participant in the 2003 and 2005 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. McDonnell Hall, Room A02.

10:30 a.m.: “Looming Large: Perspectives on an Emerging China,” panelists include Sara Judge McCalpin, president, China Institute in America; and Bruce Dunning, former bureau chief, CBS News. McCosh Hall, Room 50.

2 p.m.: P-rade, to approximately 5 p.m. FitzRandolph Gate to Poe-Pardee Fields.

9:15 p.m.: Fireworks at Finney and Campbell fields, across Washington Road, east of Princeton Stadium.

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