N A S S A U   N O T E S

King Day celebration set for Jan. 19

The University will commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with its annual King Day celebration at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19, in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall.
     The event, which is free and open to the public, will include: an address by Valerie Smith, director of Princeton's Program in African-American Studies; musical selections by the University Gospel Choir; and the presentation of awards to essay, poster and video contest winners from area schools.

Valerie Smith

Valerie Smith


     Smith, the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and professor of English, will speak on "Memory." A specialist in African-American literature, she is the author of "Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings" (Routledge, 1998) and "Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative" (Harvard University Press, 1987). She also has edited "African-American Writers" (Scribners, 1991), "New Essays on Song of Solomon" (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and "Representing Blackness: Issues in Film and Video" (Rutgers University Press, 1997).
     Smith taught at Princeton from 1980 to 1989, then joined the faculty at the University of California-Los Angeles. She was chair of UCLA's interdepartmental program in African-American studies from 1997 to 2001 and co-director of cultural studies in the African Diaspora Project from 1996 to 1999. She re-joined the Princeton faculty in 2001 and became director of the Program in African-American Studies in 2002.
     This year's contests for area school children were intended to commemorate the 40th anniversary of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Students in grades 7 through 12 were invited to submit an original speech that would move America today, just as King's speech did in 1963. They could submit the text in writing or, for the first time this year, deliver it on video. Fourth- through sixth-graders were invited to create posters that depict or symbolize the delivery of a speech that would profoundly affect America today.
     This year, nearly 500 students from 16 schools submitted essays or videos and nearly 500 students from 19 schools submitted posters. Many of the posters will be displayed during the program. The winning posters and excerpts from the essays will be posted on the University's King Day Web site at <www.princeton.edu/pr/mlk>.
     The event is convened by the University's Martin Luther King Day Committee and is coordinated by the Office of Communications.

dance photo

McCarter Theatre

Cirque Eloize, a Quebec-based company that combines circus, theater and dance, will perform at McCarter Theatre at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16-17, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18. The performers include some of the world's greatest aerial artists, contortionists, acrobats and illusionists. For ticket information, call the McCarter box office at 258-2787 or visit <www.mccarter.org>. Photo: Image-Media Mauricie/Patrick Beauchamp

Nominations sought for teaching awards

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty invites members of the University community to submit letters of nomination for the 2004 President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.
     The awards, presented annually at Commencement, are intended to recognize excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching by Princeton faculty members. All current full, associate and assistant professors, lecturers on continuing appointment, senior lecturers and lecturers who have served at least half time for three or more years are eligible for nomination.
     Letters of nomination should be sent by Saturday, Feb. 14, to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, 9 Nassau Hall.

James McPherson

James McPherson

McPherson selected as Baccalaureate speaker

Princeton history professor James McPherson has been chosen as the speaker for this year's Baccalaureate, the interfaith worship service that is one of Princeton's oldest traditions. The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 30, in the chapel.
     McPherson, the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History, is widely known as a pre-eminent Civil War scholar. His best-selling book, "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era," won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1989. Legendary for his intellectual generosity, McPherson has shared his knowledge through courses in the history department that are consistently oversubscribed as well as through field trips to Civil War battle sites that draw large numbers of students and alumni. He plans to retire at the end of this academic year after serving on the Princeton faculty since 1962.
     President Tilghman selects the Baccalaureate speaker after consultation with senior class leaders.
     "I am both excited and extremely honored that Professor McPherson has chosen to accept President Tilghman's invitation to speak at Baccalaureate 2004," said Eli Goldsmith, president of the senior class. "As my classmates and I leave Princeton and begin to plot out our futures, I believe there can be no greater guide in such a quest than the lessons of history. Thus, I believe there are few individuals more qualified to share their wisdom with the class of 2004 than Professor James McPherson, who has proven to be one of the most celebrated and accomplished historical scholars of our time."
     In 2000, the National Endowment for the Humanities chose McPherson to deliver its annual Jefferson Lecture, the organization's highest honor for individual achievement in the humanities. In an interview on the NEH Web site, McPherson explained the reasons the Civil War continues to fascinate Americans.
     "Even though the war resolved the issues of Union and slavery, it didn't entirely resolve the issues that underlay those two questions," he said. "These issues are still important in American society today: regionalism, resentment of centralized government, debates about how powerful the national government ought to be and what role it ought to play in people's lives."
     McPherson is frequently called upon to use his historical knowledge to reflect on current events. He was one of the speakers at a memorial service held on campus the Sunday following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
    A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, McPherson earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. His dissertation, "The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction," was published by Princeton University Press in 1964.
     McPherson went on to write and edit many other books about abolition, the war and Lincoln. One of his more recent books, "For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War" (Oxford University Press, 1997), won the 1998 Lincoln Prize awarded by the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute for outstanding scholarly work. A new edition of "Battle Cry of Freedom," containing 700 new illustrations, was published this fall. He also recently has produced two new books about important Civil War battles: "Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam" (Oxford University Press, 2002); and "Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg" (Crown Publishing, 2003).
     A crusader for preservation, McPherson in 1991 was named by the U.S. Senate to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission. The group determined major battle sites, evaluated conditions and recommended improvements in a report issued in 1993. This past year, he has served as president of the American Historical Association.
     Seating in the chapel is limited to members of the senior class and faculty procession. Seniors receive two tickets for family and guests who may view the ceremony via simulcast, including on a large screen to be set up outside the chapel.

Ceremony honoring Robeson is Jan. 20

The University will host a U.S. Postal Service ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 20, honoring Princeton native Paul Robeson, whose image will appear on a commemorative postage stamp in the Black Heritage series.
     President Shirley M. Tilghman, Provost Amy Gutmann and student choral groups will join Postal Service officials in the ceremony at 10 a.m in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Also participating in the ceremony will be actor Avery Brooks.
     "The U.S. Postal Service commemoration of Paul Robeson in the Black Heritage postage stamp series is a fitting tribute to a man who symbolized excellence," Tilghman said. "Princeton University is honored to host this celebration of a distinguished resident of the Princeton community whose legacy as an artist, activist and intellectual continues to be recognized worldwide."
     Born in Princeton in 1898, Robeson achieved worldwide fame as an actor, singer, activist and athlete. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School, he was also an All-American football player. By 1924, he had devoted himself to his career as a performer, playing hit lead roles in productions of two Eugene O'Neill plays: "All God's Chillun Got Wings" and "The Emperor Jones." He played numerous stage roles during his career, but he was best known for his interpretation of the title character in Shakespeare's "Othello." Robeson also appeared in several American and British movies, including the "Emperor Jones," "Show Boat," "King Solomon's Mines," "Jericho" and his favorite, "The Proud Valley." He died in 1976.
     Robeson is remembered not only for his prodigious talents as a performer but also for his tireless and uncompromising commitment to civil rights and social justice, the U.S. Postal Service said in a press release, noting that he was an outspoken participant in the labor and peace movements.
     "The Paul Robeson stamp in the Black Heritage series will serve as a lasting tribute to the individual achievements and contributions of African Americans," said Murray Weatherall, vice president of diversity development for the Postal Service, who will dedicate the stamp. "The Postal Service is extremely proud of the Black Heritage series and extremely proud to add Robeson's name to the distinguished list that makes up this stamp series."
     The Paul Robeson stamp will be the 27th stamp in the Black Heritage series, which began in 1978 with the issuance of the Harriet Tubman commemorative stamp.


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