Learn more about the unsung alumni "heroes" who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer efforts for Princeton in a variety of activities. Features about these "Aluminaries" appear in the PAW throughout the year.
Frederick G. Strobel ’74 P08 P11
In 1972 Frederick Strobel answered the call from a Nashville alumnus who asked him to join in on some Alumni Schools Committee interviews when he was home on vacations—and he has been doing student interviews ever since. That was just the first step in what has been a volunteer career of 41 years and counting. Having returned to Nashville following graduation, he was instrumental in rebuilding the Princeton Alumni Association of Nashville, beginning in 1979 on the occasion of an impending "state visit" by then University president Bill Bowen.
John Evans '91
After graduation in 1991, John Evans, a History major, returned to his hometown of Minneapolis. But the flicker of interest that his Princeton courses in Asian economics, history and politics had sparked would not be extinguished. Within a year he was on his way to Bangkok, Thailand, to teach 9th grade English as a Princeton-in-Asia (PiA) fellow. Now, Evans is the backbone of the Princeton Club of Southeast Asia. The club, with which Evans has been involved since its inception and where he is not only ASC regional chair but also the secretary and treasurer, is a thriving mix of academics, students who have returned, and alumni who are in Thailand for short-term stints.
Charlene Huang Olson '88
When the Princeton Club of Chicago awarded Charlene Huang Olson '88 the Arnold M. Berlin '46 Distinguished Service to Princeton Award in April of 2011, Olson shared that when she was applying to colleges, her parents set only one rule: she could not apply to Harvard. Olson never knew why, but joked that Harvard's mascot "certainly had no respectable spot on the Chinese zodiac." That was lucky for Princeton.
Peter Rupert Lighte *81
"Princeton was the making of me," notes Peter Rupert Lighte *81 of his graduate school years studying toward his PhD with Professor F. W. Mote—"with its life changing academic encounters and profound friendships. Yes, it was a rite of passage, but not a walk in the park. But my life got sorted out at Princeton." When he was approached in London during the early 1990s to take on volunteer work for Princeton, "it was most natural to accept." And since that time, he has served Princeton in a number of capacities.
Liz Gough '07
In 2006, when Liz Gough '07 was a junior, she managed the crew of the Class of 1966's 40th Reunion. The first to acknowledge her own competitive streak, Gough with her crew put up a fierce fight for the coveted Clancy Award, which recognizes the most outstanding Reunion crew. But the award went to the crew led by her classmate Mike Ott for the Class of 2001 Reunion. Gough is co-chair of 2007's 5th Reunion. And her partner? Mike Ott '07.
Bill Landrigan '76
When Bill (a/k/a Willy) Landrigan considered taking a three-year term on the volunteer Committee to Nominate Alumni Trustees (CTNAT), his first thought was that it sounded like a lot of work. Now chair of the committee and finishing his term, Landrigan smiles and says, "There was a lot to do! But I totally enjoyed it."
Simon Morrison *97
Simon Morrison knew he wanted to focus on Russian music in a PhD program. He chose Princeton because, at the time, there were no leading experts on Russia who might try to sway him, and he chose Harold Powers because Powers did not specialize in Russian music. He found a Music Department superior in promoting professional development and an advisor "who was so welcoming, so open-minded. He encouraged taking the unconventional path."
Susan Conger-Austin *83 S*82
With her undergraduate degree from Stanford, Susan Conger-Austin *83 was looking for something different for graduate school. Although accepted into the Architecture Departments at several other Ivy League institutions, she was most attracted to the personal attention combined with the "incredible reputation" of Princeton's School of Architecture.
Dan Lopresti *83 *87
Dan Lopresti shakes his head while recalling his decision to come to Princeton for graduate school. “I was deciding between the University of Chicago for an MBA or Princeton for Computer Science. I grew up near Princeton, so my parents were happy that I chose Princeton. But it now seems a bit of a blur."
George L. Bustin ’70 P08
An international exchange student in high school, George Bustin '70 was eager to pursue his international focus in college. He knew no one who had gone to Princeton, but he did know Princeton’s exceptional reputation for studies in international relations. So it was the Woodrow Wilson School for him.
Mara Minerva Melum ’73 S72 P10
Mara Melum '73, President of the Minerva Leadership Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota, has lived in the Twin Cities area for 35 years—but she hasn’t let a mere 1200 miles separate her from Princeton. Mara is a long-time interviewer for the local Alumni Schools Committee and has hosted mini-Reunions for alumni in Minnesota.
Jeffrey N. Wieser '74 P06
Jeff Wieser's first foray into serving the Class of 1974 was less than auspicious. He ran for freshman class treasurer and was, in his own words, "thumped." Undaunted by this experience, in his senior year he and his roommate, George Kryder, ran for class vice president and class president, respectively, thinking that holding these two offices would be a good way to stay connected to each other following graduation. This time, victory was theirs. Thus began 36 years and counting of service to the Class of 1974 and the greater Princeton University community.