Dear Members of the Class of 2021,
Greetings from Princeton! I am writing to welcome you to Whitman College. As you’ll soon discover, Whitman is a beautiful complex of buildings that houses some 500 students, including a full complement of first-year and sophomores as well as a number of juniors and seniors who choose to remain in Whitman all four years at Princeton. In addition to dining and residential halls, the College offers a small theater, a dance practice room, and several private study rooms. Lounges throughout the College make it easy and inviting to relax with friends.
Even more important than Whitman’s accommodations is its well-known community spirit. This results from a variety of sources, all combining to make life in the College particularly rich and enjoyable. Your fellow students take the lead in organizing many of the events, and these are enthusiastically supported and supplemented by Resident Graduate Students, Faculty Fellows and a Resident Faculty Member—as well as your dedicated Whitman staff.
Much of what goes on at the College originates with, and is organized by, the Whitman College Council (WCC). This group actively develops virtually all aspects of Whitman’s cultural, social and academic life, including intramurals, concerts, trips, speakers, and a variety of social events. The current Chair is Zoya Shoaib ‘20. You’ll find a letter from Zoya on the College Council page and WCC members will be on hand to greet you when you arrive in September.
Another group of students who will be important to you are the Residential College Advisers (RCAs). You will soon be contacted by your RCA, whose room will be near yours. Your RCA can provide a wealth of information about Princeton. This individual is a specially selected junior or senior who will be your main student guide during Freshman Orientation, and help you navigate your way through your freshman year.
More than fifty Princeton faculty members are Fellows at Whitman. Faculty Fellows are encouraged to hold their classes in the college, share their interests at special discussions and activities, and dine at the College. Their presence provides an excellent opportunity for you to interact casually with members of the faculty outside the classroom. Eight Resident Graduate Students (RGSs), who hail from academic disciplines ranging from English to electrical engineering, also live at Whitman. These graduate students create a slate of intellectual and social activities that I think you’ll enjoy—and can offer some mature insight into life at Princeton.
Where do I fit in? Each College has a Head, who is also a member of the Princeton faculty. I am a Professor of Comparative Literature, and teach undergraduate courses in translation studies (a new and exciting field at Princeton), poetry, and literary theory. One of the very best things about being a Head is the opportunity it gives me to meet a wide range of Princeton students—and I much look forward to getting to know each of you over special “dessert hours” early in the term as well as through dinners, lunches and events throughout the year.
Another great thing about my job is the opportunity to work with Whitman’s first-rate College Office staff. Let me introduce them to you:
• Overall management of the College is under the direction of Alexis Andres the Dean of Whitman College. While she has primary responsibility for juniors and seniors, Dean Andres can advise all Whitman students.
• Jaclyn Schwalm, Whitman’s Director of Studies, works with the College Dean on all aspects of academic advising and offers general guidance for students, particularly first-year students and sophomores. In addition, she organizes intellectual and academic programs.
• Momo Wolapaye is Whitman’s Director of Student Life. He works closely with various groups of undergraduates to help make Whitman an exciting and supportive place. Mr. Wolapaye also provides assistance to students experiencing personal difficulty.
• Kristin Frasier is the College Administrator. She oversees the facilities and finances of the College. If you need to reserve a room or obtain some resources for a project, Ms. Frasier is the person to contact.
• Sara Krause, our College Secretary, is the first person to greet you when you enter the college offices. If you’re not quite sure whom to see for a particular issue, Ms. Krause will be happy to help you.
I very much look forward to working with staff, student leaders, and faculty—as well as you and your classmates—to create a congenial, safe and stimulating environment for everyone at the College. Please visit our website: http://www.princeton.edu/whitmancollege to learn more about Whitman, including some beginning-of-the-year activities. Also, be sure to “like” us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhitmanatPrinceton .In early September, we will meet at Whitman and I will have the great pleasure of welcoming you and your family in person. In the meantime, the entire staff joins me in wishing you a pleasant and productive summer.
With best wishes,
Cotsen Professor of the Humanities
Professor of Comparative Literature
Head of Whitman College