Information for Families page

Dear Families,

Greetings from Princeton! As Head of Whitman College, I am writing to welcome you and your family to your student's new "home away from home." You'll soon discover that Whitman is a welcoming, caring, and energetic community of approximately 200 first-year students, more than 200 sophomores, in addition to the juniors and seniors who chose Whitman as their upperclass residence.

Whitman is also a hub for many enriching experiences outside the classroom such as lectures and discussions, service and community outreach, readings and performances, sports, theater and movies, clubs and just finding time to develop and deepen new friendships with peers.

Whitman is, above all, an inclusive and supportive “home away from home.” Many College activities are organized by the undergraduates themselves, and the Whitman College Council (WCC) takes the lead in programming a wide range of cultural, social and academic events. Particularly central to the lives of incoming students are our Residential College Advisers (RCAs), those specially selected juniors and seniors who live in the residence halls alongside the first-year students, and offer information, guidance, activities and encouragement from Orientation onward. Nine Resident Graduate Students (RGSs) from several academic disciplines also live in Whitman; they collaborate with the WCC, RCAs and College staff in creating intellectual and social activities while serving as experienced role models for our students. Our Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs), each of whom is paired with an RCA and RGS, round out the advising team, and provide an important perspective on Princeton’s academic opportunities.

Princeton Faculty and Staff Fellows contribute importantly to everyday Whitman life as well. They dine with our students in Community Hall, lead special trips and discussions, and provide opportunities for students to interact informally with University faculty and staff beyond the classroom and laboratory.

I am the Head of Whitman College; I am also a professor in electrical engineering. I have been an advisor to first-year B.S.E. students for many years, and my favorite classes to teach are first-year classes.  Having participated fully in Princeton’s academic and organizational endeavor for many years, I am convinced not only of the high quality of Princeton’s liberal arts education, but also of the power in the individual attention given to each student.    

When I meet you in late August, I will talk a bit more about the Princeton experience. For now, let me simply emphasize how much I look forward to meeting your student—and all of our newest “Whitmanites.” Throughout the school year, I will be meeting your student over lunch or dinner in our beautiful Community Hall, our dining hall, at office hours, or at small group dinners at the Head’s house.  Please encourage your student to engage in these opportunities, and to tell me about their first-year experience and any questions, thoughts, or ideas they might have.

One of the Head’s most important jobs is making sure the College has a first-rate staff. I'm especially proud of the colleagues who work with me at Whitman. Our Dean, Director of Studies, Director of Student Life, Program Administrator, and College Coordinator all look forward to meeting you and to welcoming your student into the Whitman community when they move in on August 31st. Together we ensure that Whitman is a safe, congenial, stimulating and inclusive environment for everyone.

Please feel free to visit our website: http://whitmancollege.princeton.edu to learn more about Whitman, its people, and some beginning-of-the-year events. You can also keep abreast of activities at Whitman if you "like" us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WhitmanatPrinceton or follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whitmanatprinceton/. We update the page regularly, so you can keep an eye out for a picture of your student.

I hope to meet you at Whitman on Move-In Day and look forward to welcoming you and your family to our residential college. In the meantime, the entire staff joins me in wishing you a pleasant and productive summer.

With my best regards,

Claire Gmachl signature 
Claire Gmachl
Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering
Head of Whitman College