Welcome Class of 2025! From the Head of Whitman College- Claire Gmachl

Thursday, Jun 30, 2016

Dear Class of 2025,

Greetings from Princeton University and welcome to Whitman College! Whitman is a diverse, welcoming, and thriving community of more than 200 first-year students – that’s you! – approximately the same number of sophomores, plus an additional 150 junior and senior students. These students join our Residential College Advisers (RCAs), Resident Graduate Students (RGSs), and Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs) in calling Whitman College, a beautiful complex of residential halls, lounges, courtyards, and Community Hall, our dining area, home. As you have undoubtedly read in President Eisgruber’s July 6th communication, for the upcoming fall semester our Whitman residential community will be smaller than usual, but our sense of community will be no less strong.  The professional staff and student leaders at Whitman are committed to helping you stay healthy and well while on campus, while ensuring that you also feel part of Princeton’s vibrant community.

The Residential College Advisers will be one of the first group of students for you to get to know. You will soon be contacted by your RCA, whose room will be near yours. Your RCA can provide a wealth of information about Princeton. An RCA is a specially selected and trained junior or senior who will be your main peer guide during orientation and through your first year.

Nine RGSs, who hail from academic disciplines ranging from Spanish and Portuguese to Geosciences, also live at Whitman. They facilitate intellectual and social activities and share insight into college life from the vantage point of recent college graduates. In addition to your RCA and RGS, your three-person student advising team will also include a PAA, who is there to provide advice from a student perspective on the academic opportunities here at Princeton. Faculty advisors and faculty fellows assist you in building an engaging curriculum and provide intellectual inspiration beyond the classroom. 

I am the Head of Whitman College; I am also a professor in electrical engineering. My group’s research is broadly in experimental semiconductor device research, especially lasers and small photonic systems.  I have been an adviser to first-year B.S.E. students for many years, and my favorite classes to teach are first-year classes, especially on the foundations of engineering. I am looking forward to getting to know each one of you, on Zoom and in person as often as guidelines allow. I am looking forward to hearing about your first-year experience and about your ideas for activities and action in the College.

I would also like to introduce to you our fabulous Whitman College Office staff:

• Overall day-to-day management of the College is under the direction of Alexis Andres, the Dean of Whitman College. While she has primary academic 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 for Whitmanites.

•  Momo Wolapaye is Whitman’s Director of Student Life. He works closely with various groups of undergraduates to help make Whitman a healthy and supportive place. Mr. Wolapaye also provides assistance to students experiencing difficulties with their health and wellness.

•  Kristin Frasier is the College Program Administrator. She oversees the facilities and finances of the College.  She is also our liaison to Building Services and Dining Services.

•  Sara Krause, our College Coordinator, is the first person most students get to know at Whitman. She’ll be the one to answer the phone whenever you dial 609-258-8900.  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 welcoming, safe and supportive environment for everyone at the College.

Please visit our website: http://www.princeton.edu/whitmancollege to learn more about Whitman; we’ll make regular updates to the page throughout the summer. Also, be sure to “like” us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhitmanatPrinceton and follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whitmanatprinceton/

We look forward to welcoming you to Whitman College and Princeton University during this historic time. In the meantime, the entire staff joins me in wishing you and yours good health this summer.

 With my best regards,

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