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June10, 2009

Vol. 109, No. 15

Divergent messages

My Princeton Alumni Weekly and Virginia Tech alumni magazine both arrived on the same day, and there are interesting parallels and contrasts to be found in both magazines. Both universities have mottoes concerning service: Ut Prosim (That I may serve) for Virginia Tech, and Princeton in the nation’s service.

It is there that the magazines diverge sharply. This quarter’s Virginia Tech Magazine highlights VT-ENGAGE, an initiative for alumni to honor the lives of the victims of the April 2007 shootings by rededicating themselves to community service, fulfilling the university’s motto, and tracking service hours online. While the magazine has always emphasized the motto of service as an integral part of daily life, the current issue is filled with wonderful stories of students, staff, and alumni who are living the university’s motto by making service impacts in small and large ways, both locally and globally.

The overarching emphasis of the latest issue (April 1) of the Princeton Alumni Weekly seems to be students’ worries about seeking jobs after graduation, the deteriorating financial crisis, the cut-throat interviews in Nassau Inn suites with investment banks for a dwindling number of coveted internships, landing a high-paying job with a Wall Street firm upon graduation, and issues of where to go now that many investment banks are lowering salary and bonus expectations. It almost would lead one to believe that engineering and the humanities at Princeton have withered on the vine, or that these pursuits, without the former exorbitant starting salaries of investment banks, simply don’t matter. The primary message I gleaned from the magazine seems to be the monetary serving of self, regardless of one’s major. Shame on you. Princeton in the nation’s service, indeed!

Editor’s note: The April 1 issue was an annual edition of PAW that is focused on business and the economy.

Roger Haight *94
Pennington, N.J.

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