Ollwerther ’71
Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

If you have submitted a letter to be published in PAW, you probably have spoken to William Raymond Ollwerther ’71, known as Ray. Since 2005, his title has appeared on our masthead as managing editor, but that doesn’t come close to describing what he has contributed to this magazine. As the editor of our letters section, Inbox, Ray has worked with alumni to trim submissions that are too long and help revise those that are unclear. As a veteran journalist, he has jumped in whenever another reporting hand was needed, regardless of whether that need was for a major news story or a column of briefs. As campus-news editor, he has kept readers up to date on student life, faculty developments, and University policy, mentoring student writers along the way. And as a colleague, he has been that rare person who combines great talent and professionalism with a knack for offering the right advice at the right time, without judgment. 

So it’s with mixed feelings that we announce Ray’s much-deserved retirement, which began Feb. 1. This is his last issue. 

Ray’s first appearance in PAW came at the beginning of his junior year, when he was pictured on our cover, pushing a piano (see page 58). He joined our staff after a 30-year career at the Asbury Park Press, his hometown newspaper. During his 14 years as executive editor, the paper won its first Pulitzer Prize, and Ray served as a Pulitzer juror. A Daily Princetonian writer and editor for all four years as an undergraduate, Ray later became a member of the Prince’s board of trustees. 

It was PAW’s great good fortune that he joined us after leaving daily journalism. And in filling the job Ray just left, we were lucky again. 

Succeeding Ray as managing editor is Brett Tomlinson, who joined our staff in 2003 as an associate editor. Brett, who graduated from Bucknell University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, also came to PAW with a background in daily newspapers. In recent years, he has been both PAW’s sports editor and its digital editor — at the same time — primarily responsible for the growth of PAW Online (paw.princeton.edu), our social-media channels, and our email newsletters.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

Anyone who has worked with Brett knows him as a journalist whose work is accurate, smart, and interesting, and a strategist whose clear thinking has made PAW a lively online publication as well as one to be read in print. I am excited to see what he will bring to PAW next.

The issue you’re reading now is PAW’s annual tribute to alumni who died in the previous year. The profiles here are not a substitute for the memorials you read in each issue: Those memorials represent the voice of each class and of the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni, while the tributes in this issue were written by PAW staff members and freelancers. You’ll recognize the names of some of those we have profiled; others will be unfamiliar. You’ve probably read about Paul Volcker ’49, who led the Federal Reserve System, and Bill Ruckelshaus ’55, who directed the Environmental Protection Agency. You may not have heard of Jessica Melore ’03, who became a champion of organ donation while facing extraordinary medical challenges, or Lynn King ’83, who enjoyed some of her best years as she faced her death. Their post-Princeton lives didn’t generate big headlines, but they tell important stories about how to live well. 

If you become aware of someone we should consider profiling in 2021, please email me at mmarks@princeton.edu.