One of the requests PAW often hears is to publish more articles about “alumni like me” — the vast majority of Princeton graduates who do important and satisfying work that has not yet resulted in a Nobel Prize or international renown, and probably never will. Can’t you find more stories about interesting people who lead normal lives? our readers ask.
Meet Bridget Wright ’01, on our cover. Wright is the proud owner of a century-old family business known throughout her South Carolina community. She’s a funeral director — perhaps the only Princeton alum now in that job. You might have been surprised when you saw the cover image of Wright, who posed at her workplace in vibrant green and spoke with a warm tone of welcome, not hushed solemnity. As writer Mark Bernstein ’83 notes, Wright is not the stereotypical undertaker.
Despite the family legacy, Wright did not leave Princeton intending to run a funeral home. But it’s easy to see how crucial aspects of her role must have been nourished on campus — and not just the skills that come in handy in running any business. She knows history and the role families and businesses like hers play. She understands community. She has learned how to deal with different kinds of people coping with different kinds of struggles.
Princeton alumni do many things. PAW covers the writers, the artists, the scholars, the activists, the leaders of nonprofits and businesses that aim to change the world. Like most alumni magazines, we don’t do as well finding graduates like Wright, who serve others in their most personal moments.
Families want Wright to bring a loved one home, and that she does, with the care and attention that can transform rituals of death into celebrations of life.