Brian Smith/Office of Communications
Brian Smith/Office of Communications

VALERIE SMITH, dean of the college since July 2011, will leave Princeton in June to become president of Swarthmore College.

“As Princeton’s dean of the college, Val Smith has demonstrated a heartfelt appreciation for the values that define a liberal-arts education,” Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 said in a statement. “Val fits perfectly with the mission and ethos of Swarthmore College, and, while we will miss her at Princeton, we are thrilled to see her take the helm of such a great institution.”

Smith, one of the highest-ranking African American administrators in Princeton’s history, was the founding director of the Center for African American Studies. A faculty member for 23 years, she is the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and professor of English and African American studies. Smith will be Swarthmore’s first black president.

Bill Saunders/courtesy AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives

IN MEMORIAM Nobel laureate and physics professor emeritus VAL L. FITCH died Feb. 5 in Princeton. He was 91.

In 1980, Fitch and fellow faculty member James Cronin shared the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of elementary particles called K-mesons. Their results, based on a 1964 experiment, showed that the laws of physics are not quite the same for particles and anti-particles nor for a class of processes in which the direction of time is reversed. That discovery “remains one of the profound mysteries of the early universe,” said A.J. Stewart Smith *66, vice president of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

On the Manhattan Project, Fitch developed the timing devices that detonated the first atomic bombs. He joined Princeton’s faculty in 1954 and was chair of the physics department from 1976 to 1981.