President Eisgruber ’83 speaks at Graduate School Orientation in 2017. Eisgruber’s letter condemning systemic racism prompted an investigation by the Department of Education.
Princeton University, Office of Communications, Danielle Alio

Two weeks after President Eisgruber ’83 shared plans to combat systemic racism, the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, citing the president’s letter as evidence of “admitted racism,” wrote that it was investigating Princeton’s compliance with the Civil Rights Act and other nondiscrimination assurances required by law. The Department of Education requested records and interviews, warning that sanctions could include “an action to recover funds.”

In a statement, the University said it has complied with all regulations and would respond “in due course.” “It is unfortunate that the Department appears to believe that grappling honestly with the nation’s history and the current effects of systemic racism runs afoul of existing law,” the statement said.

Princeton announced that KWANZA JONES ’93 and JOSÉ E. FELICIANO ’94 have made a $20 million contribution to support the expansion of the undergraduate body. The couple’s gift is the largest by Black and Latino donors in University history. Two new dormitories will be named in their honor. Jones is an artist, investor, lawyer, and entrepreneur. Feliciano is founder and managing partner of a California-based private investment firm.

Princeton researchers will be among the leaders of the Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage, one of five new centers for the advancement of QUANTUM SCIENCE RESEARCH. Headquartered at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the center will receive $115 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy over the next five years. Electrical engineering professor Andrew Houck ’00 has been named deputy director. 

The Graduate School is accepting applications for a new PRE-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP for students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education. The fellowship, which began as a pilot program last year, will fund one year of study before students enroll in doctoral programs in one of 18 University departments, spanning engineering, natural sciences, and the humanities. The program aims to assist students who would benefit from an additional year of training before pursuing a Ph.D. 

Donald Wilson Bush, president of the Woodrow Wilson Legacy Foundation, wrote an open letter to Princeton Board of Trustees Chair Louise Sams ’79, condemning the REMOVAL OF WILSON’S NAME from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the residential college that was named for the former Princeton and U.S. president. Bush wrote that the trustees “failed to preserve the honorable memory of Woodrow Wilson’s accomplishments.” The full letter is available online. 

The board of education for Princeton Public Schools has changed the name of JOHN WITHERSPOON MIDDLE SCHOOL to Princeton Unified Middle School, responding to community concerns about honoring the University’s sixth president. According to the Princeton & Slavery Project, Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, “had a complex relationship to slavery.” He tutored free Africans and African Americans in Princeton but owned slaves and opposed the abolition of slavery in New Jersey. In July, a group of University faculty members called for removing a statue of Witherspoon near East Pyne Hall, among other anti-racism demands.

Photo: Sameer A. Khan
IN MEMORIAM: BRUCE BLAIR, a research scholar and expert on the risks of nuclear war, died July 19 in Philadelphia. He was 72. Blair, an Air Force veteran, served as a launch-control officer in an underground nuclear-missile bunker, which inspired his later work on the risk of accidental nuclear war. He wrote extensively about nuclear threats, received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999, and created Global Zero, an international organization that worked toward nuclear disarmament. He joined Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security in 2013.

Courtesy Shulzycki family
IN MEMORIAM: ALEXANDRA SHULZYCKI, a staff member whose career in engineering and technology at Princeton spanned 32 years, died July 3 in Princeton at age 89. Shulzycki emigrated from Poland in 1960 and became a U.S. citizen in 1964, according to her family. The following year, she joined the University in a NASA-funded project led by professors J. Preston Layton and Paul Lion. Her later work included research on transportation and computer graphics.  

For the Record

In the October issue, PAW misidentified Donald Wilson Bush, president of the Woodrow Wilson Legacy Foundation, as a descendant of the president.