For one of her architecture classes this semester, Kylee Pierce ’18 and her classmates were asked to read and discuss the University’s 165-page campus plan, released late last year, which provides a framework for Princeton’s development through 2026 and beyond.
Pierce knew it well: As an intern in the Office of the University Architect last summer, she had done careful research on residential-college projects at institutions across the country. She studied the history of campus planning at Princeton and sat in on meetings that covered topics like landscape architecture and urban planning. It was an ideal summer job for a rising senior architecture major.
But Pierce also saw the plan on a more personal level. She is one of three senior co-captains on the softball team, a program that will see its home, 1895 Field, moved to the new Lake Campus to make way for new residential colleges.
The news was disappointing at first, she admits. “There is the sentimental aspect — we’ve won Ivy League championships there, we’ve had good memories,” Pierce said, adding that the field’s location, on the edge of Elm Drive, was attractive to recruits. “But at the end of the day, we get a new stadium. I think that’s also a recruiting advantage.”
And when she comes back for her 10th reunion, Pierce said, she’ll be able to visit the new field and the new residential college, knowing she played some small part in both.
On the softball field, Pierce has been a key contributor in each of the last four seasons, a run that includes Ivy-title teams in the last two years. She plays primarily in right field, and at the plate, she is a “slapper” — softball parlance for a left-handed batter who takes a running start when she swings, putting the ball in play and using her speed to beat the throw to first base. Slappers can bunt, take a short swing, or swing away, challenging the defense to choose the best position to counter the hitter on each pitch. “That’s my favorite part of slapping — messing around with the defense,” Pierce said.
Pierce first fell for Princeton at age 11, when she visited the campus as her sister Lizzy ’13 was beginning to look at colleges. A decade later, she is ticking off milestones on her way to Commencement, including turning in her senior thesis, a look at how “the images and the ideals of the American pastoral influenced American architecture in housing”; and suiting up for her final home games, against Cornell May 5 and 6.
With her recent exposure to campus planning, Pierce said she can see herself working at a university someday. But in the near term, she’s looking for a more hands-on role. “Design is what first drew me to architecture,” she said. “That’s something I want to pursue first.”