I have to admit I cringed a little at the cover highlighting the identification of Princeton’s 25 most influential alumni. My mind went right to the superlatives of the high school lists so many of us experienced — most popular, most likely to succeed, etc. — and to arguments around the definition of influence.
Nonetheless, like many others I am sure, I was intrigued and read the article almost immediately. I also read “Second Opinion” by Dean Jill Dolan. I greatly appreciated the perspective shared by the dean. She perfectly and eloquently captured the challenges of such lists and the tensions. She also celebrated those that might never make it but are equally deserving of respect and gratitude and, in many cases, awe.
Dean Dolan’s essay allowed me to appreciate the amazing accomplishments of the alumni identified without feeling I was disregarding the “unsung heroes.”