(Via Facebook) I saw in the March 6 issue that Professor Norman Itzkowitz *59 had passed away. In my freshman year I always wore a promotional button for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company on my jacket that said “Catch Ailey.” It was my connection to my love for the arts in New York City and the roots of a great artist.
Professor Itzkowitz, who ran the Wilson College dormitories where I lived, overheard students intentionally joking, loudly enough for me to hear, about the fact that I wore the pin every day. He approached me later and said, “I see you are a fan of Alvin Ailey. How about organizing a trip so other students may learn about him?” I explained that I wasn’t sure how to go about that and that I didn’t know a lot of people. He told me to get a brochure and post a signup sheet.
My life at Princeton blossomed because I organized a bus outing to NYC to see Alvin Ailey. The University provided a coach bus with baskets of refreshments from Food Services. About 20 students attended, with everything provided by the University. To this day, I still share that story with students I talk to about Princeton. Professor Itzkowitz modeled diversity and inclusion long before they were HR catchphrases. I am eternally grateful to him for taking a potentially diminishing moment and turning it into a blessed memory.