Connor Diemand-Yauman Speaks!

Connor Diemand-Yauman — Pyne Prize winner, pouting/pushuping supermodel, Princeton senior — (pictured here with Princeton President Shirley Tilghman) spoke to IvyGate about his future teaching English in South Korea and those insane photos.

What does winning the Pyne Prize mean to you?

Winning the Pyne was an incredible, unexpected honor. At first I thought it meant that a lot of my professors and the others who recommended me for the award made a terrible mistake. Since the dust has settled though, I like to think that my winning the Pyne shows that people have recognized my commitment to Princeton and getting as much out of my college experience as possible.

What activities or qualities do you think you had that led to winning this prize?

I do my best to keep things in perspective. I’ve sincerely enjoyed the work that I’ve done while at Princeton, but I’ve tried to remember that while the activities/initiatives that I’m involved in may be extremely important to me, some, if not most other people couldn’t care less. I try to bring that levity and sense of perspective into everything that I do. I think that has helped.

Who suggested the “thug” pose with your University President? What was the motivation, and are you happy with the photo?

I suggested the photo. While I was in office, some students seemed to prefer that their student reps be angry and antagonistic with top administrators, despite the fact that our student government has absolutely no control over University policy without administrative support and collaboration. My administration used a more conciliatory, strategic approach and we accomplished a lot as a result.

The BAMF stance, as you guys called it, was supposed to poke fun at this expectation that we be angry and at odds with one another. I think the picture is hilarious.

What about the push-ups? Were you nervous Gen. Petraeus would do more push-ups than you? Who suggested it?

I suggested it. How many opportunities do you have to challenge one of the highest ranked generals in the US army to a pushup contest?

Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to have a contest after General Petraeus and I asked Congressman Jim Leach to join in. Because we didn’t want the 67 year old congressman to have a stroke, we settled for a couple push ups and a nice photo op. I think that was a wise decision.

I’m probably lucky we stopped there — Petraeus would’ve destroyed me. He’s a machine.

Why did you take goofy pictures at your ceremony? Were you worried it’d make you seem less serious?

I try to avoid being serious when I can. Plus, given the nature of the event, I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove. I was just happy to be there and I wanted to have a good time.

What are you up to in the future? Will your prize help?

Right now I’m trying to secure plans to briefly volunteer with the Global Literacy Project in St. Vincent and the Grenandines. After that, I’ll be heading to South Korea where I’ll be filming and writing English educational videos, hopefully on my own show if everything pans out as promised.

IvyPics: Bigwig BFF Edition

Watch out Bonnie and Clyde. Princeton Prez Shirley Tilghman and former USG head-honcho Connor Diemand-Yauman ’10 are obviously a pair of unapologetic BAMFs. And matching ones at that.

The unlikely snapshot was taken just before the well-coiffed matriarch awarded young Connor the Pyne Prize, Princeton’s highest undergraduate honor. And don’t forget the scrilla: the prize comes with a year’s-worth of tuition, which we can only assume was paid out in unmarked Franklins.

This picture is just begging for a sassy caption. Commenters: Find us the perfect one and we’ll credit you. Eternal glory awaits.

IvyGate Presidential Fame Caucus: Shirley Tilghman

This is the sixth installment of a series studying the persona of each Ivy League president—their bank accounts, their haircuts, and the extent to which they’re known and loved. Here’s Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman, who overcame the odds to become a highly successful scientist and Ivy president despite having been born in Canada.

Meet Shirley Tilghman, not to be confused with Wild West gunslinger Bill Tilghman. You can distinguish her by her Meryl Streep circa Devil Wears Prada hairdo, though she is also partial to green hair and sky-high mohawks. Tilghman can be spotted in “lucky orange shoes,” complemented by an orange blazer.

Tilghman knows what she likes: the movie All About Eve, and the jazzy jams of Duke Ellington. She knows, too, what she doesn’t like: improper word usage—including the use of “impact” as a verb—and when students Bicker (not the argument kind, the eating club exclusivity kind). Despite the resolute tenacity of club officers who hold their tradition of weeding out Princeton’s apparently existent lamebrains by a process too elite to go by the name of rush, Tilghman said :

I think the Bicker process is one that divides the student body, that it causes a lot of pain for students who are unsuccessful. If we could evolve into a system where there is a less divisive way for students to become members of eating clubs, that’s what I would like to see…

She may sometimes take a controversial stance, but Tilghman is full of ideas. To confront binge drinking on campus, she wrote in the Daily Princetonian:

I have often thought that the single most effective thing we could do to discourage high-risk drinking is to film students while they are drunk and then force them to watch the videos when they are cold sober the next day. It is not pretty.

And though some students found her approach to be “out of touch,” she has at least one vote: “I think it would be hilarious if we filmed drunk people and made them watch their videos. What a sick idea.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Princeton Mourns “Tragic” Loss of Glorious Moneybags

Princeton President Shirley Tilghman announced this morning that her glorious university will relinquish one-half of one percent of its endowment ($100 million) to settle a six-year-old lawsuit with a clan of grocery store magnates. In 1961, the Robertson family gave $35 million to found the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs; as of June 2008, the Robertsons’ endowment had expanded to $900 million (score one for the i-bankers!) and the students at the prestigious Woody Woo were using their fancy educations to get jobs in lucrative areas like finance (score two for the i-bankers!) instead of piddling work in the public sector (sad pandas for the Robertsons). So the Robertsons sued Princeton for blowing their wad on a bunch of greedy little prigs, and Princeton was all, “Not our fault if President Bush sucks and government jobs are thankless and painful,” and both sides spent tens of millions repeating those two messages for 76 months.

Tilghman outlined the specifics of the settlement in an extraordinarily long email (which we provide in full after the jump) but all that really matters is this part:

It is tragic that this lawsuit required the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars in legal fees that could have and should have been spent on educational and charitable purposes.

Lady, “tragic” is when someone dies. Spending a few million dollars to safeguard your hoard of billions is by definition the passionless pursuit of institutional self-interest. Note that “charitable purposes” refers to a charity the Robertsons fund, which is where the contested money will now go; as in, if Princeton had its way, none of the money would be going to charity, but to the upwardly mobile neophytes of the Woodrow Wilson School. Basically, this entire story is about i-banking, which is also why June’s $900 million is only worth $600 million now, and why future WWS students may actually end up in public sector jobs. Not because the Robertsons sued, not because Shirley is feeling charitable, but because all the awesome money-filled jobs have disappeared into thin air. Also, this.

Moral of the story: Losing money makes people more charitable.

After the jump: Shirley Tilghman’s email bidding adieu to some money, but keeping a lot more, and some gently menacing words from the Robertsons.

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Following the Leaders: Presidents of Brown and Princeton Better than Actual President

Following the Leaders: Presidents of Brown and Princeton Better than Actual PresidentA sad day for journalism when Glamour scoops US News & World Report on the upper education beat, but it happened this month when the former jumped on the “Every crowd around the pretty lady presidents!” bandwagon first. Yesterday’s release of US News‘ “America’s Best Leaders”  echoes Glamour‘s 2007 “Women of the Year” featuring Prezettes Ruth Simmons (Brown) and Shirley Tilghman (Princeton). In USN Simmons and Tilghman sit among notable peoples like Nancy Pelosi, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicholas Kristof and Yo-Yo Ma.

Conspicuously missing from the list are fellow “Women of the Year” Drew Gilpin Faust (president, Harvard) and Amy Gutmann (Fairy Jihad-Mother, Penn), whose mere existence as double-X-chromosomed heads of Ivies is usually reason enough to split Simmons’ and Tilghman’s glory four ways.

Because Nothing Says ‘Glamour’ Like Fairy Jihad-Mother

Because Nothing Says 'Glamour' Like Fairy Jihad-MotherWe’re already salivating for the December issue of Glamour magazine, featuring all four female Ivy League presidents as 2007 Women of the Year.

Prince and DP reports confirm that The Prezettes — Princeton’s Shirley Tilghman, Brown’s Ruth Simmons, Harvard’s Drew Gilpin Faust, and Penn’s Halloween- and maybe-Jihad-loving Amy Gutmann — will appear in glossy photos alongside the likes of Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Edwards, and child actress Abigail Breslin. Gutmann has already begun denying the fact that she’s totally pumped to get airbrushed:

Though Gutmann doesn’t “have much time to read magazines like Glamour,” she said she is pleased that the magazine will use the Fund to raise money for charities that support causes for women.

Whatevs, Amy, we know you’re excited to get a professional blow-out and glossy photos, and for little girls the world around to cut out your picture and decorate their notebooks with it. For those who can’t wait to see if the Gutbomb reprises her strapless red Homecoming dress, fear not! IvyGate will be there for you on November 13 when Women of the Year hits newsstands.

Cornel West Drops New Album, Larry Summers Still Scared of Black People

cornelwestsunglasses.jpgThe Ivy League’s resident black radical and pop-scholar phenom Cornel West returns to hipster-hop with the release of his second rap album, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, featuring the likes of Prince, Talib Kweli, Andre 3000, KRS-One, Jill Scott, Rhymefest, and the late Gerald Levert.  Which is impressive and all, but seriously, where’s Kanye?  This is totally up his alley.  They even have the same last name!

Professor West’s first album, 2001’s Sketches of my Culture, predicated the professor’s public spat with Harvard ex-prez Larry Summers and the professor’s subsequent break from the university in favor of Princeton.  Though his new boss, Princeton president Shirley Tilghman, has yet to comment on Never Forget, West thinks she’ll be hipper to the project than Summers was.  In a Boston Globe article West speculates,

“I think she’ll be much more open than Brother Summers,” he says. “The hip-hop scared him. It’s a stereotypical reaction.”

A vocal opponent of misogyny and hedonism in contemporary hip-hop, West portrays his music as a “danceable education” reaching towards the genre’s socially progressive roots.  “We’ll go from the bling-bling to Let Freedom Ring” Brother West raps in “Bushonomics,” before giving a shout-out to militant beat poet Gil Scott-Heron.  The track features New York MC and black progressive Talib Kweli denouncing “voter registration with no scope of education,” “whore-mongerers,” and “war-mongerers” alike.  Listen to it, and Prince collaboration “Dear Mr. Man,” below. Bushonomics Cornel West and Talib Kweli Dear Mr. Man Cornel West and Prince –MAUREEN O’CONNOR