After 25 years, part of what’s remarkable about returning to Princeton is how little has changed. There are new buildings, but the physical environment is truly as unchanged as it could possibly be. I wonder if it’s a Potemkin village staged for us returning alumni, and the whole campus will revert to some different reality when we leave on Sunday.
But there is plenty of change behind the facade. Some is good: Princeton’s first woman president, Shirley Tilghman, is striving to fan fresh winds around the old place, and she seems to be succeeding. About the student body, I’m not yet sure. My old patch, The Daily Princetonian, reports that Princeton’s students are considerably more conservative than their peers at Columbia and Harvard, at least as far as the war in Iraq is concerned (probably a pretty good proxy for other issues). At Princeton, 60% of students in March supported the war, compared to 47% at Columbia and 35 % at Harvard.