Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Princeton and $$$

Princeton is Money. It smells money wherever you go on that gorgeous campus.

I have spent time at such places as Oxford, Stanford, Harvard and Columbia. But Princeton where I was recently a Guest of its Asia Studies Department is something else. None of them come close. You see serious money at Princeton everywhere you turn.

Though the total size of its 2009 June-end endowment ($12.6 billions) is not as big as Harvard ($27.3 billions) or Yale ($24.6 billions), but on a per student basis, it is way ahead of everyone else on this entire planet.

The student body is puny at 7000+ compared to 20,000 at Harvard, 11,400 at Yale and 24,000 at Columbia. You walk into any of its libraries, you see wall to wall brand new computers. More supply than demand. Libraries are like country club libraries. Squeaky clean.

Princetonians know they are being spoiled rotten and they reciprocate by giving generously to Alma Mater. It has the highest alumni giving rate of any university on earth.

Its students? Of course they smell of money and have a clean nose for it as well. Not surprisingly, if you read this article here, you can tell these kids are also obsessed with $$$.

40% of recent graduates went straight to Wall Street, more than medicine, law, and a few other professions combined.

In the seventies, Princeton decided to compete with its peers to capture its shares of accomplished alumni other than being an incubator of future brokers or a Wall Street investment banker. And so it started to accept talented students, especially "people of color" -- an unique American euphemism.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, both Princetonians, are among those talented ones Princeton accepted in the 1980's. Princeton, however, remains a welcoming home for the priveleged WASPs. You have a high percentage of Princeton "legacy" students going back several generations.

Historically it was the northern-most southern school. There was a quarter for slaves brought to Princeton by the sons of landowning class in the south. At commencement a few of those young southern gentlemen graduates would free one or two of their favorite slaves to show their "enlightenment".

Have fun reading Daily Princetonian. I hope these students are aware that in fact most of the rich and famous in America -- or the world -- did not go to Princeton or to any Ivy League colleges. Not a few are even college dropouts. Some didn't even finish high school.

1 comment:

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