Vibrations at Prospect and Olden

I posted a version of this today on Win Straube’s Education Blog.

Distance learning philanthropist Gerhard Andlinger donated $100 million for the Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University. Princeton just announced that construction will begin in 2012. A quick look at his bio reveals that the Austrian-born teenager first came to this country as the winner of an essay contest, studied economics and (prophetically) Arabic at Princeton, earned a Harvard MBA, and had an obviously profitable career that included stints with ITT plus his own leveraged buyout firm.

Andlinger must believe in distance learning because he endowed a professorship in distance learning at Cornell’s medical school, officially known as the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Yet at Princeton he donated for bricks and mortar. When you think about it, that’s no conflict. Medicine lends itself to distance learning. Energy research does not. One of the buildings designed by Tod Williams for the Andlinger Center will be built on bedrock three stories below ground to reduce vibrations.

And now I know why the former Third World Center, former occupant of that site, was moved across the street to spanking new quarters, the Carl A. Fields Center (pictured) — to the advantage of two of my favorite organizations. Both Not in Our Town and the United Front Against Riverblindness have scheduled events in that gorgeous space in the next two weeks. Not in Our Town will have its Unity Awards ceremony next Sunday, and UFAR, with the support of Princeton United Methodist Church will stage a community wide African Soiree on Saturday, May 22, complete with authentic African food, music, and the Umoja and Usaama Dance Company. To have fun and support a good cause, reserve $50 tickets at 609-924-2613.

My house is just blocks away from the proposed construction site, where the vibrations from the excavations will rival those from the rock bands at the dining clubs, just yards away on Prospect Street. Their thump thump thump echoes in my house behind closed doors. But though I’m not looking forward to the excavation, I have to admit the Andlinger complex will be beautiful.

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