McCosh 50. This week’s PAW has a great article with quotations (below) that came to life in McCosh 50. It is the building’s 100th anniversary. The article made me think about the many moments at Princeton that were in that space. I think often of how space must hold memory, somehow.
McCosh 50 was where much of Princeton’s academics started – I took both intro Econ classes there as well as Literature 141 with Victor Brombert. I still have some of the essays from that class: “The Mistress and the Intended: Two Women in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” “Tadzio as a Timeless Figure in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice,” “Motion, Statis, and the Journey Towards Self-Discovery in Homo Faber.” How juvenile and young those titles seem! Ah, freshman year.
McCosh 50 was also the site of unforgettable moments, both happy and sad, with the love of my Princeton years.
I love the quotations that the PAW includes in their celebration. The breadth of topics, the combination of provocation and reflection, the variety of speakers all speak to what I consider some of Princeton’s essential qualities.
“There can be nothing more disruptive of our success in every great area of foreign policy than the impression … that we are prepared to sacrifice the traditional values of our civilization to our fears rather than defend our values with our faith.” – George Kennan ’25 speaking about foreign policy and the McCarthy era, March 1954
“The object of all science, whether natural science or psychology, is to coordinate our experiences and to bring them into a logical system.” – Albert Einstein, in his lectures on relativity, May 1921
“I say to you that in spite of the fact that I have all the reasons in the world to give up on humanity, I won’t … Despair is never an option.” – Elie Weisel, September 2005
“We began to prove about 20 years ago that women can do what men can do. Now it must be demonstrated that men can do what women can do.” – Gloria Steinem, December 1997
“It was like entering a dark mansion. You fumble around in a completely dark room for a couple of years. You bump into the furniture looking for the light switch. When you find it, you move to the next room.” – Andrew Wiles, on solving Fermat’s Final Theorem, March 1995
“I have yet to find a state constitution that begins, ‘We the some of the people…'” – Thurgood Marshall, February 1964
“There is everlasting repetition in human beings. Everything inside of everyone is endlessly different yet endlessly the same … The history of everyone is the history of anyone.” – Gertrude Stein, November 1934