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Past 'Prince' editors remember mentor's warm personality, invaluable advice

"I'm not going to say goodbye to you," Bill McCleery joked as we walked out of Prospect House in December. It was my last lunch with him as Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Princetonian, coming as I closed out my tenure.

His words now take on new meaning, of course. Now generations of 'Prince' editors must say "goodbye" to Mr. McCleery. He was a best friend to our paper and to the University — a man whose advice so many cherished for so many years.

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Each month during my time as editor, we would meet for lunch to discuss the state of the 'Prince.' I would marvel at his tales of journalism and playwrighting. He would, ever so carefully and cheerfully, critique that month's pages.

A member of the 'Prince' Board of Trustees for more than 20 years, he would always discuss "what you could do better," never "what you did wrong," and think of ways to boost the quality of our content.

Beyond those moments of constructive criticism, he was an amazing man to know, if only for a little more than a year. To talk with him was to hear the voice of someone who had chronicled Princeton's remarkable changes for four decades.

I will miss the chance to discuss with him all matters from campus news to national politics and to enjoy his gentle laughter. Perhaps even more significantly, coming generations of 'Prince' editors will be without one of their best sources of advice.

But I am confident that no one who has known Mr. McCleery ever will say "goodbye" to his lessons and to his memory. Perhaps he knew that already back in December. Stephen Fuzesi, a former Editor-in-Chief of the 'Prince,' is from Greenwich, Conn. He can be reached at sjfuzesi@princeton.edu.

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