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Reasons for grad college conversion a joke

In its March 8 issue, the 'Prince' reported that the University is considering using the Graduate College as the site for the new undergraduate residential college recommended by the Wythes committee. I'm sure that by now no one needs convincing that the graduate school is the poor relation of the Princeton family. Though undoubtedly intelligent and probably wellintentioned, it is also eccentric in the wrong ways and, worst of all, doesn't have any money. It has its uses, of course. When the Orange Key tour guides have to reassure nervous parents of Princeton's academic standing, they may mention some of the Nobel Prize or MacArthur Genius Grant winners the grad school tends to produce. If they inadvertently give the impression that John Nash, Richard Feynman or Steven Weinberg were undergrads here, well, never mind.

The only good thing about being a poor relation is that people — which is to say, undergraduate alums — say the most hilarious things about you without even realizing it. Some of the quotes in Cindy Kellogg '01's report were just breathtaking. Physical planning director Jon Hlafter '61 pointed out that the Graduate College is "a ready-made college" and would be relatively easy to convert into undergraduate housing. Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard Spies '72 noted that "the fact that it is already built in the form of a residential college makes it very appealing." And project manager Amy Floresta had the presence of mind to spot that the G.C. has the "physical spaces internally and externally that a residential college would have."

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"A ready-made college"? "Already built in the form of a residential college"? "The physical spaces that a residential college would have"? This is hilarious. This sort of thing can only come from a certain kind of Princeton mind. I can imagine the three of them in Rome, on a tour of the Sistine Chapel. They walk through the Basilica in awe. Hlafter turns to Spies and says, "You know, this place is just a ready-made church."

"I was wondering about that myself," replies Spies. "The fact that it's already built in the form of a church makes it very suitable for conversion into a place of religious worship."

"And isn't it funny that it has all the physical spaces that a church would have?" adds Floresta. "How odd."

They walk off towards a trattoria to sketch some plans for a "Princeton in Italy" program. "What an interesting old building," says Hlafter as they leave, "Any idea who used to live there?"

"Haven't a clue," one of them says as they leave. "I wonder who paid for that ceiling, though."

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