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New chair of the Alumni Council Newman ’78 hopes to increase participation among graduate alumni

New Alumni Council chair Nancy Newman ’78 will make increasing graduate alumni participation in alumni events one of her top priorities, she said in a recent interview with The Daily Princetonian.

Newman was elected to replace Henry Von Kohorn ’66two years ago, and in accordance with the bylaws of the Alumni Council, served as vice chair for two years before becoming chair this past summer. Newman is also now president of the Alumni Association.


“In the alumni association, graduate alumni hadn’t been participating at the same level as undergraduate alumni,” said Margaret Miller ’80, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Director of the Alumni Council. “So another strategic focus was to engage graduate alumni at the same level.”

Graduate alumni outreach will continue under Newman’s term most immediately through a conference for graduate alumni from Oct. 17-19. The event, titled “Many Minds, Many Stripes”, invites graduate alumni to campus for a three-day weekend. It will feature remarks by General David Petraeus GS ’87and journalist George Will GS ’68.

Newman said her values as chair could be presented in the acronym CHEER, which stands for Celebrating, Honoring, Embracing, Engaging and Recognizing Princeton alumni and alumni volunteers.

While Newman looks to continue the Alumni Association’s success, she said she is also alert to future pitfalls.

“We really are the envy of other institutions,” said Newman, adding that “whenever there are tough times financially, there are tough times in terms of people being willing to give their time, as well. So we’re all going to navigate our situation and our economy. Princeton weathers those kinds of things extraordinarily well, but we still need to be aware of the economy.”

Newman has a long history of involvement with the University. After winning the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest academic award bestowed upon an undergraduate, Newman was named a Marshall Scholar and studied at the University of London before attending Harvard Medical School. Newman is now a professor of ophthalmology and neurology at Emory University in Atlanta.


Newman has volunteered extensively throughout the alumni community, and served as a member of the board of trustees for 14 years.

Those involved with the association say Newman has big shoes to fill: Von Kohorn, who served as chair for the past two years, left his mark on the association.

“Henry was a wonderful president of the Alumni Association,” Miller said. “His two years were really focused on bringing more alumni into volunteer activities around the University. He was all about inclusion, and so many of the things the Alumni Association did in the past two years were about engaging alumni in different ways.”

Von Kohorn, who declined to comment, held conferences and targeted events to reach out to specific demographics, such as the “She Roars”conference for women undergraduate and graduate alumnae.

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The new vice chair is Jeffrey Wieser ’74.