Welcome Class of 2021!

Thursday, Jul 20, 2017


Dear Class of 2021,

Greetings from Mathey College, your home away from home at Princeton University! As Head of Mathey College, and Professor of Classics (the study of ancient Greece and Rome), I am delighted to welcome you to Mathey. I look forward to getting to know you during the Fall and would like to take this opportunity to tell you a few things about the College.

You will be a member of the 34th group of students to enter the College since its founding in 1983. Dean Mathey College is named for Dean Mathey, class of 1912, one of the most generous and devoted supporters of Princeton University in the twentieth century. Mathey is a four-year college, which means that, if you so desire, you will be able to live in the college beyond your sophomore year, as a junior and senior. 

This academic year (2017-2018) the Mathey College resident student body will be a diverse group of about 550 people, with approximately 213 freshmen, 217 sophomores, and 129 juniors and seniors, some of them members of the Edwards Collective (Mathey's arts and humanities themed housing). Each of you will bring something special to the College, and the entire College staff is here to help you get the most out of your Princeton experience. Many of the activities at Mathey are run by the Mathey College Council, a student group that will be recruiting actively at the beginning of the new semester. This year again we hope to have active participation from members of all four classes. I encourage those of you who are interested to consider volunteering your time and leadership to serve on the Council or to get involved in other ways.

While I divide my time between the Department of Classics and Mathey College, there is a full -time professional staff in place in our office (located on the second floor at 315 Hamilton Hall, just around the corner from the dining hall, and open from 9 am to 5 pm during the week). Dr. Steven Lestition is the Mathey College Dean. He and Dr. Cecily Swanson, our Director of Studies, will help you with all academic matters. Dr. Darleny Cepin, who fills the position of Director of Student Life, leads the team of Residential College Advisors (RCAs), and has oversight of non-academic programs, including residential life. In the unlikely event that it becomes necessary, she also oversees disciplinary actions in the academic and social areas. You will receive (or you may read online) their letters of welcome to the class of 2021. Probably the first person to greet you when you visit the office will be the Office Specialist, Ms. Gail Ivaniski. She will help you arrange appointments with people, sign you up for trips, and generally make you feel welcome.

Finally, and most importantly for you, we have a wonderful group of twelve RCAs (Resident College Advisers). Three alternate RCAs will assist them in their tasks. Get to know your RCA and alternate RCA well (they will also be writing to you this summer); they are inspiring and dedicated students who will be able to help you with a whole range of issues. They all know the ropes! Each RCA group will also be assigned its own Peer Academic Adviser. Ten Residential Graduate Students (RGS), all engaged in pursuing an MA or Ph.D. degree at Princeton in a broad range of academic disciplines, will also be living in the college. They will advise, support, and participate in all kinds of student-led events. Finally, your Academic Advisers, who are Faculty Fellows of Mathey College, will help you choose your courses and discuss your academic plans.

You will see that something interesting happens in Mathey almost every evening of the week. A variety of "tables" take place during the dinner period in either the Dining Hall or the Mathey Private Dining Room and these are open to all members of the College. Recently, we offered language tables in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, spoken Latin, and Russian, as well as a science (“Energy”) table and a philosophy table. Most weeks, we have a luncheon in our private dining room with an informal talk by a College Fellow as well as periodic dinnertime talks with invited speakers. We are fortunate to have Ferris Professor of Journalism Joe Stephens (investigative reporter for the Washington Post) as our faculty in residence (living in Blair Tower). He will also be running a variety of events, in addition to teaching classes on journalism. Mathey shares its Peter S. Firestone Society, which hosts a variety of events and book groups, with our sister college, Rocky. Current-event, career, and general-interest talks are also routinely sponsored by the Dean of the College’s Office, the Davis International Center, the Health Professions Office, the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, and by student groups. We invite and encourage you to attend these special events. More information and continual updates can be found on our webpage: http://matheycollege.princeton.edu .

The entire staff and I stand ready to assist you with your academic and personal growth. Feel free to speak to any of us by coming to the Mathey office. I look forward to meeting you personally in September and during the Fall semester (in a series of dinners for first year students at the Mathey house where I live, which is 23 University Place, immediately opposite the college). You should feel free to stop by the office and see me about any matter that you would like to talk about. If there is anything we can do for you in the meantime, please call us at (609) 258-5717.

With best wishes for a wonderful first year at Princeton,


Harriet I. Flower

Head of Mathey College, Professor of Classics