Welcome First Years

Friday, Aug 2, 2019

Greetings from Mathey! As Head of Mathey College, and Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, I am delighted to welcome you to your home away from home at Princeton University. The entire staff of the college is excited that you will be joining our community. I look forward to meeting in September and getting to know you over the course of the school year. In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a few things about the College.

You will be a member of the 37th group of students to enter the College since its founding in 1982. 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 (2019-2020) the Mathey College resident student body will be a diverse group of about 540 people, with approximately 224 first-year students, 206 sophomores, and 110 juniors and seniors, some of them members of the Edwards Collective, Mathey's arts and humanities themed housing. In our community, you will find athletes and musicians, poets and astrophysicists, students of every religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and economic circumstance. Mathey College is a place where all of us come together, to look out for each other, engage with each other, and understand each other, in a supportive environment where we can all feel at home. This community of people will be a source of fun, friendship and support as you acclimate to university life.

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. The Mathey College Council organizes activities such as study breaks, intramural athletics, civic engagement activities, and trips to Broadway shows, sporting or musical events. This year we again 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—such as the college’s Writers Studio or the Peter S. Firestone Society (a library, book arts, and book group society which we share with our sister college, Rockefeller).

Mathey College has an array of individuals who are dedicated to helping you make the most of your Princeton experience. One of the first people you will meet when you arrive is your RCA (Resident College Adviser), a junior or senior who is carefully selected to be a source of guidance and inspiration. He or she will be writing you this summer. We have a wonderful group of twelve RCAs, as well as three alternate RCAs who assist them in their tasks. Get to know them well. Each RCA group will also be assigned its own Peer Academic Adviser. Nine 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 overall academic and career plans.

There is also a full-time professional staff in place in our office (located on the second floor of 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), advises the College Council and has oversight of co-curricular programs that enhance 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 2023. Probably the first person to greet you when you visit the office will be the College Office Coordinator, Ms. Gail Ivaniski. She will help you arrange appointments with people, notify you of college events and trips, and generally make you feel welcome. Our College Program Administrator, Mr. Yamile Perez, oversees our budget and helps in the planning and execution of events throughout the College. Feel free to speak to any of the staff by coming to the Mathey office.

As Head of the College, I split time between my offices in Mathey and Psychology. You should feel free to stop by either office, and reach out about any matter that you would like to talk about. We will meet in person at the dinner on move-in day and have a chance to get to know each other through 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 are also likely to meet my husband, Joseph Barnes, and my son, Marshall (who is 8) at the house or in the dining hall.

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. Every other week 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 as our faculty-in-residence (living in Blair Tower). He will also be running a variety of events, in addition to leading Princeton’s Journalism Program.  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.

The entire staff and I stand ready to assist you with your academic and personal growth. If there is anything we can do for you in the meantime, please call us at (609) 258-5717. More information and continual updates can also be found on our webpage: http://matheycollege.princeton.edu. And do check our Facebook page and our Instagram feed for Mathey news and photos.

With best wishes for a wonderful first year at Princeton,


Stacey Sinclair


Head of Mathey College

Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs