Mudd exhibition panel, Feb. 28: The impact of war on education at Princeton University

Posted: Friday, 2 February 2018 - 10:26am

 Written by Sara Logue, Assistant University Archivist for Public Services

“Learning to Fight, Fighting to Learn: Education in Times of War”
Exhibition Panel Discussion
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
February 28, 2018 at 1pm in the Harlan Room at Mudd Library

Moderated by: Sara Logue, Exhibition Curator

Mudd Library Exhibition

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library is home to the Princeton University Archives and a collection of 20th century Public Policy Papers. The current exhibition, on display through June 2018, "Learning to Fight, Fighting to Learn: Education in Times of War," examines the impact war has had on education and college campuses, specifically Princeton, over the span of 200 years. We invite you to a panel discussion to be held at the Mudd Library to gain a deeper understanding of this impact from alumni and staff who experienced it first-hand.

The event will consist of a conversation with three members of the Princeton community: 

Dr. Robert Rivers, Class of 1953
First African American member elected to Princeton University's Board of Trustees, 1969, and retired vascular surgeon

Dr. Robert Rivers

Dr. Robert Rivers grew up in the town of Princeton and attended the integrated Princeton Public High School. As a young man, he saw the first African American students attend Princeton University as part of the Navy's V-12 program during World War II. In 1946, the Princeton Summer Camp was reopened after the war and was integrated for the first time. Rivers was one of the first African American campers and later said of the experience that it was "a defining moment. ... I began to think seriously about personal possibilities at Princeton University."

As a high-school student in town, he again watched as African American students joined the Princeton student body as traditional applicants in the Classes of 1951 and 1952. When it came time for him to attend college, he applied to Princeton University and was one of only three African American students accepted into the Class of 1953.

He would go on to study medicine at Harvard Medical School and have a distinguished career as a vascular surgeon. In 1969, he was elected as the first African American to Princeton's Board of Trustees. He was joined later that year by Young Alumni Trustee Brent L. Henry '69. In 2016, Rivers was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Princeton University. Rivers, whose family contributed to the University in a variety of ways and whose sons attended as well, is now retired, and still lives in Princeton.

Robert Durkee, Class of 1969
Princeton University Vice President and Secretary

Robert Durkee graduated from Princeton University with a magna cum laude AB degree in 1969, majoring in public and international affairs. While at Princeton, he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian

His professional career at Princeton began in 1972 as assistant to the president. In 1978, he was appointed vice president for public affairs, a position which oversees the offices of communications, community and regional affairs, government affairs, public affairs, and up until 2016, alumni affairs. 

In 2004, Durkee was appointed vice president and secretary of the University, serving as senior advisor to the president and providing administrative support to the Board of Trustees. He serves or has served on a number of boards and committees, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Public Affairs Committee of the Association of American Universities. He was also the founding chair of Princeton University's Martin Luther King Day Committee. 

In the fall of 2017, Durkee stepped down from his long-held post as vice president for public affairs to devote his full attention to his role as vice president and secretary of the University.

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin McKiernan
Princeton University Director of the Army Officer Education Program

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin McKiernan

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin McKiernan graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1991 and earned his master's degree from George Washington University in 1993. He entered the Army in 1994 as an enlisted military intelligence signal interceptor. In 1997, he completed Officer Candidate School and commissioned into the military intelligence branch of the U.S. Army. He served his lieutenant years in Baumholder, Germany. During this assignment, he deployed for 9 months to Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Forge/Guard.

As a captain, he served as the Assistant S3 deploying in support of operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Colombia, and Kuwait. Upon changing command, he served at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels, Germany. 

Upon leaving JMRC, LTC McKiernan deployed to Qatar and was responsible for coordinating Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance support for Army ground units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later, he was selected to attend the Naval War College for Intermediate Level Education (ILE) and completed training as an operational planner through the year-long Maritime Advanced Warfighter Seminar (MAWS). Among his many awards and decorations are a Bronze Star and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal. 

Prior to his assignment to Princeton University, LTC McKiernan was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, where he served as the Senior Intelligence Analyst for East Africa.

You are welcome to visit the Mudd Library exhibition, "Learning to Fight, Fighting to Learn: Education in Times of War" at any time during Mudd Library's open hours, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. through June 2018.

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Library Communications Manager