January 2022: A Year in Review

Written by
Office of State Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

While life still felt different in 2021, the promise of vaccines, careful compliance with COVID-safe practices, and sheer will to engage in in-person learning brought some sense of normality back to the University, as students were able to fully return to campus over the course of the year. The Princeton University community persisted and will continue to venture forward together in 2022. And, as University President Chris Eisgruber noted in his message about plans for the fall semester, Princeton will remain committed to its teaching and research mission. “We must do everything possible to restore the full and vibrant Princeton community we so cherish.

In this issue of @Princeton.edu, we will look back on some of the biggest stories of 2021, including groundbreaking regional efforts to spur innovation, initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion, some of the year’s most significant research stories, and Nobel Prize awards for Princeton University faculty and alumni.

Breaking Ground and Forging New Partnerships

Princeton University Lake Campus Ground Breaking

Princeton breaks ground on Lake Campus Development

On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, local officials joined members of the Princeton University community to break ground on the University’s Lake Campus Development in West Windsor, New Jersey. The Lake Campus Development will be built on lands the University has owned for more than 100 years and will be the University’s first major campus expansion in West Windsor. The development will house more than 600 postdocs and graduate students and feature a parking garage with more than 600 spaces, a geo-exchange facility to heat and cool structures, and varsity athletic and recreational facilities. Read more.

The Hub New Brunswick

Speaking at the Hub groundbreaking, provost underlines Princeton commitment to robust, inclusive innovation ecosystem

In October 2021, government, health care industry and higher education leaders came together in downtown New Brunswick for the groundbreaking of the new research, education and innovation center known as “The Hub.” Princeton University Provost Deborah A. Prentice spoke at the groundbreaking saying “Princeton is committed to developing a robust and inclusive innovation ecosystem throughout the central New Jersey area that welcomes and benefits from the perspectives of New Jersey’s diverse residents.” Read more.


New regional Princeton-led innovation hub to accelerate tech, enhance diversity in entrepreneurship

Princeton University is the lead institution in the new Innovation-Corps (I-Corps) Northeast Hub, one of five new hubs announced in August 2021 and funded by the National Science Foundation to foster startups based on federally-funded research. The University of Delaware and Rutgers are partner institutions in the effort, and the hub will also include five initial affiliates: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University in New Jersey; Lehigh University and Temple University in Pennsylvania; and Delaware State University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Learn more.

Ludwig Cancer Center Princeton

Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Princeton University partner to ‘push the frontiers’ on diet, metabolism and cancer

Princeton University is the home of a new branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, an international community of distinguished scientists dedicated to preventing and controlling cancer. The Ludwig Princeton Branch will focus on cancer metabolism and its promise for new and better ways to prevent and treat cancer, addressing questions like: Since tumors feast on glucose, should cancer patients eat more sugary treats or fewer? When advanced cancer patients see their bodies wasting away, should they fight back with carb-loading or steak? Read more.

Efforts to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity at Princeton University.

Emma Bloomberg Center summer programs empower FLI students for school success

The Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI), the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP), and the Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) are separate programs that share similar missions: to empower and support first-generation, lower-income and underrepresented students. The pre-matriculation programs are among Princeton’s nation-leading initiatives in college access and opportunity under the umbrella of the Emma Bloomberg Center. Read more.

Robertson Hall Princeton University

Eisgruber, New Jersey higher education leaders urge Congress to double Pell Grants

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber and higher education leaders across New Jersey sent a letter to the state’s Congressional delegation in support of doubling the maximum Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is a federal financial aid program for college students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds. Eisgruber and Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway co-authored the letter, which was signed by 44 higher education leaders representing independent and public four- and two-year colleges and universities across New Jersey. The current maximum Pell Grant award is $6,495. Read more.

Princeton Class of 2025 Banner

Princeton’s Class of 2025 arrives from across the country and around the globe, embracing record number of first-gen and lower-income students

Princeton University welcomed the Class of 2025 to campus on Sunday, August 29. Coming from all 50 states — plus Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and 58 different countries, the 1,345 members of the first-year class includes more than 200 students who deferred enrollment from the Classes of 2023 and 2024. Eighteen percent are first-generation college students, 22% are lower-income students eligible for federal Pell grants and 62% qualify for University financial aid. Forty-eight percent of the incoming students are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who self-identify as people of color, including biracial and multiracial students. Read more.

2021 Research Stories

Princeton University Professor Yibin Kang

New cancer therapy from Yibin Kang’s lab holds potential to switch off major cancer types without side effects

Imagine you could cure cancer by targeting one tiny gene. Imagine that same gene occurred in every major cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, liver and colon. Imagine that the gene is not essential for healthy activity, so you could attack it with few or no negative side effects. Cancer biologist Yibin Kang has spent more than 15 years investigating a little-known but deadly gene called MTDH, or metadherin, which enables cancer in two important ways — and which he can now disable, in mice and in human tissue, with a targeted experimental treatment that will be ready for human trials in a few years. Read more.

Net Zero America Project

Big but affordable effort needed for America to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Princeton study shows

With a massive, nationwide effort the United States could reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 using existing technology and at costs aligned with historical spending on energy, according to a study led by Princeton University researchers. The new "Net-Zero America" research outlines five distinct technological pathways for the United States to decarbonize its entire economy. The research is the first study to quantify and map with this degree of specificity, the infrastructure that needs to be built and the investment required to run the country without emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than are removed from it each year. It’s also the first to pinpoint how jobs and health will be affected in each state at a highly granular level, sometimes down to the county. Read more.

Map by Princeton University Researchers

Princeton astrophysicists re-imagine world map, designing a less distorted, ‘radically different’ way to see the world

For centuries, mapmakers have agonized over how to accurately display our round planet on anything other than a globe. Now, a fundamental re-imagining of how maps can work has resulted in the most accurate flat map ever made. Their new map is two-sided and round, like a phonograph record or vinyl LP. Like many radical developments, it seems obvious in hindsight. Why not have a two-sided map that shows both sides of the globe? It breaks away from the limits of two dimensions without losing any of the logistical convenience — storage and manufacture — of a flat map. Read more.

2021 Nobel Prize Week

Princeton U Alum Maria Ressa

The week of October 4-11, 2021, was extraordinary in Princeton’s Nobel Prize history, with five new laureates from the University community. The recipients include Princeton University senior meteorologist Syukuro Manabe, Professor of Chemistry David MacMillan, Princeton alumna and New Jersey native, Maria Ressa, and Princeton alumni David Card and Joshua Angrist.