21 Questions with … Clayton Marsh ’85


Clayton MarshName: Clayton Marsh
Campus title: Deputy Dean of the College (Designate)
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Who’s your favorite Princetonian, living or dead, real or fictional?
Alexi Indris-Santana is certainly not my “favorite” Princetonian, but having taught a freshman seminar on American swindlers and impostors for several years, I do find his story impossible to resist.  He arrived on campus in 1990 as an 18-year-old, self-educated desert nomad who lived on cactus juice and read Plato under the stars.  In fact, he was a 29-year-old fugitive named Jim Hogue.

Where’s the best place to eat in town?
Hoagie Haven

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day?
As the next Deputy Dean, I will spend my days working with colleagues and students in an effort to maintain and enhance the distinctive quality of the undergraduate academic experience at Princeton.

What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
Sneaking scraps to my dogs under the dinner table.

What was your ‘welcome to college’ moment?
My first date.  During freshman week, I worked up the nerve to ask a classmate to dinner at a local restaurant.  She was a sophisticated young woman from the East coast.  When I stepped around to her side of the table and offered to get her chair, just as my mom had insisted that I always do for a lady, she stood there and said with a smile, “I’m sorry, do you want to sit here?”

What are your goals as deputy dean of the college?
To do everything I can to ensure that each of our undergraduates walk through the FitzRandolph Gate on commencement holding the genuine article — diplomas that represent real growth, achievement and independence.

What is your favorite quote?
Call me Ishmael.

Where do you do your best thinking?
Up the creek without a paddle

What are you pitching this week?

Describe your 8-year-old self in five words or less
In trouble

What is the best place on campus?
The sundial in front of McCosh Hall

Worst place?
I haven’t found one.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the ‘snooze’ button.

What makes you laugh?
Will Farrell and Dean Dunne

What makes you cry?
The Kansas City Chiefs

What Princeton tradition do you wish you could revive?
Clapper nabbing.  For years, the freshman class would find a way to steal the clapper from the belfry of Nassau Hall so that the campus clock could not announce the start of the academic year.  (Don’t get any ideas: the clapper was permanently removed in the mid-1990s.)

Do you have any funny nicknames?
None that have been shared with me

Pet peeve?
Family holiday cards that feature fabulous vacation photos

I read that you graduated in 1985, have served as University counsel, taught freshmen seminars … when will you leave this place?
Only time will tell.

In ten years, you will be …
Heading out to sea

What makes someone a Princetonian?