Larry DuPraz walks into the newsroom of The Daily Princetonian without a word. He is dressed simply and casually, wearing paint-stained khakis, a bright sweater, and a fire-rescue scanner on his belt. He is 78 years old — older than most of the student writers' and editors' grandparents — though he could pass for a man 20 years younger.
DuPraz turns toward the editors, who are seated in the front of the room. He holds up a copy of that day's Prince, allowing it to unfold to display the front page in its entirety.
The usual newsroom chatter dies down with the initiation of this ritual. Once he has everyone's attention, DuPraz starts in.
"What the hell is wrong with you guys?" he explodes. "The layout is wrong, I can't tell who's in this photograph, and you missed the biggest story of the day. You guys call yourselves a newspaper? Cancel my subscription."
The editors know better than to try to explain themselves. DuPraz has performed similar acts of assail with Prince editors for more than a half century.
Starting before World War II and continuing today, DuPraz has been alternately drill sergeant, journalism professor, printer, surrogate father, coach, critic, pain in the ass, mentor and friend to Princeton undergraduates who have worked at The Daily Princetonian . He directly oversaw the publication of more than 6,200 issues of the paper from 1946 to 1987 and has been the informal adviser to well over 1,000 students, including R.W. Apple Jr., Frank Deford, John Stossel, and Landon Jones.
He has accomplished all this with a manner that has ranged from brusque to tempestuous. He belittles editors and writers continuously and is quick to let everyone know the limits of their talents. His barbs are ruthless and relentless, starting the first time he meets a student as a freshman and not finishing until after that student's graduation.
With his small but thick frame hunched over pages for the next day's paper, a cloud of smoke climbing from his cigar, many a student remembers his ash growing longer and longer — almost but not quite falling on the moveable type he was proofreading. When he was done squinting through his thick-framed glasses at a page, a typical DuPraz comment to the anxious students standing over his shoulder was, "You guys are the sorriest bunch of jerks that have ever been through this place."
While DuPraz has offended his share of students with his cutting verbal jabs, his demeanor stems from a commitment to his job and to a quality product. While much can be said about The Daily Princetonian , one thing it cannot be called during the DuPraz era is messy. Students tend to listen to him despite his over-the-top antics, mostly because he is good at what he does. On top of that, he has learned and relearned the art of printing, seamlessly taking the Prince from the days of hot lead to the age of computers and becoming an institution in the process.
Even though DuPraz has been officially retired from the Prince since 1987 and is now officially only a consultant hired by the paper's trustees, he has continued to involve himself in the daily operations of the paper. He still stops by the paper every day, making sure, he said, "that these damn kids don't mess up too much."
When I first contacted DuPraz about this profile, he was quick to tell me it was a bad idea.
"I don't know why you want to talk to me," he told me curtly. "Couldn't you find anyone interesting to interview?"
The challenge of telling the story of what he has meant to the Princetonian or to Princeton comes from several fronts. For starters, he has meant so much to so many that doing him justice is impossible. Innumerable Princeton graduates consider DuPraz a friend who was more valuable to their intellectual and professional development than any professor, class or department at Princeton. Indeed, DuPraz's is considered the best class at Princeton by many of these students. While none of them ever got a grade for it, DuPraz's classes have daily reading material, constant lectures, and a series of tests administered over the course of four years.
Another problem is that I am one of these alumni of the DuPraz School of Journalism. I was editor-in-chief of the Prince in 1997 and the early part of 1998, which means that I suffered DuPraz's taunts and tirades. I also saw his brilliance and his talent first-hand, and no article can fully express that.
Then there's the issue of DuPraz's stories. Every time I tried to get him to talk about his time at the Prince , he told me stories. He is an institution at the Prince , a legend, really. That means having an institutional memory, which he displays on a regular basis through tales of various literal and figurative lengths. DuPraz does not like to talk about himself or his history except in the context of the Prince .
Luckily, there is help, in the form of the generations of Prince alumni who say about DuPraz what he will not or cannot say about himself. Many are successful journalists; others are doctors, lawyers, bankers, politicians. They are in almost universal agreement on one point: They would not be where they are today without Larry DuPraz.
"He's been a very important constant in my life," said Richard Thaler, an investment banker who was Prince business manager from the class of '73 and is now a member of the Prince Board of Trustees. "He's a special guy. He's always there for you."
"It's impossible to honor him in the way that he should be honored," said Andy Schneider, a Prince managing editor in the Princeton the class of '87 who is now a North Carolina physician. "He's probably the best part of my Princeton experience."
"He was like a veteran catcher who'd been there doing this forever, and you were a rookie pitcher," said Jose Ferrer III, who was Prince chairman in 1960 and 1961 and is now executive editor of Time Inc. "There was a sense that we were all playing at it a little bit until we arrived at the press, where Larry wasn't playing."
While it may seem hard for DuPraz's students to believe, he has not always been at the Prince . He was born in Princeton on December 17, 1919, and his family expected him to follow his father into business. "Papa" DuPraz, as Larry's father was called by nearly everyone, served as personal chef to President Woodrow Wilson at his summer retreat in New Jersey and ran a successful Princeton restaurant that was frequented by Albert Einstein.
But young Larry did not want to run a restaurant. He was interested in publishing and spent time after school at the now-defunct Princeton Herald , where he learned typesetting on letterpress printing equipment that was already old when he got there in the 1930s.
In 1940 and 1941, he served as a printer's apprentice at the Herald , sweeping the floor of excess hot metal and working with linotypists. It was there that DuPraz had his first contact with the Prince , which printed on the Herald's equipment.
From 1942 to 1945, DuPraz went off to war. He was stationed in England as a combat intelligence officer for the U.S. Army Air Corps' 100th bomb group. Though no one would have guessed it at the time, those years would be the last extended period of time DuPraz would spend away from the Prince . He spent some time working for a chemical company in Brooklyn after the war, but he quit because of the commuting hours and because he realized he had been spending time away from his two main loves — his then-girlfriend, Nora, whom he would marry in 1947 and with whom he would have a daughter in 1950, and the newspaper business.
In 1946, not long after the Prince restarted publication after the war — a lack of manpower caused the paper to cease publishing from 1943 to 1946 — DuPraz was hired by the Princeton Herald , where his services were rented to the Prince during the academic year. He assisted a competent but frequently inebriated typesetter named Tom Cornwell.
While he was in a subservient position at first, Prince editors from those days recall that DuPraz was the boss even then.
"Things got out the way they were supposed to, and that's because of Larry," said Donald Oberdorfer, Prince chairman from 1951 to 1952 who went on to a distinguished career as a reporter for The Washington Post . "He was much younger then, but he kept the place going. Sometimes it felt like daily magic."
DuPraz became chief compositor of the Prince in the mid-1950s, putting him in charge of bringing the moveable-type headlines and the linotype-generated text together to create full pages of text. He would then run the press by hand, feeding pages one by one for the length of the press run.
The ancient equipment at the Herald chugged through the 1960s, and DuPraz was one of the only people around that could operate the dinosaur. In 1972, he was made an employee of the Princeton Packet when the Prince switched from letterpress to photo-offset printing. It would be the first of several times that his job would change in a fundamental way.
"Essentially Larry's job was eliminated at about the time that Larry could have reasonably retired," said Peter Carry, a Prince sports editor in 1963 and 1964 who is now an executive editor at Sports Illustrated . "He wouldn't let go. He learned a whole new trade at a time that most people say, 'screw it.'"
Though DuPraz retired in 1987, one gets the sense that someone forgot to tell him about it. Brian Smith, who replaced DuPraz as production supervisor after DuPraz retired, said DuPraz continues to be an asset for him and the students.
"I always listen. I'm always learning from him," he said. "He keeps me on my toes."
"If you've been in a job as long as he has, there's an attachment," said Nora DuPraz, Larry's wife of 50 years. "And many a night he's gone up there and bailed them out."
Most people's first impression of Larry DuPraz is not overwhelmingly positive. This is especially true for Princeton students who show up at the Prince freshman year thinking they know it all. DuPraz would often introduce himself to such students by blowing cigar smoke in their face and telling them how bad their first stories were.
"Larry began the minute you walked in the door by insulting you, and they were relentless insults," Carry said. "This was all bluster. The typical Princeton freshman is pretty full of himself. If you let some snot-nosed kid take over the press room, you'd never get the paper out. He disarmed the kids. You didn't know shit, and he introduced you to this fact right away."
DuPraz is known to blow his top from time to time. He can seem a cantankerous monster to those who first meet him. He has called just about every groups of editors he has worked with "the worst I have ever seen" to motivate them.
"He was able to be confrontational in a healthy way," said Landon Jones, Prince associate editorial chairman in 1965 and 1966, the former managing editor of People and now vice president of strategic planning for Time Inc. "He ruled the place like a czar, but he was a benign despot. He basically scared the shit out of everyone who worked under him. He would get angry at people when they screwed up."
When he was not berating students, DuPraz spoke his mind in other ways. He told undergraduates he was quitting hundreds of times, sometimes going as far as leaving the building and getting in his car or introducing the students to his hand-picked "replacement," who was usually an 18-year-old who was in on the prank.
"If they didn't do what I told them to, I'd tell them to go to hell," DuPraz said. "I believe a lot of the kids appreciate my discipline, even though they didn't at the time."
DuPraz and praise have seldom mixed. Editors have always gotten objective honesty rather than candy-coated criticism or praise for praise's sake.
"He'd always whine and complain," said David Zielenziger, Prince chairman in 1973 and 1974 who now works for Bloomberg News, "but he was always right."
"There was always a sense that he could turn on you and punch you in the nose," said Richard Kluger, Prince chairman from the class of '56 and a Pulitzer-Prize-winning author. "He was a very tough task-master. Praise from him was rare but welcome." Students can go four years without hearing a compliment from DuPraz. Still, he has always known how to avoid pushing students too far.
"He would occasionally come close to the line," Kluger said. "But he was very shrewd picking up on personality differences to get as much out of people as possible."
"He could be deflating, but he could also be a supporter for those whose ego needed a boost," said John Reading, Prince news production editor in 1966 and 1967 and now a lawyer in Boston.
Current editors have never been immune to his criticism. In fact, they have traditionally been forced to bear the brunt of it.
"Once you were on the senior board, he let you know you were the worst whatever your title was," Carry said. "He would constantly harp on you about who your predecessors were. It was fairly inspiring. Larry was obviously proud of these guys. He was reminding you that the Prince was a serious matter."
Ferrer remembers wishing DuPraz would give more feedback because he valued his opinion so much. In the end, this made him work harder as an editor.
"He'd wince when you wrote a bad headline, and he'd never tell you if you wrote a good one," Ferrer said. "I never knew whether he thought I was doing a good job. I suspected it, and I wanted to believe it, but I never really knew. You knew he could measure you against all the guys who had done the chairman's job before."
Editors today hear about how great Frank Deford was as an editor. But not even Deford was immune to DuPraz's unfavorable comparisons.
"He was saying to us, 'Those giants walked the earth. And now we have you guys,'" Deford said. "It was part of his act. It was a routine. If you got a compliment from Larry about a story you did, you walked on the air."
He has gotten into the practice of nicknaming editors in recent years, seeming to forget their given names for the length of their tenure. My nickname was "Dicky Boy," and DuPraz never called me anything else during my time as editor-in-chief.
The challenge for any editor has been to realize that most of DuPraz's tirades and maledictions are aimed at making the paper better.
"He could be pretty sarcastic. Some of the editors didn't really know how to take it," said Donald Kirk, Prince managing editor from the class of '59 and now a reporter for The International Herald-Tribune in Asia. "It was like an initiation. He was going to be nasty and sarcastic. As generations of Princetonian writers and editors can attest, his heart's in the right place."
"It wasn't like he was a piece of cake," Kirk added. "But then again, someone had to get the paper out. He had a gritty desire to get the paper out properly."
DuPraz's extraordinary competence has contributed to the respect he commands.
"As much as he treated us like little pip-squeaks, he made us feel like we were grown-ups because we were working with a professional," Deford said. "He somehow let you know that you were his colleague. I think that was his secret."
"He had a very high standard of what was good," said William Greider, Prince managing editor if 1957 and 1958 who is now national editor of Rolling Stone and a noted economic writer. "If you screwed it up, then the paper wouldn't get delivered."
Kluger said Princeton freshmen were often awed by DuPraz's dexterity with the printing press, a complex contraption that required specialized skills to run.
"He was clearly pretty good at what he did," Kluger said. "You had the sense that you were learning from the guy."
"Everything fell on his shoulders," Thaler said. "The paper would have died without Larry."
In case there was any doubt as to how important DuPraz was to the Prince in that period, some time without him there would remind the undergraduates that they had better continue to put up with his gibes. When his duties as a volunteer fire fighter were needed on a rescue call, DuPraz would drop everything at the Prince , and the students invariably had to drop everything as well.
"He'd leave when there was a fire, and you couldn't do a damn thing if he left," Carry said. "Everyone who worked at the paper for more than two weeks knew the paper wouldn't come out without Larry. If something went wrong, you really saw what he could do. This guy would seem to fix anything."
DuPraz's civic work is nearly as legendary as his work with the Prince . He has spent 47 years as a fire fighter for the Princeton Volunteer Fire Department, has taken turns as chief and assistant chief of the department and is now vice president of the Princeton Fireman's Relief Association. Even now he shows up at fire rescue calls and drives the truck from time to time.
"Larry's like a father figure to a lot of members of the department," said Henry Tamasi, the current Princeton fire-department chief. "He's got a lot of experience that he tries to hand down. You hold on to his experience and you'll become an officer in the department."
DuPraz is also known as someone who speaks his mind to motivate and discipline members of the department.
"When he thinks something is wrong, he'll let you know and he'll make no bones about it," Tamasi said.
He plays the same type of role with the Princeton Borough Council through his position on the Traffic and Transportation Committee and as a town resident who attends nearly all council meetings.
"He's the gadfly of Borough Council. The guy just has a sense of what it's all about," said Rich Rein, a former Prince chairman who lives near the Princeton campus and is now vice president of the Prince Board of Trustees.
"This was his birthplace. Everyone in this town knows him," said Smith, who has been production supervisor at the Prince for 11 years. "He's just out there for the people."
DuPraz has been out there for the Prince above all else. He is famous for taking some of his favorite undergrads to the fire house for drinks and cards. Once, for a Prince -sponsored campus-wide dance, the students installed an above-ground pool in the basketball gymnasium. DuPraz used a fire truck to fill the pool. Midway through the dance, with more and more students jumping in the pool, the pool cracked, and water poured over the wooden basketball court, ruining it. Princeton basketball coach "Cappy" Cappon was, understandably, not too pleased.
"The floor was unusable," DuPraz laughed in reminiscence. "Thank God they were insured."
His gruff exterior belies the close friendship he shared with so many of the students he has worked with. He partied with students on and off campus, often sobering them up before letting them out of his sight. He conspired on pranks like switching fake editions of rival papers for the real ones. He once helped the students steal desks that they wanted for the office from vacant dorm rooms.
When emergencies presented themselves, DuPraz quickly changed from tough taskmaster to caring and supporting friend.
"I still have a scar on my hand where I ran my finger through the hand press. He took me to the hospital,"e said James Ridgeway, Washington correspondent for The Village Voice and Prince chairman from the class of '59. "If you got in trouble, he would help you."
DuPraz was more than a foul-weather friend. When Kluger was a student, his girlfriend was about to celebrate her 18th birthday. As a surprise, Kluger wrote a three-paragraph story about her birthday. DuPraz helped him replace that story for a real one for a mini-press run. He printed two copies of the paper with a headline that read, "Wee Blonde Belle/ Is Eighteen Today."
When students faced personal tragedy, DuPraz has served as a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand. He has bought clothes and food for students who were too poor to buy the items on their own. He has helped students who flunked out get their acts together.
Thaler said that after his father died at the beginning of his senior year at Princeton, DuPraz served as a surrogate dad, consoling Thaler and making him feel like he was part of DuPraz's family.
"He had me over all the time. I can't tell you how many meals I had over at his place," Thaler said. "We were all his sons, and later his sons and daughters."
Thaler was referring to a change in life at the Prince that was potentially more traumatic for DuPraz than any change in printing processes: Princeton admitted its first coeducational class in 1969, and that meant the once all-male bastion that was the Prince had its first female writers and editors.
DuPraz will say today that the days before co-education were more fun — "You can't compare a bunch of guys with a mixed group," he told me — but he treated everyone equally, showing no preference for male or female, black or white, rich or poor.
"If you were smart and you worked hard, that's all he cared about at the end of the day," Thaler said. "He's basically a pretty open-minded guy."
"I didn't care who you were," DuPraz said. "You came and you were accepted."
DuPraz was himself accepted by the undergraduates, which is no small task considering how full of themselves some Princeton students are when arriving on campus.
"He had a real gift to be able to work with bright college students who probably thought they were brighter than they were," Jones said. "He was never intimidated by anybody."
Rein said that in 1967, with the Princeton Herald equipment claiming the honor of the oldest operating printing machinery in the country, the Prince was debating whether to buy a new printing press or to move to "cold type." The undergraduates had a salesman come in to pitch them on going to cold type. They saw a sample, and the editors knew then that they had to abandon the days of hot lead.
"One of the editors said, 'That's true,'" Rein recalled, " 'but just think about Larry. Who among us would have the heart to fire Larry?'"
The room fell silent. All discussion was moot at that point.
"We were unanimous," Rein said. "We said we'd better stick to hot type."
The Prince ended up buying a new press for hot type, but the change to cold type was still inevitable. In 1972, the Prince bought new equipment again, but this time they purchased Compugraphic machines designed to replace moveable type.
DuPraz was 52 years old. He told the students he was quitting, only this time he was serious.
"I told them I was too old to change," DuPraz said.
The students talked DuPraz into trying out the new equipment. Someone, they said, would have to oversee page composition with the new machines.
"He didn't want to go to cold type. He said he couldn't do the transition," Nora DuPraz said. "But the students didn't give up. They wouldn't let him go."
DuPraz finally agreed to stay on. He spent the summer of 1972 learning the Compugraphic system and building layout tables in the production room that is now named for him on the third floor of the Prince offices at 48 University Place.
"He was clearly petrified of it," said Thaler, who was business manager of the Prince at the time. "He really wondered if he could do it. I think he thought he saw his whole world coming to an end. But he sucked it up and learned the system."
"It was especially hard on Larry," said Zielinziger, who was a Prince writer at the time of the switch to cold type. "It wasn’t the same. It was a difficult transition, but it was successfully mastered within the first few weeks."
The first few nights with the new equipment were adventures, but the paper continued to come out without fail, and DuPraz quickly became as adept on the new machines as he had been with hot lead. He even learned how to fix the machines when they broke down, even though tampering with them voided all warranties. DuPraz felt at home again.
"Once he got in there he loved it," Nora DuPraz recalled.
DuPraz has stayed on top of new technologies to this day. When Macintosh computers were first ordered for the newsroom in 1988, a year after his retirement, he was skeptical as usual. But after seeing some demonstrations, he became convinced that a Mac-based newsroom and production operation was the best way to go. DuPraz helped design and perfect the fully computerized and networked systems that are now in place at the Prince , more than 10 years after his retirement.
"Once he made that decision, it was amazing to me the way he could soak up the computer education," said Tom Weber, Prince chairman in 1988 and 1989 and now a Prince trustee and a reporter for The Wall Street Journal . "He was picking the stuff up faster than anybody out there."
"It never surprises me to see that Larry leads the way," said Rein, who is founder, editor and publisher of US-1 , a Princeton-based weekly newspaper. "He's led many an undergraduate on the technology side. He doesn't miss too many tricks."
Today, DuPraz has a home computer with which he keeps in touch with Prince alums and checks out the paper on the Web. He has even delivered his criticism to the undergrads via e-mail, though the tone of these messages is unmistakably DuPrazian.
"I'm getting old," DuPraz said, "but I try to go with the modern trend. I don't want to be left behind."
Last fall, while I was editor, Smith — the new production supervisor — broke his collarbone a week before classes were to begin. I had no question about to whom to turn for help. I called DuPraz, and he was over within five minutes.
He hadn't put together a newspaper in over a decade, but he stepped in and relearned the job yet again. He saved his verbal darts for another night and worked hard to figure out a system that has gotten at once easier to use and harder to understand in the age of networked computers. The paper even made deadline while DuPraz was in without Smith.
The same man who once used hot lead and moveable type, who once fed sheets of the paper by hand into the printing press, was clicking on a mouse and using QuarkXPress and Photoshop to lay out the paper. I shook my head in admiration.
"How do you do it?" I asked him. "How do you learn and relearn this job over and over?"
"A monkey could do this work," DuPraz snapped. "Hot lead — now there was a challenge! I remember one time …"
DuPraz and I met on a rainy April morning in his Princeton home. A police scanner blared intermittently from the corner of his living room as I tried to talk to DuPraz about his time at the Prince .
He was hard to keep on task, as he jumped from tale to tale like a dancer with a tried and true routine. His eyes blazed as he told me about the time the Prince staff bought a linotypist chocolate-covered grasshoppers, the time they covered the Revolutionary War cannon on campus with dirt and reported it stolen, the time he "scared the dickens" out of some Cornell students who had switched a fake copy of the Prince for the real one by flashing his fire-department badge and threatening them with arrest.
I had heard most of these stories in some form before, some of them dozens of times. Exasperated, I asked to see the video of his retirement party.
May 1, 1987 was Larry DuPraz Night at the Princeton Club of New York. There was a five-page guest list for the event — literally a turn-away crowd, with 166 people in attendance. DuPraz looks exactly the same as he did that night, and indeed as he has since the 1950s; he's worn the buzz cut out of, into and then back out of style again, and now just a hint of gray is coming in on the sides of his dark brown hair.
As the camera scanned the room on the video, DuPraz rattled off the names, positions and class years of those in attendance. "There's Bill Elfers, class of '72," he said. "Damn good business manager. And there's Richie Rein, chairman in the class of '69. Oh man, he's talking to Jim MacGregor, another one of the trustees. Look at that kilt he had on!"
Nora keeps an album of letters from those who couldn't attend the retirement party: doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians, and, of course, journalists. (Not all of the journalists sent their regrets. Deford emceed the event, and during dinner, Tom Bray of The Detroit News asked the journalists in the room to raise their hands. As hands filled the air, Bray said, "See what you did, Larry?")
As we watched the video and read through the letters, DuPraz became increasingly nostalgic.
"I've got the greatest family any one individual could ever have, with all the kids over the years. I don't think anyone else had has the privilege of working with the young people that I have," he said. "I'm not getting rich off of it, but it's a pot of gold. The friendships over the years, the ability to call so many people my friend.… There's so much, so much."
He may look and act tough, giving anyone who will listen a hard time, but DuPraz cares deeply not just for his job but for those he has worked with. He may not show it on a daily basis, but he loves the Prince and everyone associated with it. Beneath a gruff exterior is a man that is fiercely loyal to the paper and its alumni.
"He was not a sourpuss. He was critical, he was cutting, he was sarcastic. But he loved you, and somehow you knew that," Ferrer said. "You sensed that affection was not something he wanted to show, but something he felt. He gave you the feeling that he cared for your success."
Former editors of the Prince are his extended family. For 26 years, the DuPraz family hosted a party at Princeton's annual reunions celebration at their house, paid for out of their own pockets. A turnout of 100 to 150 people per year was common. The party was such a success that the Prince Board of Trustees took over the task of paying for and hosting the party in the mid- 1980s.
"You feel like you're part of the club," Carry said of the reunions party. "That's when he'll say good things about YOU."
DuPraz's love for the paper and its students runs deep. He named his dog "Prince." Whenever a Prince staff member won a Rhodes or Marshall scholarship, he made a certificate to post in the office. He has stayed in touch with countless alums and has attended the weddings of a few dozen.
Nora shares her husband's sentimentality and ability to recall names and positions. She keeps news clippings that mention people who worked at the Prince . She maintains a card file with current contact information and a shelf full of photo albums with years worth of photographs of students and their families. Last Christmas she got a Princeton Alumni Directory so she could better serve as a clearinghouse for Prince alumni who are trying to contact long-lost friends.
"We've had lots of graduates stop by," Nora said. "I'm interested. I want to know what they did with that education."
Hundreds of alumni return the affection that Larry and Nora feel. Despite the cutting insults, the ruthless ribbing and the constant pestering from their days as undergraduates, DuPraz is remembered fondly.
"Larry is one of the all-time Princeton characters," Kirk said. "He's the only character that's been at the Prince for all these years. You need people like that to ensure the paper's continuity. At that time, of course, I didn't imagine what a legend he'd become."
His legend has served him well in recent years. The names he can drop and his sheer longevity lend credence to anything DuPraz has to say.
"When I was a freshman, Larry was the embodiment of everything you wanted to be on the Prince . He was the depository of all this lore," Weber said. "It wasn't just his opinion, it was the Word."
"I love and hate his feedback at the same time," said Christine Whelan, the current Prince editor-in-chief. "His criticism can be unrelenting, but he's never wrong."
Larry and Nora are bombarded by greetings cards around Christmas every year. They get an average of 150 cards a year — "cards like you wouldn't believe," Larry said.
One of those cards is invariably from the father of a former Prince editor who writes the same thing every year: "Thank you for what you did for my daughter."
DuPraz said he is irritated by this kind of fawning.
"It gets a little embarrassing," he added. "I didn't do it for his daughter. I did it because it was my responsibility."
Few are fooled by this cover of modesty, however. Even though he has not been a full-time employee of the Prince since 1987, his energy and enthusiasm for the paper continues unabated.
"He loves his job," Nora said. "There's not too many people who have that love for their work. That's what's kept him young."
His is officially only a consultant to the paper, which means he is an adviser to the Board of Trustees. But he makes an appearance at the Prince offices almost daily, and he usually comes bearing what can be generously termed "constructive criticism."
"I think it's good for someone like him to be speaking his mind," said Smith, DuPraz’s replacement, "and I always knew this was his paper."
DuPraz himself says he continues to help with the Prince to stay active and to make sure the paper maintains its quality.
"This is an outlet," he said. "Besides, I like to see things done properly. You do it right or you don't do it at all."
DuPraz added that he is still learning and is interested in whatever new printing technologies are developed.
"I learn from the kids," DuPraz said. "They are the teachers and I am the student. I learned from their mistakes. They're the people that educate me."
"Even today I learn," he continued wistfully, as if in deep thought. His face slowly turned to a half-smile, a sly grin that he has given to thousands of editors and writers of The Daily Princetonian . "Even though I don't like what I see."