Campus Character:

Jeffrey Hunter Northrop II

By Alexander Statman, Illustration by Maxine Keyes

Wise men have said that what is closest is also most distant. So for social and holistic learning, I sought a teacher as widely known as he is little understood.  From the hallowed halls of Butler to the fertile fields  of the South Lawn, there could be no greater guide along the way to self-improvement than Jeffrey Hunter Northrop II, CC ‘08.5.

Like most success stories, Jeffrey’s began on a  wayward path. And like many such paths, it began in Connecticut. As a first-year in 2003, young Jeffrey arrived in the big city and, like St. Augustine, was drawn toward debauchery and sin. “I own up to my actions of freshman year. I deserved a lot of the shit I’ve been given,” Jeffrey recalls.

The five-year-old rumors still fly: St. A’s parties and sleepless nights, Barnard girls and Barnard dorms. Everything was out of control, and Jeffrey’s life became “unmanageable.” So he took a one-year medical leave to put his affairs in order, and has been sober since December 2004. His only remaining chemical vice is a daily hookah habit—one that he indulges morning, noon and night.

Jeffrey may have made his reputation in raunchier days and nefarious ways, but his live-hard ethic survives. To study with Jeffrey is to study like Jeffrey, and that means in Butler Library: “I love Butler. It’s my haven.” But Jeffrey, I reply, Butler clouds the mind. “You need to go to the fourth floor. It’s really all about the fourth floor.” On  Butler Four, Jeffrey maintains his shrine to the intellect. Until four AM, he fuels himself with an array of books, energy snacks, and most importantly, Red Bull: “Sugar free, of course. It’s healthier.” Artificial sweeteners, healthy? Jeffrey clarifies, “Well, unhealthy, maybe, but better for your fitness physique.”

A healthy mind requires a healthy body. Both require dedication. “I literally cannot do work until I’ve been to the gym. Even with a 102 degree fever.” Talk about burning calories! As he surveys the land from the backseat of a taxi on Broadway, a gym catches his attention: “Oh shit! That’s the new Equinox!” Jeffrey is a member of three gyms and he works out for about 1.5 hours a day. Jeffrey’s honesty is remarkable:  “I like to look good.” Don’t we all? Without spite or judgment and always with a smile, Jeffrey rejects pretense.

Jeffrey encouraged my own budding athletic devotion with a grocery bag filled with two kinds of protein mix and three energy snacks. I was naturally suspicious of the SYNTH-6™ Multi-Functional Micellar Protein Matrix and the NITRIX™, N.O.-XPLODE™, CELLMASS™ and ASTRO-PHEX™, but he assured me that they do indeed maximize physique and performance impact. His rippling  biceps and washboard abs, memorialized for all time in a Facebook photo album entitled “Money  and Sex,” seemed a good indication. Convinced, I took a big bite of a protein-chocolate chip cookie. It was pretty good.

Even though fun-enhancing drugs are out of the picture, Jeffrey’s lifestyle still allows ample time for play. In the last year, Jeffrey has taken up polo,  a sport “more addictive than drugs.” “The best fields are in Barbados. They flatten them with lasers.  But Jamaica is still pretty good.”

Jeffrey’s enthusiasm extends from the polo field to the dance floor. “People ask me, how do you know the owner of every main club, like Bungalow Eight, Beatrice and Waverly Inn?” The trick is simple: networking. “Mostly, I try to be a nice person.” And Jeffrey is nice to everyone, not just the high-powered  socialites and Adonises with whom he regularly associates. From hookah salesmen to cab drivers,  he wears his gregarious and friendly nature on his muscle-shirt (half)sleeve.