Nightly News   |  March 31, 2013

Finding Mr. Right, on campus

Princeton University grad Susan Patton is receiving mixed feedback for telling students to find a husband on campus before graduating, NBC's Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> it's something that happened in the ivy league that has a lot of people talking this weekend. a controversial suggestion that women at elite universities take advantage of the opportunity to find high-quality husbands at the schools. more tonight from nbc's initial franzen.

>> reporter: princeton alumnus susan patton says she was just giving women at the ivy league university the advice she would have wanted.

>> here's what nobody is telling you. find a husband on campus before you graduate. yes, i went there.

>> reporter: the mother of two sons, both princetonians published her opinion in the school's online paper after attending a women's readership conference on campus telling female students princeton and other top-tier universities offer them the best chance of finding a husband.

>> for most of you the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry. you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

>> reporter: her motherly tips on when and where to search for mr. right went viral and sparked mixed reactions.

>> there's merit to the fact that you are surrounded by high-caliber people. if you're someone that wants to be with a high-caliber person like that, then it probably is a good environment.

>> i think you have lots of opportunities in life and depending on what path you go in terms of working, to me, whoever your ideal partner would be in life.

>> reporter: patton 's advice is the latest in the debate on the challenges women face finding balance in their career and at home. from cheryl sandberg's book "lean in," to an article last summer, why women still can't have it all, featured at the princeton conference. writer lisa belkin also a princeton alum and mom who attended the same conference says patton is sending the wrong message.

>> there's elitism oozing out of every pore of this letter. this isn't a quest. this is something that should happen as part of a fulfilled, dynamic, interesting life.

>> reporter: despite the firestorm of criticism, patton stands by her words.

>> look, it is advice. take it or leave it.

>> reporter: and says she is hoping to keep the conversation going. michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.