President Brodsky's Report on the 65th Reunion - Joining the Old Guard
Great Class of 1952’s 65th Reunion
Planning for our 65th
reunion began early in 2016 with the formation of our Reunion Committee and a meeting on campus hosted by the Alumni Affairs Office where we met our liaison,
Kimberly Collins, who assured us that she and the Alumni Affairs office would provide major support which for
the most part, proved true. Our committee was chaired by the Mary Murdoch, our leader of the class’s
previous four major reunions, and George Aman, Put Brodsky, Annette Merle-Smith, Bill Murdoch, Sandi
Tatnall and George Towner, who also did double duty as Reunion Treasurer. We were also very fortunate in our
student crew of six, lead by Alex Lewis, ’18, who were outstanding.
Our class headquarters
was at Forbes College, what we remember as the Princeton Inn, and we shared it
with the Old Guard. Registration started on Thursday, June 1st, continuing
through Sunday morning. Sixty-four classmates had signed up but we ended up with fifty -nine who registered on campus, which
turned out to be a record for attendance at a 65th reunion. With wives, families and friends, we had
114 registered with about half that number housed at Forbes.
Activities began Thursday
afternoon, with a tour of the recently completed Andlinger Center for Energy
and the the Environment, a beautiful state-of-the- art ‘green’ building created through
a generous gift of our classmate, Gerhard R. Andlinger, in 2008, as a center for a research community associated
with off-campus programs to bring energy to the world while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Dinner Thursday evening was at the Nassau Club, preceded by by a concert by the Wildcats, one of the outstanding all-women a
cappella singing groups on campus. Mary Murdoch welcomed everyone and the evening concluded with a delightful
poetry reading by our new Class Poet Laureate, Joe Masi, detailing his efforts toward being a backup
quarterback to the immortal Dick Kazmaier. [Joe's poetry is on the Class Authors page.]
To honor our classmate
Roger Berlind, the Reunion Committee planned two lectures in the Berlind
Theater Friday morning. The theater is a 300 seat facility which is part of the
McCarter Theater Center, within walking distance from Forbes College and an attractive venue that most of us had never
seen. Our first speaker was Jean Edward Smith ’54, an author and presidential historian who has written an
number of books about our presidents, most recently, George W. Bush. He presented an interesting
talk about generals as presidents,
covering Washington, Grant and Eisenhower. The second speaker was
Professor Darryl Waskow, of the program of Theater and Dance of the Lewis Center for the Performing Arts.
Professor Waskow had been part of the team that planned and developed the Berlind Theater and provided insight into
its use in the student programs of theater and dance, as well as the many commercial events put on in
association with McCarter Theater. All this was followed by lunch on the patio at Forbes and then a bus ride up to
the Nassau Presbyterian Church for the class Memorial Service. This meaningful event was planned and
lead by our classmates, The Rev.
Canon Samuel Van Culin, Jr. and The Rev. Dr. Alexander C. Zabriskie, Jr. and
included the reading of the names of our classmates who died since our 60th Reunion.
Our Class Dinner Friday evening was held at the Springdale Golf Club. Along with pre-dinner cocktails, we had a delightful concert by the ‘world famous’ Nassoons, who serenaded us with many of the songs that we knew from so many years ago. We then received a visit from Princeton President Chris Eisgruber ’83 H’52 who spoke about the vibrancy of undergraduate life at Princeton and also about the generosity of the Class of ’52. He presented gifts to Mary Murdoch, as Reunion Chair, and to Put Brodsky, as Class President. And Class President-Elect George Aman presented a letter of appreciation in a beautiful Princeton frame to Put as well as a very thoughtful gift of a theater series at McCarter Theater. The evening concluded with a interesting talk and question and answer session by Jim Baker, our 61st U.S. Sec. of State, on the dubious state of politics in Washington and the U.S.
Saturday morning brought rain and our class meeting, which included the Executive Committee meeting and general meeting. Class business, including approval of a new slate of officers for the next 5 years, as well as Put’s President’s Report of the Class actives over the past five years and a report of the permanent placement of the Nassau Hall bell clapper ‘liberated’ in 1948 by a team including Hale Brandt who arranged for it’s placement in the Class of 1952 Room in Frist Hall. By the time the meeting concluded, the rain had stopped and sun was beginning to dry things out and lunch could proceed on the patio of Forbes.
Included in the large crowd that gathered for a
lovely buffet lunch were 42 members of Joe Bolster’s family. Joe has health issues but wanted to attend our Reunion P -rade. All
42, in matching, numbered T-shirts, as well as Joe marched in the parade. Buses got us all up to Nassau Hall,
where we met our band, the Aqua String Band, a Mummers outfit from Philadelphia. With their colorful costumes
and exciting music making, they were a perfect band to keep our class ‘In Step After All These Years’, our Reunion
Motto. About two thirds of the class marched, the rest lead the group in golf carts, following the Old Guard.
The band was placed between the carts and the marchers. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon, and
relatively cool, not always the case for the P - rade. As always, the P - rade was fun and very colorful, filled with
cheers and locomotives for ‘The Great Class of ’52’ from those along the line of march, waiting their turn.
At the Reviewing Stand, President Eisgruber, no longer wearing our ’52 jacket but his own Class of ’83 jacket, waved and
indicated that he was wearing the ’52 Class tie.
Dinner that evening was back at Forbes, preceded by cocktails on the patio and
a serenade by The Katzenjammers, another of the fine a cappella singing groups. The day finished with a
brilliant fireworks display which the University puts on from one of the fields near the stadium. We were able to watch it
from in front of Forbes where our crew had arranged chairs for us.
Sunday morning was our last
meal at Forbes, which lived up to it’s name - The Final Fabulous Forbes Brunch
- and some time to say good-byes. Our 65th was a memorable event, and many
folks put in much effort to make it so. In addition to our attendance record, the Class broke the Annual Giving record
for a 65th class by a significant amount, to more than $1,700,000. Ed Masinter and The Critical Few Group
deserve much credit here and the Swat Teamers who make calls at the end of the AG campaign help to bring up our class
participation, to over 70%.
I would like to mention
the Enduring Marks pamphlet documenting the remarkable generosity that our Class has shown the University from our beginning days up to the present.
It was created by George Towner, our Secretary-Treasurer, with a major assist from Traslyn Butler, Associate
Director of Annual Giving. It has been sent to all members of the class recently.
I would also like to introduce
the most recent Honorary Member of our Class, awarded at our Class meeting on June 3rd, to McNair Evans, son of our classmate, McNair Evans. McNair
has been our class photographer at our last two reunions and has done a magnificent job and has gone out of his
way to be helpful and accommodating. I hope that he will be around to record our 70th Reunion.
Finally, as you all know, we now become
members of the Old Guard. But, as I’ve mentioned to a few of our class and told President Eisgruber at Reunions, I hope that our outstanding Class
will be the first Princeton class to celebrate our 70th as the Great Class of 1952, not just the Old Guard. I believe
there will be enough classmates around to make it happen.
To: Princeton Class of 1952- Mini Reunion - July 21-28, 2018 - Maine Coast and Harbors
The Princeton Class of 1952 Executive Committee has approved a possible tour of the Maine Coast and Harbors by the American Cruise Lines. We would depart from the harbor in Portland, Maine on July 21 and return on July 28, 2018 for an 8 day 7 night cruise. We would visit Bar Harbor, Castine/Belfast, Camden, Rockland, Bath and return to Portland. The Cruise includes interior stateroom entrances, private balconys, Lobsterbakes, exquisite cuisines, open seating dining room, onboard entertainment, guest lectures and a cocktail hour each evening. The cost for a second deck stateroom fare per person would be $5,075.00 but you can save $400.00 per stateroom if you register 9 months in advance. We recommend you register directly with American Cruise Lines when we determine a sufficient number of classmates desire to participate.
The American Cruise Line recommends we stay Friday night, July 20, 2018 at the Fireside Inn and Suites in Portland, Maine where they will provide shuttles to the dock on Saturday morning, July 21st and pickup on Saturday, July 28, 2018. They maintain security in their car parking lot and there is no charge for parking.
Please consider this Cruise as our Class of 1952 Mini Reunion for 2018 and return your reply as follows:
!. Yes - Definitly -Names in party_________________________
2. Possibly Yes later ____________________
Number in party _______
3. No - Not at this time __________________
If you have further questions, please email me, Dave Smith, at SmithDktx@aol.com or telephone me at 281-493-2586. I would like your response by July 15, 2017 to determine if there is sufficient interest in this Cruise. I will immediately send you the information to contact American Cruise Lines to make your early reservations in order to receive the allowed discounts.
Thanks for your early reply, Dave Smith
Class of 1952 Reunions HISTORY
A Little Reunion History . . .
All colleges encourage their graduates to maintain and demonstrate loyalty to their alma mater through return visits. However, no other institution welcomes all of its alumni and their families back for reunions on a yearly basis with the style and fanfare that is uniquely Princeton. Here is a short history of this ever-evolving annual tradition.
In the College of New Jersey's early years, alumni regularly returned to campus to attend Commencement exercises. Its 100th Commencement in June 1847 drew an impressive 700 graduates for a formal dinner, escalating the tradition into a larger event. Until 1859, all alumni gathered together, but in that year, Alfred Woodhull, Class of 1856, organized the first "class" reunion, a triennial. He astutely surmised reasonable attendance could be expected, because in that era, anyone who returned to campus for Commencement three years after graduation qualified for an automatic master’s degree (a practice lasting until 1892).
In 1861, a regiment bound for battle in the Civil War passing through Princeton captivated the College's students with its "skyrocket" cheer, which imitated the sound of fireworks—"sis" for the zooming rocket; "boom" for the explosion; and "ahhhh" as the crowd expressed its pleasure for the resulting light show. At Princeton, the "sis, boom, ah" skyrocket cheer evolved into Princeton's "locomotive," where word repetition and increasing speed emulates the sound of a train pulling out from a station. "Tiger" was likely added to the cheer in the late 19th century, when athletic uniforms began consistently using orange and black.
The P-rade officially began in the late 1890s but is actually the merged product of earlier traditions. Beginning in the Civil War era, alumni formally processed to Commencement Day dinner meetings. Then in 1888, Princeton and Yale University began scheduling one of their baseball games at Princeton on the Saturday before Commencement. Since this coincided with class dinners, alumni attendance was high and many classes formally marched to the game at University Field (located at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Olden Street). In October 1896, when the newly renamed Princeton University celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary), 800 Princeton undergraduates and 2,000 alumni took part in a mile-long procession through the campus and town; most carried an orange torch or lantern, and many classes wore coordinated costumes. Stimulated by the grandeur and organization of this parade, in 1897 all returning classes first joined to march in order to the baseball game. By 1906, a written description of the annual event said, "The Alumni Pee-rade on Saturday afterNoon was quite as spectacular as usual; the bands, banners, transparencies, uniforms, and vaudeville features encircling University Field with color and noise."
During early P-rades, the sole decoration worn by returning alumni was a small badge with class numerals on it. Gradually, classes began to distinguish themselves with creative hats, balloons, and parasols; before long, younger classes wore colorful costumes, carried humorous signs, and often performed comic stunts. In 1912, some of that year’s graduating class dressed in blue denim overalls and jackets to protect their regular clothes from spilled beer stains. One year later, the Class of 1913 adopted white beer jackets as their costume. By 1920, the jackets became a tradition with the addition of unique class logos. To this day, each graduating class designs its own class jacket, worn for the first time during Reunions weekend. Classes typically design new costumes for each "major" quinquennial reunion up until the 25th, when they receive a class blazer.
Reunions were cancelled in 1917 and 1918 for World War I, so the "Victory Commencement" of 1919 featured a throng of 5,000 alumni for the largest Reunions and P-rade yet. An even longer "Victory Reunion" P-rade in 1946 following World War II (and the cancelled Reunions of 1943, 1944, and 1945) brought back 7,300 alumni, with each class carrying service flags showing the number of classmates who served and were killed in the war.
In 1947, the Class of 1922 held its 25th Reunion in Holder Hall Courtyard, becoming the first on-campus reunion site. (Previous reunions were held in private homes and rented spaces in town.) But it was not until 1952 that liquor was permitted to be served at the on-campus sites.
Rain has put the occasional damper on the P-rade but only once—in 1953—did it force a cancellation. Even then, some classes insisted on marching anyway! Over time, P-rades and Reunions increasingly became a family affair, but it was not until the undergraduate body became coeducational in 1969 that women were officially welcome to participate in the P-rade.
From the early- to mid-20th century, the P-rade route began at Nassau Hall, moved across campus to 1879 Arch, then down Prospect Avenue and around University Field to pass the president in his reviewing box. Construction of the EQuad on the site of University Field in the late 1960s changed the end of the route to the new Clarke Field south of Ivy Lane. This era also marked the last Yale-Princeton Commencement baseball game (1966), so the P-rade ending changed to an Alumni Association meeting welcoming the graduating seniors into the alumni body. In the early 1990s, the route was altered again to keep the P-rade entirely on campus-—beginning at FitzRandolph Gate, going around Nassau Hall and Cannon Green, then down Elm Drive to finish on Poe Field.
Despite route changes, procession order remains traditional. At 2:00 p.m. on Reunions Saturday, the Nassau Hall bell tolls and the P-rade Grand Marshal and other dignitaries (including the University president) lead members of the 25th Reunion Class from front campus to Poe Field. The classes then process in descending class order, beginning with the "Old Guard" (classes beyond the 65th Reunion) who ride in golf carts or occasionally walk, always drawing the loudest cheers from spectators. In recognition for his commitment to Reunions, the eldest returning alumnus has the special privilege of carrying the Class of 1923 Cane—a black wooden staff topped by a leaping silver tiger. Graduate alumni march between the 24th and 26th reunion classes. Throughout, dedicated alumni known as Marshals maintain order in their distinctive orange "Da Vinci" hats and blue blazers. The P-rade ends when the senior class sprints onto Poe Field, charging past the Reviewing Stand.
In 1996, in celebration of the University's bicenquinquagenary (250th anniversary), a spectacular fireworks display was first held on Saturday night. The thousands of shells, custom soundtrack, and tailored choreography of the 25-minute display quickly became a highlight and annual tradition during Reunions.
Increasing student body size and the inclusion of family members in the P-rade has swelled turnout and lively participation in the ever-more-colorful spectacle. Today, well over 20,000 alumni, family, and friends participate in this annual gathering, and no other university comes close to the pageantry, magnitude, and ceremony of Princeton Reunions.
This summary was prepared by the Committee on Reunions and is adapted from the research and writings of Alexander Leitch '24, William K. Selden '34, Daniel N. White '65, J. T. Miller '70 and Liz Greenberg '02.
For information and photos of any reunion - major, mini- or off-year, past or future - click as appropriate below:
- 62nd, May 30-June 1, 2014
- 59th, May 28-June 1, 2011
- 58th, May 27-30, 2010
- 57th, May 28-31, 2009
- 56th, May 30-31, 2008
- 54th, June 2-3, 2006 - Information
- 53rd, May 27-29, 2005 - Photos
- 2015 Reunion No. XXIX - Princeton, NJ, October 1-3, 2015
2014 Reunion No. XXVIII - Sandwich, MA, June 15-18, 2014
- 2014 Reunion No. XXVII - Mississippi Cruise, March 8-15, 2014
- 2013 Reunion No. XXVI - San Antonio-Fredericksburg, Texas, April 18-21, 2013
- 2011 Reunion No. XXV - New York City, April 28-May 1, 2011
- 2010 Reunion No. XXIV - Boston, Massachusetts, June 10-13, 2010
- 2009 Reunion No. XXIII - San Antonio, Texas, April 30-May 3, 2009
- 2008 Reunion No. XXII - Charlottesville, Virginia, April 10-13, 2008
- 2006 Reunion No. XXI - San Francisco, May 4-6, 2006
- 2005 Reunion No. XX - Savannah, Georgia, March 31-April 3, 2005
- 2004 Reunion No. XIX - Arizona, May 2-7, 2004
- 2004 - Dan Duffield '52 Heavyweight Shell Dedication, Princeton, April 30, 2004
- 2003 Reunion No. XVIII - Washington, DC, May 1-4, 2003
- 2001 Reunion No. XVII - London, October 3-7, 2001
- 2001 Reunion No. XVI - Carolina Classic - Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina, April 19-22, 2001
- 2000 -Class of '52 Day, 1952 Room Dedication, Princeton, October 21, 2000
- 2000 Reunion No. XV - The Cape Cod Experience - Cape Cod and the Islands, October 16-20, 2000
- 2000 Reunion No. XIV - Houston, Texas, April 6-9, 2000
- 1999 Reunion No. XIII - Denver and Aspen, Colorado, June 1999
- 1998 - A Princeton '52 Celebration, 50th Anniversary of '52's Arrival on Campus, Princeton, September 18, 1998
- 1998 Reunion No. XII - Williamsburg, Virginia, April 2-5, 1998
- 1996 Reunion No. XI - Los Angeles, California, May 2-5, 1996
- 1995 - 1952 Stadium Dedication, Princeton, October 1995
- 1995 Reunion No. X - Adirondacks - Lake Placid, New York, September 1995
- 1995 Reunion No. IX - Chicago, Illinois, May 11-14, 1995
- 1993 Reunion No. VIII - Seattle, Washington, May 13-16, 1993
- 1991 Reunion No. VII - April in Philadelphia - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 25-28, 1991
- 1990 - Princeton Forum, October 1990
- 1990 Reunion No. VI - Baltimore, Maryland, May 1990
- 1990 Reunion No. V - Charleston, South Carolina, April 26-28, 1990
- 1989 Reunion No. IV - San Francisco, California, April 1989
- 1988 Reunion No. III - Reunion in Washington - Washington, D.C., April 8-9, 1988
- 1986 New York City Dinner Cruise, June 1986
- 1984 Reunion No. II - Boston, Massachusetts, April 1984
- 1983 Reunion No. I - Washington, DC, White House Visit, April 1983
- 1954 - 7th Division artillery HQ, South Korea, April 28, 1954