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President's Letter, September, 2016

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Princeton University

Class of 1969

September 2016

Dear Classmates,

For most of us, 2016 is the year of our 69th birthday.   I hope that it’s a happy occasion for all, as we move into our 70th year.  Here’s to staying young as long as we can.

While the steamy summer doldrums have settled over Princeton, the Class of 1969 has been busy livening things up.  Several classmates threw regional events celebrating our turning 69.  Many welcomed PICS interns to their areas and among these the Class of 2019, our grandchild class, was well represented,

BILL and ANNE CHARRIER in Washington DC



HAYDEN and BETTY SMITH in Princeton

In the largest gathering of ‘69ers, PAUL and BETSY SITTENFELD hosted a party of over 60 classmates and guests at their place in Westport, Massachusetts.  Paul’s Summer Newsletter (click to read) describes that celebration and includes a wonderful group picture.  You can also see what other classmates have been up to over the summer.  Thanks Paul, for keeping track of all of us.

Plans for 2016-17

With that great running start to the year, here’s what comes next.  Watch for e-mail alerts and consult the Class website for details as we roll them out.

September 17—NYC Micro-reunion.   DAN HARMAN and STEVE HOUCK have laid on a fascinating afternoon and evening in Lower Manhattan centered on Fraunces Tavern, now a museum and restaurant, where Washington gave the farewell address to his officers in 1783.  By the time you get this letter you should also have received an e-mail with the details and sign-up link for this gathering.  As Treasurer of the Sons of the Revolution, owner of Fraunces Tavern and Museum, Dan has made some special arrangements for a truly memorable ’69 Micro. 

Sept. 30-Oct. 1—Class of 1968 Seminar.   We have again been invited to join our elders for an academic event here in Princeton.   This year the theme, appropriately enough, will be "Politics”.  Julian Zelizer of the Politics Department, a noted political historian, will moderate a distinguished group of speakers and deliver the dinner address Friday evening.  Again, you should receive an e-mail announcement before you get this letter.  Act quickly, as the places allocated to us will be limited.

October 22—Harvard game festivities, including Class meeting, pre-game tailgate, reception and dinner.

February 25, 2017—Alumni Day, including reception and dinner.

June 1-4, 2017—Our 48th Reunion.

Brief review of 2015-16

While more complete accounts can be found here on our website, last year was quite eventful, highlighted by our mini-reunion last October in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, hosted by CLAY and PINKY MCELDOWNEY.  Over 60 classmates and spouses took in the sites of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg (see photos) and enjoyed each other’s company.

In November we helped celebrate RANDY SHEPARD’S 50-year streak of attending Princeton-Yale football games, and were treated to a very moving reminiscence by him at our Class dinner following the game.

On Alumni Day in February we gathered again for a reception with the Class of 2019 followed by dinner where we gained valuable insights into the European refugee crisis from Mike Jennings, European culturalist and Professor in the German Department, who also served as the intellectual leader for our mini-reunion in Germany in 2013.

Late in May, we held our 47th Reunion, which took us all back musically.  The main acts were Mike Love of the Beach Boys and Credence Clearwater Revisited, featuring two original members of CCR, and two of our classmates, DAVID FISHER and LEO ROOMETS, participated in the Class of 1971’s entry in the Battle of the Bands, Peacock Crossing (see photos).

Ways to Get More Involved

As we move toward the big FIVE-OH, I want to make some suggestions for how you can participate more with us, as well as give an idea of what we’re planning beyond the immediate future.  The more who join in, the more fun we’ll have, and we’d especially like to see those of you who’ve been scarce for a while.

Visit Our Website

The best resource for Class information continues to be right here on our website.  Our webmaster extraordinaire, JEFF KAPLAN, notes that we’ve just posted the 21st article in BROOKE STODDARD’s terrific "Catching Up With” series, which highlights the careers and personal stories of some of our classmates, this time featuring CLIFF ROBERSON, neurosurgeon turned farmer.  Not only is our website the premier place to find out about and register for Class events, it’s also a comprehensive resource for Class information.  You can use the "My Payments” function to see all your on-line transactions—very handy if you can’t remember whether you signed up for something or paid your dues.  Our archive enables you to see photos and read reports on Class events. You can also use the website to buy class regalia from our Emporium, which reminds me that our Emporium maven, Anne Charrier, tells me that many of the items are now priced to sell as we try to reduce inventory prior to the 50th. 

As we turn our attention to our 50th, the website will continue to add news and features, but we could use some help:  if you know of a good candidate for a future "Catching Up With” article, if you have photos from past reunions (especially between 2000 and 2009, and any major reunion all the way back to our 5th) or if you have class-related news, please let Jeff know.  He is (almost) constantly on duty at webmaster@princeton1969.org.  The website boasts 433 classmates who have established login credentials.  The Class of 1968 has 432.  Let’s widen our lead.  If you need help with the login procedures, Jeff will be glad to lend a hand.

Become a "Grandparent”

The Class of 2019, who will be sophomores this year, will graduate when we have our 50th.  We’ve formed a fun working relationship with their class leadership and over the past year have participated in their "Pre-Rade” last fall, held a pizza party during intercession (see photo), a reception on Alumni Day and DICK BOTT and Dan Harman organized a Finance Career Panel last April.  We have plans for more specifically focused panels as well as other events.  If you’d like to join our mentoring effort, please contact JIM FLOYD, Dan Harman or me.

Help with Annual Giving

One of the most effective ways to engage with your classmates while serving Old Nassau is to join BRUCE FREEMAN’s AG team.  Despite being temporarily laid low by triple-bypass surgery this past spring, Bruce and his team raised $322,294 from 394 classmates.  This dollar result is the largest amount we have ever raised during a non-major reunion campaign.  Thanks to all who participated and particularly to Bruce! There are some areas where we’d like to improve, though, notably participation.  We need to get back to the iconic 69% we reached at the 45th.  Bruce is committed, with your help, to building a stronger participation base as we build momentum for the 50th.  Why don’t you give him a hand?

Participate in PICS

Another way to become more involved is to participate in PICS, our Class Legacy Program, and there are a lot of ways to do that.  PICS Chair CHUCK FREYER reports that PICS’ growth continues unabated.  This summer the program achieved the milestone of having placed over 1,000 student interns since being founded shortly after our 25th.  In 2016 alone, PICS placed 160 interns (selected from close to 600 applicants), more than double the number fielded just two years ago, arranging over $750,000 in student stipends.  The nexus of its partnership with the University changed to Career Services on June 1, resulting in a better alignment of missions as it seeks to implement the University’s goal of encouraging a life-long commitment to service.  The PICS Board now includes Princetonians with graduation years spanning 4 decades, as well as a newly formed National Trustee Board which includes University Trustee Paul Haaga ‘70 and noted Wilson School professor Stan Katz, h’21 h’80 as well as our own LEN SCHAEFFER.  In 2016 there’s been an increased emphasis on internships in the arts and government.  Thanks to the many of you who support PICS, and especially to those who serve as alumni partners to our interns.  Please contact Chuck if you’d like to become more actively involved.

Join our 50th Reunion Committee

Starting this fall, our Reunion Chair Dan Harman will put together his 50th Reunion Committee.  Please consider joining.  Our 50th will be a major undertaking, but you’ll get to work with some great people and be part of the organizing team.   You’ll be hearing from Dan soon on this. 

Regional Gatherings and Mini-Reunions 

In the fall of 2016, we plan to have more regional gatherings across the country to celebrate our collective 69th birthday.  Details will be announced by e-mail and on the website.

Our next mini-Reunion will be in the fall of 2017 in a yet to be determined location.  We are looking for a site away from the East Coast to make it easier for more distant classmates to join us.  In the late winter/early spring of 2018 we are also considering a trip to South Africa.  STEVE and SUSAN KENNEDY, who live there six months of the year, have kindly volunteered to help organize the trip. 

We plan to launch a Class survey in the near future regarding these trips as well as other subjects, so that we can develop a plan for the next three years of appealing experiences leading up to our 50th.  Your response will ensure we get the best ideas out there.  Remember, democracy is for those who show up.

Class Finances and Dues

Finally, thanks to Treasurer Chuck Freyer’s stewardship, the Class Finances are in good shape.  I want to express our thanks to all our dues payers, especially those who paid at the leadership level.  Enclosed is a dues card.  Please fill it out and send a check to Chuck or better yet just pay your dues on-line on our website.  Our dues pay for everyone’s PAW subscription plus other communications expenses, as well as providing us seed money for the events that bring us all together. 


I hope to see many of you either here in Princeton or somewhere else as we keep the Class train running toward our 50th.

All the best,

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