President's Letter, September, 2019
Three cheers for Old Nassau, as we now observe the commencement of the 55th year since we first arrived at Princeton as wide-eyed youngsters with a universal desire to learn what was out there to be learned and to experience what was out there to be experienced. Freshman Week 1965 was for many of us the moment when we were first able to make decisions about what we might like to become without consulting too closely (or indeed even at all) with our parents. Now, with many of us in or nearing retirement, we find ourselves at a similar threshold, with the opportunity to make a few more decisions about our future learning and experiences.
Plans for the Next Year
With a most successful 50th Reunion now in our collective memories and a 51st on the distant horizon, we are now turning to setting the Class agenda for the coming years, in the hope that we will provide options in terms of learning and experiences that align with your desires.
Our first opportunity to get together in our 51st Reunion year will be the homecoming football weekend, which will be celebrated on Saturday, October 26th at 1:00 PM against the 10,000 men of Harvard, in what promises to be a contest of near equals. Therefore, we’ll be having our annual Class Steering Committee meeting, tailgate, dinner and reception on Saturday, October 26th, so please mark your calendars. Details are available here.
For those of you with a well-developed love for football, our next opportunity to get together will be a special event that has been organized to recognize the 150th season of Princeton football – namely a game against DARTMOUTH at YANKEE STADIUM on Saturday, November 9th at 3:30 PM. A link to the Athletic Department’s promo for this event can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca-MitARx4Y. Tickets for this are not part of the season packages, and so the Class has gone ahead and purchased a block of 30 tickets. We have set up a method for purchasing these on our website, and we will allocate these on a first come, first served basis (with a limit of 4 per purchaser); the price per ticket being $60 each. If demand promises to exceed supply by a number that so warrants, we will consider creating another block seating opportunity somewhere in the Stadium.
We also thought that some of us might want to get together prior to the game. Therefore we have decided is to take advantage of the arrangements made by the Athletic Department for all Princeton fans to convene at the Dugout Bar (880 River Avenue in the Bronx, just across River Avenue on the southeast side of the Stadium). We'll assemble there sometime around 1:00 PM for an a la carte lunch before the game.
The other event in Princeton you should note on your calendars is Alumni Day on Saturday, February 22, 2020. The University always arranges an interesting program of lectures for returning alums. The Awards luncheon in Jadwin Gym focuses on announcing Alumni Trustee Candidates, reporting on Annual Giving and related achievements, introducing the winners of the Jacobus fellowships and the Pyne prize, and the winners of the James Madison Medal and the Woodrow Wilson Award. The achievements of the many winners are always impressive, and give one a terrific sense for the strengths of the University and its graduates. The formal Alumni Day activities end with the always moving Service of Remembrance, followed by closing receptions. That evening we’ll have a Class reception and/or dinner for classmates.
We also are in the early planning stages for a mini-reunion or two, at least one of which we hope to offer sometime in 2020 if arrangements progress quickly enough. As I mentioned at the 50th Reunion, we have two under active consideration: (1) a mini-reunion focusing on a variety of canyons in the Southwest (Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon and the Grand Canyon), and (2) a mini-reunion in California, focusing on both the California wine country (Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties) and on the Monterey Peninsula/Big Sur area. We are still getting preliminary tour information and setting priorities, but hope to circulate more specific information to you quite soon.
Review of Last Year
Last year provided some special experiences for many of us. As RICK KITTO reported last November, the homecoming football weekend began with a Class Meeting in an impressive classroom in the new Louis B. Simpson Building, which morphed into a meeting of the Reunions Committee. Eventually the ‘69ers moved on to tailgate behind Ivy Club before the football game against Brown, a meeting which the Tigers won handily, 48-10. After the game, the Class Reception and Dinner were held in the lobby of the Simpson Building (photo, left), where Professor Stan Katz presented the new campus plan and discussed the potential effects it might have on the character of a Princeton education (photo, right). A number of officers and members of our “grandchild” Class of 2019 also attended, including BOB BROWN’s daughter, Marcia, at the time the Editor in Chief of the Daily Princetonian.
As we moved into 2019 the first event was Alumni Day in February. After a number of us attended a variety of lectures and the Alumni Awards luncheon, TOM FLEMING represented '69ers at the Service of Remembrance. The day concluded with our gathering with a number of members of the graduating Class of 2019 at Triumph Brewing (see photos below), where BILL and ANNE CHARRIER, BILL and MARIE HARDY, CHIP and MARILYN JERRY, RICK and CHRIS KITTO and CHRIS and CATHY MILTON discussed with the '19ers their undergraduate experiences, their employment prospects and their collective excitement as they move forward beyond their undergraduate years.
Our 50th Reunion followed in late May and early June, and was certainly everything that we had hoped for in terms of camaraderie, our very own Class of 1969 Art Show and accompanying presentation, Alumni-Faculty Forums featuring a number of ‘69ers, Friday lunches at the eating clubs, a reception for President Eisgruber during our wine-tasting event, an uninterrupted Saturday P-Rade, great music and dancing through the evenings and into the night, all accompanied by first-rate weather. In addition to setting a record for attendance (401 Classmates and over 900 total attendees affiliated with our Class), nearly every facet of the reunion went about as smoothly and was about as memorable as possible. In the Archive on our website one can read the complete summary of the 50th that was authored by our long-time scribe, PAUL SITTENFELD, and while you are at it, you can browse through the Archive that our intrepid webmaster, JEFF KAPLAN has assembled. The Archive contains such gems as a list of those in attendance, a Yearbook browser, our 50th Reunion Class photo (below),
a list of the wines served at our wine-tasting, descriptions of the wines authored by those who donated them, and a morning after wine-tasting report. Absolutely exceptional are videos of portions of the Class of 1969 Memorial Service, including MARION SLEET’s rendering of You Raise Me Up, and YVONNE THORNTON MCLELLAND’s rendering of Stevie Wonder’s All in Love is Fair, as well as some footage of some of us as our Class made its way through the campus during the P-Rade (a few photos below provide just a glimpse) .
For any of you who were not in attendance the Archive definitely will give you the chance to share some of the experiences of the weekend. For those of you who did not make the deadline for submitting some biographical material and photos for the print version of the Yearbook, you have the opportunity to do so now with the online version of the Yearbook, and a number of our Classmates and spouses appear to have done just that already.
The success of the 50th was due to the efforts of many hands. We would be remiss if we did not give thanks to DAN HARMAN (right below), who managed to keep all the many balls in the air, and to RICK KITTO (below left) who served as his general factotum. The list of people who served on the 50th Reunion Committee that appeared in the Yearbook (see the list here) by my count includes 58 classmates, spouses and partners, and I know that there were many others involved whose names were not included, but whose efforts were critical. Each of those involved deserves your thanks the next time you see them.
Thanks to the efforts of 57 Classmates on the AG TEAM last year, our Annual Giving results for our 50th Reunion year were truly impressive: Most importantly, we made our goal of 69% participation by hitting the 69.6% mark, with 490 Classmates contributing! While we fell just short of our $6.9M financial goal, raising $5,893,169 in total contributions, which was $3,383,169 more than the Class of 1969 has raised before, and brought our total funds raised for Princeton since our graduation to $23,759,268 of unrestricted dollars. Many thanks to all who participated, particularly those for whom participation was not easy.
Now that the dust has settled, we want to thank BRUCE FREEMAN (left) and MIKE GEHRET one more time for leading the AG TEAM to such excellent results, and we of course should acknowledge the efforts of the 57 who were so ably led. We are also pleased to announce that ANDY STEELE has graciously agreed to serve as our Class Agent going forward. Our Class has been blessed with a number of folks who understand what it takes to raise such funds and who have done so during their respective careers (both Bruce and Mike are former pros), and we are confident that ANDY will bring the same wisdom and energy to our future fund-raising efforts that he has brought to Dartmouth’s Tuck School.
The 51st Reunion
Now that so many made it to the 50th, we are hopeful that attendance will improve for our “off year” reunions as well, starting next year. Our 51st Reunion is scheduled for May 28th through May 31st, 2020, and will be part of the 50th combine for the Class of 1970, which will include members of the five classes graduating in 1968 through 1972. The Class of 1970 seems quite organized, and we are confident that they will be fine hosts. As RICK KITTO pointed out last year, here are the five reasons most often given, in order, by alumni who return to Reunions:
- To see old friends and their families, make new ones and introduce or reacquaint your family with Classmates
- To march in the One and Only P-Rade
- To attend evening parties and dance to the music of great bands
- To see the campus and what’s new
- To see the fireworks
In addition to the above, there are the Alumni-Faculty Forums and other panel discussions and speakers, tours of the campus, receptions hosted by eating clubs, athletic teams, musical groups and affinity groups and other activities that will keep you fully engaged.
Our Reunion Committee is in formation as we speak, but will soon be hard at work to make our 51st Reunion as enjoyable as possible for all Classmates and members of their families including spouses and partners, children and grandchildren. We will continue to send you updates as more information becomes available. We will also provide information here on our Website, including travel tips, schedule information, housing information and other information about the Reunion as soon as it becomes available in useful form. So please read your emails that come from firstname.lastname@example.org and check the Website frequently to stay current with our plans. We look forward to seeing you and your family!
As many of you are aware, the PICS program continues to do extremely well, this year offering nearly 200 internships to Princeton undergraduates, but once again falling well short of meeting demand from the more than 600 applicants. Happily, the PICS program also is increasingly serving undergraduates from low income families. Once again CHUCK FREYER, the PICS Board, many classmates and other Princetonians have found the resources in terms of sourcing and funding internships, and encouraging the engagement of alumni partners who mentor the interns as they serve. Once again JERI SCHAEFER, the Executive Director and now an honorary ‘69er, has done the coordination of the many activities that must take place in order to keep the program improving both in terms of the number and quality of the experiences.
Those of you who attended our Class wine tasting on Friday of Reunions heard President Eisgruber commend PICS Chair CHUCK FREYER and the whole PICS Board for their incredible success over the past 25 years in creating the most popular (15% of the undergraduate body have applied for a PICS internship in each of the last several years) and dynamic internship program on campus—having placed by now well over 1500 undergraduates in paid summer internships in community service and other non-profit organizations of every kind all across the US and abroad, creating an outstanding well of good will toward Princeton and our Class. As we approached the milestone of our 50th Reunion, and as PICS approached its 25th year, Chuck and his Board felt it was time to transfer the responsibility for insuring the program’s future to Princeton University. After a 2-year negotiation, they reached a deal on the eve of our 50th that will have the University assume the administration of the program staring in Fall 2020. The University will, however, not be assuming the cost of the stipends paid to PICS interns that insure that every Princeton student has an equal chance to participate in the life-changing opportunities offered by PICS, regardless of student aid status; that stipend budget is now running at over $900,000 a year. All donations to PICS this year, and in future, will go 100% to support that stipend budget, and will not be used to pay staff salaries or other overhead. So please remember that PICS is the Legacy of the Class of 1969 to Princeton, and support it as generously as you can when you make your dues payment (see below).
The PICS transition also will allow JERI SCHAEFER (phto, left) to make her long-sought move to Florida with her family, and will allow CHUCK FREYER (photo, right) to reclaim the endless hours that he has spent as Chair shepherding the PICS Board for the last decade or so. As they do so, they should bask in the knowledge that they have our collective thanks for all that they have done over the years. Our appreciation extends as well to the broader PICS Board for their stewardship over the last 25 years. Finally, congratulations to all for working out a long-term solution to these issues. May we all continue to do our part in the actions needed to make the transition a successful one!
The Class’ finances remain soundly in the black, thanks to the outstanding effort made by Classmates in this past year’s dues campaign. 299 Classmates paid dues in fiscal 2018 (42% of the Class), and 321 Classmates paid in fiscal 2019, a whopping 45% of the Class - extraordinary! As a result, Class Treasurer CHUCK FREYER, who just reupped for another term in that office, and Ex-President RICK KITTO attended the Alumni Council Awards luncheon at Reunions this year to accept on behalf of our Class the Class of 1932 Plaque for the Class with the Highest Percentage of Dues Payers in a Class out more than 25 and less than 50 Years. Congrats to all involved! Thanks especially to the many of you who gave at the Leadership level ($125 or greater), as that allows us to refrain from increasing the class dues for everyone. CHUCK advises that as we move beyond the 50th, the competition gets even more intense as some of the very old classes can generate high percentages with relatively few dues payers – hopefully we will prove capable of competing respectably despite our numerosity. Given that 400 or so of us made it to the 50th Reunion this year (about 56% of the Class) and that over 69% donated to Annual Giving, it seems achievable to get our dues participation up to commensurate levels.
Your Class Dues Payment Card is enclosed with the paper mailing of this letter, along with an envelope. Dues have not increased in many years, and remain at the low rate of $50 for regular payers, and $125 or more for Leadership payers. The Class is grateful indeed for all of you who pay at the Leadership level, because you enable us to do more for our classmates than we would otherwise be able to do.
The Dues Payment Card allows you to pay your dues, and at the same time to make additional contributions to the Class Scholarship Fund, as well as to our Class Legacy – the PICS program. For your information it is the view of the University that Class dues, as well as contributions to the Class Scholarship Fund and the PICS Program all should be deductible at the federal level. This past year, Classmates used their dues cards to contribute $6,580 to our Class Scholarship Account with the University (up by 25% over the contributions last year), and to contribute $39,758 to the PICS Program to support its needs for intern stipend funds. If you are able, a donation to either or both of those causes would be much appreciated by all. You may wish to consult your tax advisor about using required distributions from your retirement accounts if you anticipate that the aggregate of your Class dues and your contributions to the Scholarship Fund and PICS will be substantial.
As an alternative to using the Class Dues Payment Card, one can also contribute through the Website by logging in and then clicking the Class Dues & Donations icon along the left sidebar of each page. One advantage of the latter is that it keeps track of your payments to help prevent you from paying twice—an advantage that seems more significant in impact as the years go on.
We hope that all of you will consider showing up at the 51st or at one of the other gatherings that will be occurring over the next year or so!
And in the meantime, remember the wise words of Samuel Clemens: “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.”
All the best,