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55th Reunion!

  May 23-26, 2024


Erdman Center info




President's Letter, September, 2022

Princeton University

Class of 1969

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Dear Classmates,


Three cheers for Old Nassau once again, as we now observe the commencement of the 58th year since we first arrived at Princeton.  While the omnipresence of COVID-19 in the last few years has certainly presented unusual circumstances that have battered our best efforts at planning ongoing activities for the Class, we have continued to work around the pandemic in our planning for the present and the future.




With a festive 53rd Reunion now in the collective memories of at least a number of us and a 54th Reunion on the not-too distant horizon, we are now turning to setting the Class agenda for the coming year, in the hope that we will provide options in terms of learning and experiences that align with your desires, and that COVID will continue to allow in-person events.


Our first opportunity to get together in our 54th Reunion year is the annual Pre-Rade and Step Sing which is going to be held starting on the Nassau Hall Green at 4:00 PM on September 4, 2022.  This is the event which officially recognizes the arrival of the Class of 2026, and hopefully a few Classmates will be able to attend regaled in always appropriate orange and black attire.


Our second opportunity to get together is the “Great Canyonlands of the Southwest” Mini-Reunion, which will be convening in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 9th , 2022 and ending on Sunday, October 16th ,2022.  At present we have 36 classmates interested in attending, and we probably can fit in a few more folks if anyone else is interested in attending (provided that they sign up by August 30th). I would like to thank LLOYD BROWN, THACHER BROWN, JEFF KAPLAN, KEN MERTZ and BRUCE ROSENBERG for their seemingly endless assistance in moving all of this forward.


Our next opportunity to get together is the Homecoming Football Weekend in the Fall, which is scheduled to be on Saturday, October 29th, 2022, when the Cornell Big Red will be making their way to Princeton for the annual gridiron battle.  At present we are planning the following events that weekend: (i) a Class Meeting at 10:00 AM (location to be determined), (ii) a Class picnic at 11:30 AM (location to be determined), (iii) the football game at 1:00 PM in the Stadium, and (iv) cocktails and dinner at the Springdale Golf Club at about 4:30 PM.  The latter event will be an event that is combined with the Class of 1965, as we originally booked the Club for November 5th as the likely homecoming weekend, but the University surprised us with its final decision, and the Class of 1965 got the information faster than we did and reserved the Club before we could make the change.  Happily, the ‘65ers are willing to share the venue with us ‘69ers that evening.


We are hoping that cocktails can be outdoors if weather permits; and dinner will be indoors.  We are planning to require that those who wish to attend have been vaccinated and boosted, and those attending should bring a mask to wear, in case the State of New Jersey has a mandate in place regarding the wearing of masks at indoor events (as the State did last year).  In any event, please mark your calendars now – further details will follow via later email, at which point we will modify any of these arrangements depending upon the Covid situation in New Jersey as the date approaches.


While not an “in person” event, you also may wish to participate in Orange and Black Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 22, 2022 and offers an opportunity to strut your stuff in the aforementioned appropriate attire.


The other event you might want to note on your calendars is Alumni Day, which is to be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023.  The University always arranges an interesting program of lectures for returning alums in the morning, including lectures by the winners of the James Madison Medal and the Woodrow Wilson Award.  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.  Assuming that this event is an “in person” event, that evening we’ll have a Class reception and/or dinner for classmates.




In addition, the aforementioned 54th Reunion is scheduled for Thursday, May 25th to Sunday, May 28th, 2023.  Assuming that this is an “in person” event, we will convene as part of the combined reunion surrounding the Class of 1968’s 55th Reunion (along with the Classes of 1966, 1967 and 1970) in what hopefully will prove to be an exciting time for all concerned.


We also are in the early planning stages for another Mini-Reunion.  This would be 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.  Given the slippage in the Canyonlands of the Southwest Mini-Reunion, the California Wine Country Mini-Reunion probably will be scheduled for the Spring or Summer of 2023, at a time when the threat of fires associated with the Santa Ana winds is reduced.  We are still getting preliminary tour information and setting our priorities, but hope to circulate more specific information to you in the next few months.  The Steering Committee (in formation) for this trip includes TOM COOPER, JOHN HAWKINS, DAVE MILLER and WAYNE WILSON, and I want to thank them as well for their assistance thus far.




Happily, the last year saw the resumption of “in person” events on campus, and attending to administrative matters relating to the Class.  




The first such “in person” event was a Class Dinner following the Harvard homecoming football game on October 21st, which was attended by about 25 to 30 classmates and spouses.  The Class Dinner was delayed somewhat because the football game took four overtimes to resolve, with Princeton being the announced winner, 18-16, in a series of referee decisions that resulted in several Harvard scores being nullified (a few weeks later the Ivy League ultimately held that the scores should not have been nullified, but let Princeton keep the victory).



After the craziness of that game, the Springdale Golf Club did an excellent job keeping us all plied with wine and food, and the consensus was that it was an excellent venue (hence our efforts to return this year).  Thanks go out to RICK and CHRIS KITTO for their efforts in coordinating arrangements with the Club.























Alumni Day


The next event was Alumni Day on February 19th, which was somewhat curtailed for 2022 by the elimination of the Alumni Luncheon.  The festivities began with the ceremony surrounding the James Madison Medal (awarded to Julia Wolfe, the internationally celebrated composer and professor of music at NYU), and the Woodrow Wilson Award (awarded to Maria Ressa, one of the University’s four 2021 Nobel Laureates).  This was followed by a lunch involving 6 classmates at the Springdale Golf Club at which BOB DURKEE regaled those in attendance with a preview of The New Princeton Companion, authored by Bob in all his COVID-related spare time.

That was followed by the Service of Remembrance coordinated by the University, at which the Class was represented by CHIP JERRY, and the lives of the following Classmates were remembered: GENE BAYARD, JOHN BEATTY, DAVE BRUNER, JIM GAFFNEY, JIM GREEN, TOM GREIG, ART HAMM, STEVE HOUCK, JAY MELOSH, PAUL SITTENFELD, TOM WEIDNER, BOB WOLFE and JOHN YOUNG.  Those who attended the Service of Remembrance came away moved by the moment, the memories and the music.



Since that date, we have also learned of the deaths of JACK BREIHAN on February 18, 2022, AL PIRANIAN on February 24, 2022, ALAN VLCEK on February 24, 2022, SKIP GRIFFIN on April 28, 2022 and BILL SYDNOR on July 19, 2022.


On behalf of all ‘69ers and their spouses and significant others, we want to pass along thoughts of and prayers for our Classmates and their loved ones.  May they all rest in peace and live on in our collective memories.




Our 53rd Reunion followed in late May, and drew a healthy representation from the Class, with about 23 of us attending at one point or another: DON ADAMS, BOB AXELROD, STEVE BOUGHN, ANDY BROWN, BOB DURKEE, JIM FLOYD, CHUCK FREYER, BILL HARDY, BOB HERBST, CHIP JERRY, CURT KEHR, RICK KITTO, CHRIS KITTO, BOB LOVEMAN, JEFF MARSTON, JACK MCCARTHY, CLAY MCELDOWNEY, KEN MERTZ, MARC MILLER, MARK OLSON, BILL PAPE, SANDY REA and RICH REIN, accompanied by their spouses, significant others, children and grandchildren.

On Friday, BOB LOVEMAN received the Alumni Council Award for Service to Princeton (see the picture below of Bob and Gail at the reception held after the award).  As stated in the text of the award, Bob was recognized for “volunteering, planning, networking, fundraising, mentoring and innovating” over the last 50 years, such as his involvement with the Princeton Club of Chicago over that period.  Congratulations to Bob for this well-deserved recognition!


Most of the folks listed above were in attendance at the Class Dinner on Saturday night in the Class of 1956 Stadium Suite where we received an official thank you from the family of PAUL SITTENFELD (represented by his son, P.G.), and were entertained by the Tigertones during dinner.  Soon after dinner was complete the University’s fireworks display commenced, and a number of Classmates departed from the Suite to see the display in the open air.


Shortly after the Reunion concluded, BRENT HENRY received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Class of 2022 Commencement in recognition to his long service to Princeton, particularly his efforts to render the University more diverse, more inclusive and more accessible.  Congratulations to Brent as well for this well-deserved recognition of his service!




The Annual Giving calendar was a busy one, beginning in October 2021.  The middle of the campaign once again was focused on a competition with the Class of ’68 to see which Class could elicit the most donors during the month of March 2021.   Happily, the ’69 team emerged as the winner, with 50 gifts for ‘69 vs. 33 for ’68, all for a good cause indeed, and we managed to hold on to the Class of 68/Class of ’69 Challenge Coffee Mug!


In the end Andy reported that the Class had excellent results in terms of the FY 2021 Annual Giving Campaign, achieving a participation rate of 51.2%, and raising in excess of $268,000.   These results compared favorably to the prior year, where the participation rate was 51.2%, and we raised $263,000.


None of this would have been possible without Andy’s efforts throughout the Campaign.   He has indeed proven to be a diligent and talented Class Agent, and his long experience in development matters is clearly standing him in good stead.   Thanks as well to his team of 16 Classmates who responded ably to Andy’s suggestions for success: ANDY BROWN, BOB BROWN, BRUCE DEBOLT, BILL EARLE, BRUCE FREEMAN, CHUCK FREYER, MIKE GEHRET, JIM GREGOIRE, SCOTT KRUSE, BOB LOVEMAN, LARRY MORRIS, BOB RAYMAR, BRUCE ROSENBERG, GARY SYKES, JEFF VON ARX and yours truly.


Congratulations all around!



CHUCK FREYER has reported previously on the PICS program, and its transition to administration by the University.  That process was completed shortly after our 50th Reunion, and has been a success in many respects.  The PICS Alumni Advisory Council (AAC), which replaced the old PICS Board and functions like other alumni Friends groups, has successfully maintained the integral role of alumni in sourcing and funding more internship opportunities to better address overwhelming student demand.  A significant number of those serving on the AAC are members of ’69, and the financial contributions of these and other ‘69ers are critical to sustaining and growing the program.  But perhaps most importantly, the year has seen the rise of a new generation of PICS alumni leadership working alongside long-serving ‘69ers in the critical areas of internship development and operations, fundraising and communications.


The cohort of PICS interns for Summer 2022 numbered more than 210 internships, which is up significantly from the number the year before.  About ¼ of those internships were fully remote, and the remaining ¾ are “in person” or hybrid.  About 550 students applied for the available internships, which indicates that significantly more internships still need to be established if the current level of demand continues into the future.  Roughly 60% of the interns this year were students of color, and roughly 25% were first generation/low-income students.


While the University has assumed PICS’ staffing costs, it provided only a fraction of PICS’ more than $1 million stipend budget in 2022, which assures that every Princeton undergrad who ultimately participates in PICS can afford that PICS experience, regardless of financial aid status and/or family situation.


As I indicated last year, in 2020 two of our Classmates created a pilot program with $25,000 in matching funds for younger alumni, classes and regional associations to inspire them to create and fund new internships.  It rapidly became known as the ’69 Match and almost as rapidly was completely committed, thanks in large part to the energetic leadership of the PICS AAC Development Committee.  In response to this, we decided to repurpose our PICS dues-checkoff to expand and perpetuate the ’69 Match.  The initiators of the ’69 Match also matched all gifts to PICS collected by ’69 through the dues checkoff (whether by check or credit card) dollar for dollar this fiscal year.  All of these funds are being used to incentivize growth of the PICS Program and the broadening of its financial base to a wider range of alumni.  Already we have seen more recent classes creating their own PICS internship funding schemes, including in some instances endowing them.  This is one of the results we had all hoped for when we transitioned the program to the University.


So please consider including a gift to PICS in the check you send in with your dues card (which you will receive when you receive the “hard” copy of this letter).  You can also make a tax-deductible gift to PICS on the Class website


If, however, you would like to have your gift to PICS acknowledged by Princeton, that gift (but not the Class dues or Class scholarship contribution) needs to go directly to the University:


(i) if by check at the following address, noting your desire that the gift support PICS:


Helen Hardy

Princeton University Advancement

100 Overlook Center, Suite 300

Princeton, New Jersey 08540


(ii) if by credit card, online at https://makeagift.princeton.edu/MainSite/MakeAGift, again with an indication in the “Special instructions or comments” field the that the gift should be restricted to PICS.  


A gift made in either such manner will be acknowledged by the University.  Note, however, that such gifts to the University will not qualify for the special match described above, which is focused on expanding the ’69 Match through dues checkoff donations.


Our appreciation is extended to Chuck Freyer and Bill Charrier, as well to the broader PICS Board for its stewardship over the last 28 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 ensure that PICS prospers in the future!




Our Treasurer’s report from CHUCK FREYER indicates that the Class is in the black thanks to the fact that about 240 Classmates paid their dues last year (up from 220 Classmates in the prior year), including a significant number who gave at the leadership level of $125 or more.  Receipts totaled about $25,000, while expenses (excluding the Scholarship Fund and PICS) were close to $20,000.  That is just to say that we still need everyone who can to pay Class dues, particularly as we plan for more regional activities.  Chuck also reported that we have adequate funds on hand in a separate account available to support pre-planning for the 55th reunion.


Your Class Dues Payment Card will be enclosed with the “hard” copy of this letter that you will be receiving, 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 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 the PICS program (as discussed in more detail above in the Section on PICS).  If you are able, a donation to either or both of those causes would be much appreciated by all.


As an alternative to using the Class Dues Payment Card, one can also contribute through the Class website by logging in and then clicking the Class Dues & Donations icon along the left sidebar of each page.  One advantage of giving through the Class website 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.



Finally, please give our Co-Secretaries, BOB AXELROD and MIKE GEHRET a break by sending along some information on the events taking place in your respective lives (e.g., travel, encounters with Classmates, retirements, other life events), so that they have news that they can then submit to the Princeton Alumni Weekly.  There have been several occasions during the past year when the “barrel” was empty or nearly so, and we know that most of you have news in which others in the Class would be interested.  Being a Co-Secretary is difficult enough without such communications!



So there you have it – I hope that all of you will consider showing up at the 54th or at one of the other gatherings that will be occurring over the next year or so, and look forward to celebrating our Class and its greatness over the next year!


And in the meantime, remember these wise words of Mark Twain on the subject of aging:


"As soon as a man recognizes that he has drifted into age, he gets reminiscent. He wants to talk and talk; and not about the present or the future, but about his old times. For there is where the pathos of his life lies -- and the charm of it. The pathos of it is there because it was opulent with treasures that are gone, and the charm of it is in casting them up from the musty ledgers and remembering how rich and gracious they were…."


All the best,



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