During the first weekend in June, I celebrated my 35th Princeton Reunion. It was, possibly, the best one I’ve been to, and not just because the weather was incredible, with mostly cool, clear weather instead of the usual heat, rain and humidity that is common in central New Jersey during this time of year. I know that many Princetonians believe that anything related to our alma mater is the best, but our reunions are special–I’ve never met anyone from another school who speaks as passionately about their reunion as we Tigers do about ours.
Toward the end of my freshman year at Princeton, an upperclassman in the marching band asked me if I wanted to stay for Reunions. Not being a townie, or the child of an alum, or having access to the yet-to-be-invented YouTube, I had no idea what that meant. I understood that colleges had reunions, but I had no clue what Princeton’s Reunions entailed. It was quite an eye-opener. And, I got to hear Jean Shepherd for the first time.
There are a few things that set Princeton Reunions apart from others. First, while most schools invite back alumni from 5 year anniversary classes, Princeton not only invites, but encourages, every alumnus to come back every year. The “major” reunion classes act as hosts for two older and two younger “satellite” classes, who can attend the events for free (other than meals). From our standpoint, this allows you to retain connections with friends who are older and younger than you, and not just limit your “reuning” to your classmates. Also, Princeton encourages us to bring back our significant others and children for the revelry. This broad attendance at Reunions cements the relationship between the graduates and the University, presumably resulting in increased contributions.