Tina Young works at the retirement home in Maplewood, N.J., where Warnock lives. Her daughter, Nana, is a rising senior. Tina said Warnock has known about her daughter for several years, beginning when she was in high school and considering where to attend college. He and another resident, a Yale alum, would debate which of their alma maters was a better choice. When Warnock was informed that Nana would stop by the Old Guard dinner Friday night, Warnock said, “I definitely want to meet her.”
Warnock was 85 years old when Nana Young was born, but there they sat, the Class of 1925 chatting animatedly with the Class of 2012, united by their tie to Princeton. Warnock, who turned 106 on June 21, is not much of a talker, Tina Young says: “The only way to get him to make conversation is to mention Princeton.”
A retired lawyer, Warnock won the Class of 1923 Cane as the oldest returning alumnus for the seventh time. It is believed to be the first time any Princeton alumnus has celebrated an 86th reunion. Warnock spent the weekend in one of the dorm rooms at Forbes College.
Although the oldest alumnus to appear in the P-rade is accorded a special honor, a big cheer also goes up for the oldest alumnus to walk the route. That distinction went to Frederick “Fritz” Hummel ’36, who proudly led his classmates. Seven ’36 classmates returned — a record turnout for a 75th reunion.
Hummel, 96, who marched with his son, Karl ’67, pooh-poohed the fuss over his accomplishment. He walks the route every year, he explains, and says that he does not bother with exercise. “I don’t even believe in it. It’s just a matter of heredity, I guess.”
Each Reunions weekend is a major one for the Class of 1923 Cane, awarded to the oldest returning alumnus, and 2011 marked an anniversary as well: The distinctive prize was first presented 60 years ago, before the 1951 P-rade.
The ebony cane stands about 36 inches tall and is capped by a solid silver crouching tiger. Adlai Stevenson Hardin ’23, known to his classmates as “Jim,” sculpted the handle and designed the shaft, which displays on six silver bands (soon to be seven) the names of the 29 men who have carried the cane. Each summer, a New York-based craftsman engraves the latest addition, by hand. The cane then is returned to a trophy case in the library of Maclean House, home of the Alumni Council.
Malcolm Warnock ’25 received the cane for a record-tying seventh time at this year’s Old Guard luncheon. “I’ve always enjoyed carrying the cane,” said Warnock, the oldest winner, as he surveyed the engraved names. “It’s a lot of fun.”