At Alumni Day last month, I was grateful to represent the graduate school as a reader at the Service of Remembrance. In an annual calendar filled with ceremony, I find the service — which honors members of the Princeton community who died during the past year — to be the most moving event.
Originally, the service recognized only alumni, but the Rev. Joseph Williamson, dean of the Chapel from 1989 into 2001, recognized that others, too, are so much a part of campus life. Today, his wide embrace is on full display: The Chapel choir sings soaring Christian hymns; students read prayers from the Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim traditions; staff members, like alumni, add carnations to the memorial wreath. This year’s memorial address was delivered by a rabbi, Cindy Enger ’87.
Princeton lost some giants last year. Sue-Jean Lee Suettinger ’70 — the first woman student to appear in Triangle — was such a legend that when she was ill with leukemia, female Triangle members created an original video as a personal musical tribute. Bob Rodgers ’56, chairman emeritus of the Princetoniana Committee, was so loved by younger alumni that his name appears in the Remembrance program three times: with his own class, and as an honorary member of the classes of 1981 and 2006. Sixty-eight faculty and staff members also were honored: teachers, mentors, people who ensured that Princeton works in every way.
The renowned professor and the underappreciated dining-hall worker; the star student and the far-away alum: On Alumni Day, Princeton celebrated them all.
Click here to see video of Bob Rodgers ’56 leading the Locomotive cheer at the 2011 Senior Step Sing.