From left: Robert Varrin ’56 *57, Isabel McGinty *82, Catherine Toppin ’02, and David Fisher ’69.
From left: Robert Varrin ’56 *57, Isabel McGinty *82, Catherine Toppin ’02, and David Fisher ’69.
ILLUSTRATION: STEVEN VEACH

Robert Varrin ’56

Former chairman of the Committee on Academic Programs for Alumni; ­P-rade marshal; Service of Remembrance Committee member; secretary, executive committee, Friends of Princeton Track; former advisory-board member, Princeton Varsity Club 

RECONNECTING When Varrin returned to Princeton after retirement 18 years ago, he picked up where he left off with his former adviser, professor emeritus of geosciences and civil engineering William Bonini ’48 *49. “I came back and it was as if I never left. We worked together on a number of projects, which has been just a wonderful thing for me. Bill Bonini asked me to co-chair with him the celebration of the 200th anniversary of [legendary geology professor] Arnold Guyot’s birthday. It was a terrific experience to spend over a year working on that exhibit and celebration.” 

Isabel McGinty *82

Chairwoman of the Graduate Alumni Relations Committee; ex-officio board member of the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni (APGA); Alumni Schools Committee interviewer and regional ­committee chairwoman; Princetoniana Committee ­member 

RECRUITING SCHOOLS COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS “Maybe two years ago, it was toward the end of interview season, and we had been very short on volunteers in a part of Asia. So I reached out to my email list — it was largely graduate-alumni volunteers — to get people to volunteer to do one or two interviews. Within a day and a half, I had about 100 volunteers who came forward to cover the interviews. I only knew them by email, but they were willing to respond to Princeton because Princeton asked them to do something.”

Catherine Toppin ’02 

Association of Black Princeton Alumni (ABPA): president since 2008, board member since 2003; board member of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations; Leadership Council member for the School of Engineering and Applied Science 

CONNECTING BLACK ALUMNI TO THE ­UNIVERSITY As ABPA president, Toppin — like her predecessors — has worked to incorporate ABPA members into the broader University community, “whether that means plugging our own board members into other Alumni Association ­volunteer roles or trying to assist with diversifying the advisory board at the engineering school or making sure that there are black alumni on Reunions and alumni-faculty forums.” 

David Fisher ’69 

Co-founder and president of the Princeton Alumni Association of Germany; Director of the Princeton German Summer Work Program; Alumni Schools Committee interviewer since the early 1980s; member of the Advisory Council of Princeton’s German department 

WHY CULTURAL EXCHANGE IS IMPORTANT “Too many Americans don’t get to experience foreign cultures. When you listen to political discourse lots of times in America, you realize these people are clueless. … When you go and actually work in a company or in any organization, you get a whole different view of things. You never get that as a tourist or even in an official capacity as a diplomat.”