For Princeton graduates, the tradition of planting class ivy dates back to the 1870s, when seniors would gather before Commencement for the ivy oration and reflect on their time at Old Nassau. In the decades following World War II, though, the tradition lapsed, leaving many classes without a permanent presence on the walls of Nassau Hall.
Last year, Jim Parmentier ’66, secretary for his class, asked fellow class leaders why they’d never had an ivy ceremony. No one could recall the idea being raised before, but once it was mentioned, classmate Charles Plohn said, “it took us about a nanosecond to approve it.”
On Alumni Day Feb. 26, an audience of about 50 classmates and family members gathered to dedicate the Class of 1966 stone and plant the ivy. More ’66ers will be able to see the ivy in May, when the class holds its 45th reunion. The plaque is on the west stairwell of Nassau Hall, not far from the class’s staging area for the P-rade.
Plohn joked that the class was “a mere 45 years” late in its installation, but Robert Rawson ’66, a former University trustee who delivered the ivy oration, said that the unintended delay allowed classmates “to apply a longer and deeper perspective concerning the meaning of this significant ceremony.”
“We can now reflect on the reality of who we have become, both as individuals, but importantly, as a class maturing together,” Rawson said in his address. “Individual and unique as we are, this great University has nurtured us and molded us into a singular unit.”
Below, view images of the Feb. 12 stone installation, captured by Plohn’s son, Charles R. Plohn k’66. The elder Plohn is pictured in the orange cap. Installing the granite plaque are two masons from the University Mason Shop, Carmine Fiocca, in the white sweatshirt, and Richard LaMothe, in the blue jacket.
(Click any image to view as a slide show.)