Members of the classes of 1944 through 1950 on the steps of Clio Hall.
Members of the classes of 1944 through 1950 on the steps of Clio Hall.

On Reunions weekend, May 31–June 3, thousands of alumni will return to campus wearing a distinctive memento of their time at Princeton: the beer jacket, which turns 100 this year. The beer jacket was invented by enterprising members of the Class of 1912 who decided to don full suits — denim overalls and a workman’s jacket — when sipping beer, to spare their clothes from spills.

Of course, the jacket — worn mainly by young alumni — is only one of many Reunions traditions. As always, the weekend will be packed with activities for alumni, family, and friends returning to campus. In the lecture halls, alumni-faculty forums on Friday and Saturday will call on experts to discuss topics including investing in a turbulent economy, U.S. health care, and the impact of the Arab Spring.

Two class-sponsored panel discussions will examine themes of war. Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80 will moderate a conversation about Vietnam with members of the Class of 1962 (Friday at 4 p.m.), while the Class of 2007 will present a discussion of “Princetonians in the Nation’s Service During WWII” (Friday at 3:45 p.m.).

PAW is hosting “PAW-litics,” a panel of alumni journalists who will offer an insider’s look at the presidential campaign at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in McCosh 10. Moderated by Joel Achenbach ’82, a reporter for The Washington Post, the panel will include Ryan T. Anderson ’04, editor of Public Discourse; Nick Confessore ’98, a reporter at The New York Times; Jennifer Epstein ’08, a reporter at Politico; Louis Jacobson ’92, a senior writer for PolitiFact; Richard Just ’01, editor of The New Republic; Kathy Kiely ’77, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation; Rick Klein ’98, senior Washington editor at ABC News; and Katrina vanden Heuvel ’81, editor and publisher of The Nation.

There are several exhibitions exploring Princeton’s history. The University Art Museum offers “Prince­ton and the Gothic Revival: 1870–1930.” At the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, “She Flourishes: Chapters in the History of Princeton Women” showcases the struggles and accomplishments of Princeton women.

On Saturday, President Tilghman will hold her annual conversation with alumni at 10:30 a.m. in Richardson Auditorium. Later that day, the Class of 1987 will lead the P-rade, beginning at 2 p.m. The University Orchestra will perform its annual concert at Finney and Campbell fields at 8 p.m., with fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

Reuners can keep track of the schedule and other important information through Reunions Mobile, the Alumni Association’s smartphone-friendly Web guide, which can be accessed through mobile Web browsers at