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.
PHOTO: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

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 m.princeton.edu/reunions.