Some of the best gatherings took place not under tents, but in lecture halls, where alumni heard from experts on topics such as health care, politics, immigration, art, and economics. Here’s a sampling of comments from Reunions panels and lectures.

“Sherlock Holmes was a reader for me. He was a reader of people, a reader of scenes, a reader of clues, but a reader.”author WALTER KIRN ’83, on why The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes had a great influence on him

“When a black body is on stage, there is magic occurring. That body is the ­testament to all the trials and tribulations that its ancestors have gone through, and it’s also a blessing and a sign that ­survival will occur.”ROGER Q. MASON ’08, playwright and director, in a forum about Princeton’s Black Arts Company: Drama


“Art can open up space for people to have their own ­meditative experience and to reveal the things that are important in life beyond just what society deems ­important — those day-to-day magical insights.”JOSEPHINE DECKER ’03, director and writer

“Academics are interested in what happens in the main or on the average. People in my profession don’t care about what ­happens in the main or on the average.”political consultant MARK MELLMAN ’78, on how political professionals and ­academics view the political process

“My advice to a Princeton grad who wants to run for office is to try to reconnect with all your rich friends.”RICK KLEIN ’98, political director, ABC News

“I had all these ideas about programs and policies I wanted to introduce, and quite frankly, no one cared.” — ­former political candidate NICOLE A. VELASCO ’08

“One of the greatest strengths and weaknesses [of new media] has been Twitter. ... But I think that what ends up happening is that people are so focused on ‘Let me get tweeted, let me get re-tweeted, let me get more Twitter followers’ that it ends up ­creating this dynamic that leans toward the splashy story.”JENNIFER EPSTEIN ’08, White House reporter, Politico


“It’s clear to even a casual observer that our politics are broken in Washington. ... The focus will be shifting away from Washington [to states and local governments], with Washington becoming increasingly irrelevant to what happens in this country.” CHRIS LU ’88, former Cabinet secretary and assistant to President Obama 

“Only when we put together a movement that is strong enough to scare politicians are we able to get new policies.” — ­immigration activist FRANK SHARRY ’78, responding to a question about increasing the minimum wage

“In the end, the ’60s matter a lot. ... But the one thing we have done wrong is that we tend to believe nobody else has had the experience that we have, and nobody else can do it the way we can, and therefore we held back the next ­generation.” — ­former SDS member ROBERT COHEN ’70, who became a health-care ­administrator (at a ­session in which alumni reflected on how activism had shaped their lives)

“We gained enormous confidence because we were willing to confront and ask questions, and that helped us all in our careers immeasurably. ... But again we got to hubris, overconfidence, unwillingness to listen to the other side, the other points of view. I apologize to those I tried to shout down; I don’t think that was the right thing for us to do.”former SDS member DOUGLAS SEATON ’69, who became a history professor, employer representative in labor ­disputes, and active Republican (speaking at the same session)

“Margaret Thatcher used to say, ‘First you win the argument, then you win the election.’ The reason Republicans lost in 2012 is because we lost the argument. We didn’t even really make the argument.”Republican Sen. TED CRUZ ’92

“Pro football is obviously a business, but it’s a unique business ... . Everything we do and all the money we spend is designed to win, not to put money in the pockets of our owner.”DICK CASS ’68, president of the Baltimore Ravens football team

“The old-school locker-room mentality has broken down pretty rapidly. ... Pete Carril would not be able to coach at Princeton University today — and I love the guy.”FRANK VUONO ’78, partner at 16W Marketing

“None of this process paralysis so far has caused any kind of decline in the quality of the people who do make it onto the federal bench. If you want particularized evidence of that, the last three Supreme Court justices have been Princetonians.”Duke University professor CHRIS SCHROEDER ’68 

“Our national discourse has taken on a tone that is not only ugly, but is particularly disrespectful to the institution of government ... . I think what has happened in our country is that the dialogue has become destructive.” PAUL FISHMAN ’78, U.S. attorney for New Jersey


“I was in Washing­ton, D.C., for Dr. King’s speech, one of the most important things I’ve ever done in my life. There was a caravan of buses approaching Washington, and people came out of their homes to welcome us. If only we could somehow recapture that spirit — of the people on the buses and coming out of their houses — we’d probably be further along than we are.”EDWARD WHITE ’63, former director of the Sacramento Housing Authority, at a forum titled “‘I Have a Dream’: 50 Years Later”

“People are looking for intellectuals — to some extent for leadership but also for justification, which I think poses important ethical questions. If you think your [research] is being used to justify policies that are much more restrictive than they should be, you have an obligation to say that clearly.”economics professor and Nobel laureate PAUL KRUGMAN

“Deployment for an active-duty person is a career builder, a career enhancer. For a reservist, this is not your career; it can hurt your career.”Navy Reservist SAMUEL HELFONT GS, who served in Iraq in 2003

“There were some wonderful ­foreign-service officers among the 1,300 people at the embassy, but they never left the compound, so they never met any Afghans. You can’t do a one-year tour, as a military ­person or as a civilian, and expect to be competent.”ANDRE HOLLIS ’88, former Defense Department official and ­adviser in Afghanistan

“Eleven million people out of status is a human-rights crisis of unprecedented dimensions in the U.S.”sociology ­professor DOUGLAS MASSEY *78

“Obamacare excludes undocumented immigrants. ... Diseases know no borders; they spread to legal and illegal people alike.”PATRICIA FERNÁNDEZ-KELLY, senior lecturer in sociology