The tiger makes an appearance at Reunions in 2019.
Sameer A. Khan
Campus leaders had hoped advances in science and public health would allow the on-campus alumni celebration to safely take place

Princeton has announced that in-person Reunions 2021 will be cancelled for a second consecutive year due to the global pandemic. The alumni celebration, which typically takes place in the last weekend of May and draws about 25,000 attendees to campus, had only previously been cancelled due to world wars. While no specific virtual Reunions plans have been unveiled, a virtual celebration will take place, likely in a similar format as last year’s well-received programming.

An email to alumni Feb. 1 explains how campus administrators had hoped that the advances in science and public health guidance would have brought the virus to bay with enough time to allow the alumni celebration to safely take place on campus. Unfortunately, that has not come to pass. 

“We will miss this opportunity to gather in person as Princetonians but have determined that convening on campus for even a modified celebration with guests from around the world is not prudent or possible this spring,” the message said. It goes on to state that the major Reunions of about 40 percent of alumni have now been affected and that the tripling of major reunions classes in 2022 is unrealistic due to space. Still, it says, “we are eager to work with relevant Reunions chairs and class leadership to find non-traditional alternatives for the affected 25th and 50th reunion classes (1995, 1996, 1970, and 1971) to mark these important milestones.”

Read PAW’s coverage of 2020 virtual reunions

The disappointing news didn’t stop with Reunions. The University also announced that the promised make-up Commencement this spring for the Class of 2020 was also off the table. According to the email, Princeton is “working with the class to find ways to honor their achievements and foster a strong sense of community with each other and the University.” 

As far as the Class of 2021 is concerned, the message said a decision has not yet been made on the fate of its Commencement or related end-of-year activities. 

The cancellations arrive almost simultaneously with the return of about 2,900 students to campus for the spring semester after a mostly virtual fall term.