For motorcycle enthusiasts and ’71 classmates Geoff Smith, John Drummond, and Brad O’Brien, the 4,600-mile journey — with detours — from Southern California back to their 45th reunion made for great memories: navigating a narrow strip of highway high above the Colorado River, coasting on the Natchez Trace Parkway through Mississippi, and twisting along rain-soaked roads in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was, in O’Brien’s words, “totally epic.”

“It was wonderful to ride into Princeton, but knowing that this ride was almost over — it was one of the only bad moments there was,” Drummond said with a wistful smile.

They joined about 26,000 alumni and guests who returned to campus wearing all things orange and black for Reunions May 26–29. As usual, the P-rade was the highlight for many alums — despite the 90-degree heat. Joseph Schein ’37, at 101 the oldest returning alumnus from the earliest class represented at Reunions, led the procession with the silver-tipped Class of 1923 cane in hand, walking the entire way. Several signs carried in the P-rade took a serious tone, including some referring to racism and the 2014 killing by police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Some alumni toted signs asking for support for sprint football, which Princeton is ending. But others were more lighthearted, combining references to Princeton’s past with wry humor about the passing years. The signs of the “palindrome Class of 1991” — keeping with the “Tiger Regit” theme — drew on classmates’ wordplay skills, such as: “Lager, sir, is regal,” “Yale delay,” “Campus Motto: Bottoms up, Mac!” 

4,600 Miles to Princeton: From left, Brad O’Brien ’71, Geoff Smith ’71, and John Drummond ’71, who rode their motorcycles from California.
Courtesy John Drummond ’71

Between Saturday morning’s 5K Reunions Run and the late-night arch sings, Princetonians turned out in droves to attend more than two dozen alumni-faculty forums on topics including relations between the United States and China, climate change, and free speech on campus. Performances by student groups, gatherings of alumni-affinity groups, and receptions sponsored by academic departments and programs added to the mix. The weekend saw some unplanned events as well, including a marriage proposal by Will Kain ’11 to Jacquelyn Nestor ’12 in front of Nassau Hall. (She said yes.)

For Max Krance ’01, a former baseball player, the chance to see an informal game played by members of the 2016 Ivy League Championship Series-winning Princeton baseball team was a highlight of the weekend. Jim Lyon ’75, who worked at the computer-center help desk as an undergraduate, especially enjoyed a gathering of former help-desk employees. “There was a lot of reminiscing about the old days of computers, when Princeton had just one big mainframe computer and people still used punch cards — it was a very different time!” Lyon said.

But for many alumni, just catching up with old and new friends was the best part of Reunions weekend. “The people are the same, but they all have kids now!” exclaimed Timothy Hsia ’06. 

The Class of 1996’s inflatable obstacle course and ’80s arcade-style Pac-Man and Donkey Kong Jr. games were a hit among some of the youngest Tigers in attendance, while performances by Creedence Clearwater, Mike Love h’71 of the Beach Boys, and Kool and the Gang were popular among their parents. Events like the Battle of the Alumni Bands and a comedy show co-hosted by the grandfather/grandchild classes of 1966 and 2016 brought together Princetonians young and old. 

“I’ve been to maybe five reunions, and this one is the best,” said Richard Raskin ’66. “I think the energy is getting better with each reunion — and we’ve had a lot of practice!”

’96Teen Candles at the 20th: Laurie Kaye Holden, center, with Drew Hudacek and Elizabeth Ives, followed by Dave Ege. Ives is holding a poster of actress Brooke Shields ’87.
Frank Wojciechowski

’91 TIGER REGIT, THE PALINDROME CLASS: 25th reuners Lisa Ciccone Fielding, left, and Aparna Kambhampati Miano, with Eric Muhlheim behind
Beverly Schaefer

’46’s 70TH WITH THE OLD GUARD: Larry Gosnell
Beverly Schaefer

THE FIFTYSIXTIETH REUNION CLASS: From left, Fred “Itchy” van Doorninck Jr., Edwin “Ted” Halkyard, and Peter Ambler
Frank Wojciechowski

CANE RECIPIENT: 101-year-old Joseph Schein ’37 walked the P-rade route carrying the Class of 1923 silver-tipped cane
Sameer A. Khan

’06 CELEBRATES ITS MAD TEN: David Ochotorena and son Tucker
Frank Wojciechowski

’51 IS GOING BACK … TO THE 65TH: From left, Bill Jahos, Bill Coale, Mike Towbes, Bob Rafner, Mark Roberts, and Brad Currey
Beverly Schaefer

FOR THE 15TH, IT’S A ’01DERFUL LIFE: From left, Eve Weston, Tarlan Ellwood, and Lauren Cain
Beverly Schaefer

’71 LIVES THE WILD LIFE: 45th-reuners Greg Conderacci, left, and David Williams
Beverly Schaefer

’61’S 55TH IS BURNING BRIGHT: Shelby McKenzie
Beverly Schaefer

APGA REUNION: Patrice Jean *99 with husband Darren Collins and children Darren “DJ” and Scarlett
Frank Wojciechowski

APOLLO 11 — THE CLASS OF 2011 HAS LANDED AT THE 5TH: From left, Erin Tochihara, Isabell von Loga, Bianca Williams, and Thanithia Billings
Beverly Schaefer

’41’S 65TH WITH THE OLD GUARD: Irv Walsh with driver Evan Gedrich ’18
Beverly Schaefer

’86’S TRES EQUIS (XXX) – STAYING CLASSY: Maria Suarez Wilson
Frank Wojciechowski

’76 TURNS FORTÉ: Roger Boraas, left, and Glenn Swanson
Frank Wojciechowski

’81 REIGNS AT THE 35TH: From left: Jan DaSilva, Carrie Grabowski, and Miriam Rendon Ivy
Beverly Schaefer

’16 MAKES ITS REUNIONS DEBUT: From left: Kate Gardner, Jeremy Cheehan, John Paul Spence, Will Squiers, Mike Freyberger, and Takim Williams
Beverly Schaefer

A GREEN REUNIONS: Reuners were encouraged to “reuse and reduce” — to hold onto their cups and later recycle them.
Ricardo Barros

A TRADITION OF REUNIONS SERVICE: The classes of 1981 and 1986 teamed up with Princeton’s YWCA for their community-service project. Volunteers chose among sprucing up the outdoor classroom and seating area, assembling new outdoor tables and seating, or helping to restore the kitchen and dining areas of the YWCA’s education center, called Bramwell House.
Ricardo Barros

FAREWELL, ANN: Alumni took time out during Reunions to toast a Woodrow Wilson School legend: Ann Corwin, the school’s director of graduate career services and alumni relations, who retired after mentoring many hundreds of students over 42 years. “You’ve had a singular role in shaping the next generation of public servants in this country,” APGA president Justin Mikolay *03 said at the party.
Frank Wojciechowski