Since you asked for stories about Commons, I figured I could send a brief report on my life there (since I ate there every semester of my Princeton career). On the one hand, from a nutritional point of view, it was probably a disaster. I wasn’t much taken with the main courses, and the result was that I lived largely off dinner rolls and banana cream pie. I must have had an iron constitution to survive on that, although my parents had been generous enough to provide me with a charge card for use at the Nassau Inn for Sunday morning breakfasts.

On the other hand, when I talk to applicants to Princeton these days, I extol the virtues of the conversations that I had over the years with fellow Commons diners. There was no subject that fell outside the range of interests, from politics to theater and beyond. Over the subsequent decades I have always been disappointed by the conversations in undergraduate eating halls wherever I’ve been teaching. The subjects have been limited to social life and sports, even if the food has been better. If I’m ever asked why some of those institutions did not produce so many Rhodes scholars as Princeton, I say that the dinner table conversations at Commons were better preparation for the Rhodes interviews than what was on offer elsewhere.

Thomas Drucker ’75
Northfield, Minn.