Tents are popping up on grassy stretches and iconic signs with illuminated class years are being raised across campus — all in anticipation for a long weekend at the Best Place of All. After two years of online programming, Reunions is back in person, May 19-22.
More than 400 events have been planned by the major reunion and satellite classes, University departments, Athletics Friends groups, Alumni Engagement, and others, ensuring that there is something for all of the 25,000 alumni and guests expected on campus. Events — such as President Christopher L. Eisgruber’s alumni address, children’s activities, a cappella arch sings, class dinners, athletic contests, performances, lectures, panel discussions and the Alumni-Faculty Forums — begin at noon Thursday and run until Sunday afternoon.
Always the highlight of Reunions, the P-rade starts at 2 p.m. sharp on Saturday after the bell tolls at Nassau Hall and is expected to be led by the one and only Joe Schein ’37. Following Joe will be more than 100 members of the Old Guard, gentlemen celebrating their 66th reunion or more, including the Rev. Donald R. Fletcher ’39 *51. Prior to the P-rade, the Old Guard will attend their luncheon at which President Eisgruber will present the Class of 1923 Cane to the oldest alumnus in attendance.
Decked out in their new class blazers, the Great Class of 1997, celebrating its 25th reunion, will follow the Old Guard. Celebrating their “prime,” the class has selected “97 Prime Time: 25th Reunion Special” as its reunion theme. According to Anthony Fittizzi ’97, the class reunion chair, “We may be a little older and a little grayer, but we are not slowing down. We’re just hitting our prime time!”
Following the Class of 1997 in the P-rade will be the Classes of 1996 and 1995 who missed their landmark reunions due to the pandemic. The P-rade concludes with the Class of 2022 and the newest members of the Association of the Princeton Graduate Alumni being welcomed to the Alumni Association by Mary Newburn ’97, president of the Alumni Association, who will be on the reviewing stand on Poe Field, along with other dignitaries such as President Eisgruber; Weezie Sams ’79, chair of the Princeton University Board of Trustees; Alex Day ’02, deputy vice president for Alumni Engagement; among others. Gary M. King ’79, the P-rade narrator, will provide an overview of the class activities over the years.
Marching before the graduating class will be the Classes of 2019, 2020 and 2021, who will be attending their first Reunions. A special Commencement is planned for the Class of 2020 on Wednesday, May 18, with more than 80 percent of the class returning to campus for graduation activities that were not possible during the pandemic, including a class dinner and Step Sing.
A tradition for more than 40 years, the Alumni-Faculty Forums, featuring panelists from the major reunion classes, the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni, and University faculty, got a jumpstart before Reunions with a virtual New Technologies in the Arts panel discussion on May 12. Thirteen other panel discussions will take place on campus Friday and Saturday, featuring topics such as climate change, medicine, the state of journalism and civil rights.
After a two-year hiatus, the “Take It or Leave It Tent” is back and open for business at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Alumni are encouraged to leave their unwanted Princeton memorabilia in the tent (as large as can be carried), located at the South Lawn by East Pyne Hall, and take what they want. All unclaimed memorabilia will be removed by 9 p.m. Saturday.
Throughout the weekend there will be plenty of entertainment provided by the major reunion classes and performances by student groups such as the Triangle Club, Fuzzy Dice Improv Group, Theatre Intime and more. For night owls, visit the University’s many arches for a capella groups performing late into the evening or stop by the food trucks at the U-Store Courtyard.
And while much of Reunions will ring familiar, there are some changes. Registration is required this year for all Reunions participants — whether they are celebrating a major reunion or they are among the satellite classes. All attendees must attest either to being up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations or attest that you will wear a mask indoors at all times.
The University is also encouraging everyone to take a COVID-19 test before coming to campus (PCR within three days and an antigen test within eight hours). Parking and traffic on campus will also be challenging this year due to construction on campus. Alumni are encouraged to carpool and use public transportation and shuttle buses from area hotels to travel to campus. Rover, the student-driven golf cart service, and campus shuttles will be available to transport alumni around campus. And, in an effort to minimize congestion, the Class of 2017 is organizing charter buses from Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., that will depart Thursday evening and return Sunday morning.
For the latest information about Reunions, visit reunions.princeton.edu and download the Reunions Events app on the iOS App Store or Google Play after May 18.