Class of '71 Warmly Welcomes '21 to Campus and Launches Mentoring Program
By Howard Zien '71
Opening Exercises at the University Chapel, the Class of 2021 marched together
for the first time in history through East Pyne, past Joseph Henry
House and in through FitzRandolph Gate in front of Nassau Hall, en route to the
steps below Blair Arch. Led by the University President and many faculty
members, and heralded by the University Band, assorted drummers and the banners
of each of the residential colleges, this was a fitting place to introduce the
Class of 1971 as the "Mentor Class" to the matriculating students. These same
students will next march out through FitzRandolph Gates as a Class following
their Commencement in June 2021, just a few days after we finish celebrating
the Class of 1971's 50th Reunion.
of the 71-21 mentoring relationship is embodied on a new class banner and logo
(shown above), websites and, of course, the custom designed gifts our
Classmates presented to each member of the Class of '21 that were produced and distributed as an expression of welcome. The water bottles with the new logo -- both useful and designed to carry a key component of life -- form an enduring brand for our Class relationship and set an
exceptionally high bar for future mentor classes to meet.
in particular has the numbers 225 and 275 as subtitles. They represent the intervening years
between graduation of 1971 and that of 2021 since the Princeton's founding in 1746.
virtually all Class of 71 events, there is the glamorous side and the back office
The outlines of the celebration were authorized by the Executive Committee
last Spring under the supervision of Vice President Gary Walsh, then the
insulated metal bottles were designed and ordered over the summer by Jack
Hittson and Stu Rickerson. Amy Hepler did
a phenomenal job of designing the 71-21 "brand" and logo. Then the bottles were manufactured and
shipped to John Winant's home (and
vineyard) in Princeton. There were 28
boxes, approximately 50 pounds and 50 bottles
each . The boxes were 30 inches
by 28 inches wide and a water bottle in height.
Several of us convoyed to John's house to pick up the boxes. We then returned to the University to convey
the bottles from the old U-Store parking lot on University Place to the area
beneath Blair Steps where the bottles would be distributed.
not go back 225 years to find where the Pre-Rade tradition began. It began only 7 years ago. As each year passes, the tradition of the Pre-Rade
becomes a more indelible part of Princeton. This is now the third time our Class
has passed through the FitzRandolph Gate, and we thought it would be the final
time when we led our 25th Reunion P-Rade in 1996. Now, carrying our
traditional P-Rade Class Banner and auxiliary banners, some of us marched
through the Gates once more.
Opening Exercises begins
in the Chapel with the welcoming address from President Eisgruber. At the conclusion of the service,
the students march in unison to Nassau Street, walk along the sidewalk to and
through FitzRandolph Gate. They are joined by the school administration and faculty accompanied by music from the Princeton Marching Band. Just before
entrance to the Campus, the students are joined by the mentoring classes of 1971,
1996 and 2016. It is here that our Class involvement in
the Pre-Rade officially began. The 11 attending Classmates and their guests proudly marched with our Class banner,
71-21 banner and our reunion banners to the unexpected cheers of more than a
thousand onlookers. In attendance to welcome the Class of 2021 were Chris and Dixie Beuhler, Paul Fitzgerald, Jack and Ronnie Hittson, Podie Lynch, Ray Ollwerther, Stu Rickerson (who has added P21 to his Princeton affiliations in recognition of daughter Lucy, an incoming freshman), John Winant, Howard and Marj Zien.
behind us were the students. All of us
made our way in the direction of Blair Arch and Steps, the destination of the
P-Rade. On the way, the University had
prepared a bar-b-que lunch for the students (and those of us who wanted to
observation for me was how impactful the residential colleges have become at
Princeton. Each residential college had
distributed to their respective students a colorful T-shirt signifying their
allegiance. The shirts were vivid in
color and design: bright red (Forbes), powder blue (Butler), blue (Whitman), maroon (Mathey), green (Rockefeller). It created the impression of belonging to an
entity within the University. Swarms of
students wearing their vivid colored shirts looked like schools of tropical
fish moving about in groups. Can you
imagine if we were issued T-shirts signifying Dodd or Brown or Witherspoon?
the students descended Blair Steps where they were give black T-shirts with an
ingenious orange design signifying their involvement in the greater whole,
Princeton. With their, by now, uniform
look, the students took on the air of a new and better class of Princetonians.
At this point
the students, all 1,350 of them, found a location on Blair Steps. Truthfully, there was not enough room for all
of them on the steps. I think the
University will have to build yet another structure with more "step" capacity
to handle the growing classes.
20 minutes, there was singing and cheering, all spirited and surprisingly
well-organized and structured. Then, Tom Meeker, a member of the Class of '56 taught all in attendance the
Princeton "Locomotive" cheer. Curiously,
even 46 years later I personally cannot not seem to get my sis's, rah's, ah's,
and tiger's down right. The Class of '21 got it right their first time
out after Tom had given a few amusing hints on how to remember the order.
Next, our Class
President Podie Lynch officially welcomed the Class of '21, explained briefly
what we hope the Mentor Class relationship would mean for them, and invited
them to receive their gift of a water bottle.
Moments later, the students
swarmed from the steps to enthusiastically and yet remarkably politely and
orderly receive their gift. Fortunately,
we had members of both the Women's and Men's Rugby Team volunteers to help us
distribute the bottles and handle the crowds.
And the water
bottles were great. Twist off cap so they won't come open accidentally. Insulated so hot and cold drinks maintain
their entropy. Large opening so ice
cubes can be inserted as desired. And adorned with the beautiful 71-21 double
reason we know that bottles were great is that some students came by later because they had missed the original
distribution. I'm thinking they skipped
the step sing thinking it was (ahem) not a college level or Ivy League caliber
activity. But when their first year
friends returned to the dorm and showed them the cool bottles, they ran down to
our distribution point to get theirs.
crowd of students moved on, most of the bottles were distributed. We had some 200 or so left over and, with
student's help, conveyed them to storage.
Your Class attendees
then retreated to Peacock Inn for rest, suitable refreshments, dinner and
shared memories. Many of the rugby
players decided to join us and told stories on what it is like at Princeton
today, which we compared with our own, different and yet surprisingly similar
experiences that started just 50 years earlier in September 1967.
and the P-Rade happen every
year. But this is Pre-Rade. It is the Class
of 71's first and last that features
and honors our Class alongside the new freshman. I know everyone of us was grateful to have
See the rest of the photos from the Pre-Rade in the Photo Gallery.
[Note: Further information about the 71-21 mentoring program will be forthcoming. If you would like to join in to help plan ways the Class can connect with and support '21, please contact Class Vice President Gary Walsh (vicepresident@Princeton71.org).]