Class Welcomes Back In-person Reunions with a Record-setting, Award-winning Weekend!
By Jeff Hammond '71, Reunions Chair
Where do you start to describe 1971’s 50th/51st combined Reunion? Perhaps Mibs Southerland of the Alumni Engagement office framed it best: “We were so impressed with the Class of 1971’s turnout. Kudos …for pulling off what I expect was the largest 51st reunion in history!” Classmates and guests numbering 190 enjoyed three days of merriment, food and drink (with two, not just one, class dinners), three alumni panels with 1971 talent, music and of course, the P-rade. If you hadn’t checked the date, you’d have thought this was a major reunion year.
Many thanks to all the planners and participants, and especially to the classmates who attended and made our post-pandemic reunion special. From our opening BBQ on Thursday evening, at which we were pumped up by the Princeton marching band, to our class dinner at the Boathouse on Friday night where we were greeted by President Eisgruber '83 and entertained by the Tigerlilies, (and which even a deluge couldn’t dampen), to the post-P-rade reception and Class dinner at Prospect on Saturday, we re-connected in Princeton fashion. We weathered sweltering heat for the P-rade, our class led spritely by the West Windsor-Plainsboro HS marching band, and did you notice that President Eisgruber was wearing our 50th Reunion flower shirt at the reviewing stand? This was a Princeton Reunions as it was supposed to be.
Despite the short time frame to plan (the University only approved an in-person Reunions late in 2021), a dedicated group of volunteers deserves thanks. I was able to lean on Jack and Ronnie Hittson’s experience (and Jack’s spreadsheets), Stu Rickerson’s blue-sky creative thinking (and financial help from Save the Wildlife Fund) and Geoff Smith’s event planning savvy. Jaime Pitney as president and Howard Zien as class treasurer kept us grounded. And, perhaps most of all, our class IT guru Alan Usas buffed up our website and communications, and somehow made it all come off with nary a glitch. This was no mean feat at the University mandated use of a new, untested registration system that Alan ended up troubleshooting for the University.
Our Reunions was made even more special by the announcement that the Class had won the Clancy Award, recognizing our Virtual 50th Reunion and the year of events during 2021 as best run and executed of the major reunions that year. Read more about this coveted award in the article here.
It may sound trite, but some things do take a village. Recognition should go to our accomplished classmates who presented at our three class-sponsored panels. Kathy Molony, Terry Pflaumer and Mark Mazo analyzed world events and peered into their crystal balls, Jay Paris showcased one of his award-winning documentary films and kicked off our diversity and inclusion efforts, and Linda Carroll regaled us with tales of her art world sleuthing. Each forum was SRO and attended by alums from multiple other classes, reinforcing the academic aspect of Reunions. Stu Sovatsky delved into spiritual matters in a small group session after Saturday dinner. We had entertainers aplenty as well: Peter Robinson and Paul Mickey provided music at the Friday dinner and Porter Shimer at the Saturday reception. Henry Barkhorn’s wonderful slide presentation was updated from the October retreat and replayed Saturday.
Special shout out to Kathryn Kennedy ’23 and Eric Love ’23, our stellar student crew. Both are aerospace engineering majors, and they used their calculations to help make everything appear seamless. They never got flustered or stressed, and covered a lot of ground. By comparison our small crew managed the equivalent of a major reunion, which is normally staffed by 14-18 student crew. Finally, welcome to our new honorary classmate, Bob Belsky h71. The manager of Tiger Inn, Bob has been a steady friend to 1971, expediting our post-homecoming football receptions at TI and being instrumental in the success of our October retreat. See the full story here.
Reunions made our fabulous 50th Reunion Yearbook (thank you again Chris Connell and Ray Ollwerther) come alive. While it may be a cliché, we not only picked up on conversations we left years ago but also met new friends we should have made long ago. Our masterwork of a Yearbook facilitated that.
Some tough decision had to be made, and some of you needed to cancel late due to positive Covid tests. We missed you, but thank you for making the sacrifice of not coming and keeping us all the more safe.
Now, on to new gatherings and our 52nd Reunion in 2023. Between now and next May, we’ll have regional Class gatherings (watch for these on the class website and via email) and a continuation of our remote panels and presentations featuring 1971 thought leaders. Bottom line: our chance to connect will not be just a one-a-year, May event. To that end, we’ll be sending out a survey soon asking what you would like to see, hear and do. Until then, keep up the ’71 spirit and remain Forever Wild.
In addition to those mentioned above, these classmates checked in for the 51st Reunion: Rich Allman, John Arigoni, Bill Armiger, Jay Bagdis, Dave Ball, Mac Barnes, Douglas Beck, Skip Beck, Jim Beha, Oz Bengur, Linda Blackburn, Jim Bright, Chuck Brodbeck, Chris Buechler, Charles Bushong, Frank Caine, David Chamberlain, Ed Chambliss, Skip Collins, Tom Connell, Charlie Crane, Barbara Croken, Allan Curlee, Mark Dare, Paul Deibel, Roberto Del Vento, Richard DiFedele, Stephen Dreyfuss, John Drummond, Rob Eichner, Bill Engel, Paul Flowerman, Bob Good, Patricia Hess, Susan Hill, Karl E Hofammann, Rich Hollingsworth, Hank Holoszyc, Pete Johnsen, John Kayser, Lex Kelso, Don Kirkpatrick, Mike Kozma, Bob Kuenzel, Mike Ladra, Fred Lepore, Art Lowenstein, William Lucas, Dave Lyon, R. Dennis Macaleer, Tom MacMillan, Rand Mathieson, Sandy McAdoo, Bill McCarter, Melissa McGinnis, Randy Meadows, Bill Metzger, John Miller, Phebe Miller, Michael Mims, Mark Moorstein, Luther Munford, Richard Neill, Brad O'Brien, Gary Oleson, Raymond Palmer, Duncan Payne, Jon Perel, Doug Pike, Michael Potter, Thomas Potts, Scott Rogers, Gowen Roper, Dick Salmon, Roger Saltman, David Schankler, Frederick Sell, Ron Senchesak, Thomas Shuler, Tom Sinclair, Bob Sinsheimer, Rob Slimmon, Rob Slocum, Ed Smith, Randolph Snow, Glenn Stover, Tom Stubbs, Tina Sung, Tom Sutula, Mark Swanson, Debbie Tegarden, Tim Tosta, Gerry Uehlinger, Jim Ungerleider, Allen Uyeda, Gary Walsh, Carla Wilson, and John Winant.
To view more photos and videos of the 51st Reunion, visit the Photo Gallery here.