A PRINCETON '52 CELEBRATION
50 Years: September 1948-September 1998
Prospect House, September 18, 1998
Good evening. I'm Roger McLean, President of the Class of '52.
Welcome to our Celebration Dinner. Would you believe, it's been 50 years since the Class of '52 first arrived on this campus!
A Princeton education and 50 years have, we hope, made us not only older, but also wiser, than we were 50 years ago as freshmen. In a modest attempt to restore our youthful outlook, the Class of'52 is embarking on a program - the '02-'52 Program - to become mentors for today's Princeton freshmen. You'll be hearing more about this as the year progresses.
Tonight, we are grateful to have so many of our own mentors with us to share in our Celebration!
I want to thank our 50th Reunion Committee, especially Bill and Mary Murdoch, for coming up with this idea. (I think Johnny McShane was the first to suggest celebrating the September of 1948 50 years later.) Bill and Mary (our dynamic duo) have been working overtime for months to make sure we touch all the bases and invite all the right people. They have had substantial assistance from Henry Tatnall (who's in the hospital and feels badly about missing the dinner) and Bruce and Barbara Coe and Joe Bolster. We thank them all.
But before we get underway, we would like to make a special presentation to our great Lady Tiger, Mary Murdoch. Her contributions to our Class are gigantic and unique. We have found something both gigantic and unique imported from Italy, crafted by four Italian artisans. We hope she will find a home for it at Four Orchard Circle here in Princeton.
Thank you for everything, Mary.
And now, I'd like to turn the evening over to the other member of the dynamic duo, our former Class President, Bill Murdoch.
50 years ago to the day we assembled in Alexander Hall, for the first time, to learn what was expected of us. Late that night, the clapper was removed from Nassau Hall for the second time in a week, and President Dodds knew he had his hands full. In the following weeks, the sophomores understood that we were not all going to carry on the tradition of wearing that small black cap [as recalled by a '52 classmate, the right not to wear the dink was won by defeating the sophomores at the Cane Spree on a muddy field], and by Thanksgiving, Admissions Dean Heermance must have been looking back at his notes. But, thanks to an outstanding group of administrators, instructors, professors, and coaches, it all worked out.
We are delighted that 19 of that group are our honored guests this evening.
So we can all identify and locate each of you, and your wives, I would like you to stand as I read your names and remain standing until I have finished. Then we can express our appreciation for your being with us with applause.....
Seymour and Harriet Bogdonoff
Edward and Betty Donovan
Charles and Emily Gillispie
Robert and Margaret Goheen
David and Marianne Hazen
William and Jane Jacobs
Edmund and Willard King
Marion and Joy Levy
Howard Menand, Jr. and Molly Jacobs, his daughter
Courtland and Nancy Perkins
Ernest and Myradean Ransome
George and Virginia Reynolds
Franklyn Van Houten
....... Thank you for joining us.
We also have two Honorary Classmates with us this evening:
-- Professor Caryl Emerson - She is accompanied by her husband, Professor Ivan Zaknic. And,
-- Lacrosse Coach Bill Tierney, who is accompanied by his wife, Helen.
As many of you know, our classmate Sam Gwynne died in July. This evening had been on his schedule, and he is missed very much by his classmates. I am pleased that his wife, Nancy, and his daughter, Debby Cramton, are with us this evening.
Over the years, we have found that some classmates are better than others at certain things. For example, Tom Daubert leads us in a Tiger Locomotive Cheer. He is not with us tonight, so we won't do that. But Ed Tiryakian is here, and we usually look to him when we find ourselves in academic or intellectual situations, which this seems to be. Therefore, we are alerting you that, following our main course, Ed will invite those of you who are so inclined to make a few comments.
We have decided that we should set some rules:
First, we are aware that our honored guests have been trained to speak for 50 minutes. After checking the mathematics on this, we have concluded that we must ask that all reports be limited to two or three minutes.
Second, comments on any subject are allowed, and, of course, you have the right to remain silent.
Third, we will give priority to our guests, since we have already heard enough from classmates. But if our guests do not use the allotted time we will give members of '52 a chance to say something.
So, that is our invitation for later in the evening.
At this time, I will ask classmate Mac Fish to say a blessing.
This blessing or grace or prayer is rooted in the ancient Old Testament - the year of the Jubilee. In Hebrew tradition, the 50th year, the year following seven sabbatical cycles, was the Jubilee - a period of perfect rest, no necessary work, slaves were freed, and debts were forgiven. In a sense it proclaimed with the blast of a ram's horn a starting over again. So here we are - everything is new. Let us pray:
50 years ago - a whole Lifetime - we arrived here - full of anticipation and a little trembling. We were still children (much more so than the Class of 2002 are now); the world around us seemed stable, and we were marked to find our place within that stability. It wasn't, of course, but we didn't know. Palmer Stadium seemed forever and so did we.
50 years - the Jubilee Year - gives a different perspective. But, and this is the miracle, we are all beginners with dreams and passions and raw potential for the NOT YET. So much yet to do - but without the external need. We have a different invitation now. Softer, less intense, unhurried. We have nothing to prove-and that's a thoroughgoing gift.
A deeper gift - now in the Jubilee - is the presence tonight of those professors and administrators whose paradoxical role was to care for us AND to cajole us into the life of the mind. They were young and exciting and more important to our lives than either they or we can imagine. Their influence flows through us into our children and grandchildren. Thanksgiving is too timid a word for who you have meant and do mean to us.
We know what is asked of us: To act justly
To love tenderly
And to walk humbly with our God.
Bless this gathering for what was and what is and what will be!
Can I have your attention? In order to continue our program, I think we should move ahead. Those of you haven't quite finished, please keep eating. We will bring in dessert as we continue. We have promised our guests that we are going to give them a chance to say something, and Ed Tiryakian is ready to go. So I would like Professor Ed Tiryakian to come up at this time to see if we can learn more. He is going to have the assistance of Bruce Coe. Bruce, our vice president, is an expert on microphones. He is going to have one. So if you care to say something, he is going to bring the microphone right to you. So, with that, Ed, would you please come forward?
Academics cannot resist a captive audience, and I have a 50-minute lecture, which I have been looking for a place to give. . . Okay, I can understand the audience reaction. So, okay, forget that lecture for this time.
The ground rules are that I hope the spirit of the occasion will enthuse our distinguished guests as much as they have enthused us. I think this is a very magic moment for all members of the Class of '52. It's a magic moment because I think in many ways, believe it or not, the half-century has just melted into five minutes or five hours that we have been together. For me it is a magic moment because, in part, I had the good fortune of, after finishing graduate studies, to come back to Princeton as a faculty member in 1956, and I have had the pleasure of getting to know several people at this table as faculty members. 1956, if I may put this into the hopper, was a very exciting and interesting year for Princeton because, in part, our President Dodds announced that he was stepping down. So there was a search for a new president, and that is always a source of great excitement. I thought, this evening, that the person who did become President of Princeton University might care to lead off. I wonder whether or not you'd like to suggest, in one or two minutes, what advice you, as president, would give to another president,... of the United States or some other .......
Thank you ever so much. It's really a tremendous thing for all of us who were here as members of the faculty and administration as you came in as freshmen to be brought back together tonight. It's been so great for me to see old friends. Many of them I haven't seen in a number of years, and here we all are back together because of you, and we appreciate enormously what you've done.
Another aspect of this is from one of your classmates who remarked earlier, "Do you realize the power of the faculty, what an impression they have made on all of us?" And I thought, my god! Most of the time we have wondered if we are making any difference at all! Here you are giving us a sense of confidence that in our older age we did do something useful along the way here at Princeton.
There is one important message I want to give you, and that is about keeping your priorities straight, unlike some of the things that have been happening lately in the national scene.
There were these two priests who loved to smoke, and it bothered their consciences when it was decided that smoking was not necessarily a good or even a proper thing, and they agreed to consult with their bishops on what they should do about this. And they parted and went away. After a month or two they met, and one was quite gaunt and haggard, and the other was fat, and he said to the first priest, "Well, what did you ask your bishop?" And he said, "I asked the bishop if I could smoke while I prayed. And the bishop said, "No, that's a terrible thing." He said, "What did you ask the bishop?" And he said, "I asked if I could pray while I smoked. And the bishop said that was fine." So that's how you keep your priorities straight, (much laughter and applause)
Great. When I came back to Princeton in '56,1 had the pleasure of living in the Ferris Thompson Housing Project with the faculty and one of the up-and-coming dynamic researchers in the field, biologist John Bonner. We got to be good friends, and John has had a very distinguished career in the field of biology. In case somebody may not know, his major field of research has been especially in slime molds. Since there is a lot of slime mold in Washington, I wonder, John, if you might tell us how to eradicate it. Where's John? (laughter and applause) There he is. He may have some other thoughts, I mean, to clean up the act, you know.
I can't do slime molds in two minutes. But let me just say that it's an absolute delight to be here. I am enjoying it enormously, seeing old friends and seeing students who I am not quite sure I remember.
I'm going to tell you one thing that's terribly inappropriate and has nothing to do with the occasion. In my years as chairman of the Biology Department, we were sent by some alumnus a jar which arrived in the chairman's office and turned out to contain a fetal tiger. So in a huge jar of alcohol there was this really quite beautiful fetus, all with stripes and everything. And the question is what do we do with it. It's not the sort of biology we did. And so we sat around for quite some time, and I worried about this a great deal, and finally, with inspiration, I called up the admissions office. I said, "You ought to have this to put in your lobby." And I am sorry to say that they didn't think that was either funny or the right thing to do.
But, again, let me thank you for inviting me. (laughter; applause)
Great. Obviously, the ice has been broken. In a few minutes, I will make some remarks for one person in particular. But, I would like to invite anybody ... any of the faculty .... who has a thought: past, present, or future .... Keep in mind the fact that we're coming back ... the very rejuvenated Class of '52 and that we're looking forward to having classes begin ... the fall term class begins with class exercises September 20, Monday, at 7:40 a.m.
Now, I want you to look at your calendar because some of you may think that Monday is September 21st, right? But this is the 1948 calendar which Howard Stepp legated on and so on and so forth. So, September 20, 1948, we're back in that weekend just before classes. We're eager to know what we should know about your fields of interest that we can take into the classroom come Monday. Whether or not you want to address your one or two minutes to that or something else, we just invite the spirit that moves you into whatever as we go from one table to another. Who might have an interest in just bringing some comments to this occasion?
It's good to have the most distinguished historian of science in the United States tell us what is in the stars for our class and others.
Well, thank you. That bit of distinction has nothing to do with the case. We are all grateful to be invited. Like you, I really don't believe that 50 years have passed since you people turned up as freshmen. There it is.
This evening does bring home to me something very special. I am not, myself, a graduate of this institution. I have, therefore, spent the last 50 years regarding the tribal rites of this institution in a spirit of admiration tempered by amazement, (laughter) This evening is certainly a cardinal example. Not being an old tiger, I have had to ask myself what, indeed, I am, and I thought some time ago my role really is that of a keeper or perhaps a trainer here in our beloved zoo of higher learning (laughter).
I have only two things to say. First, I should say, you have really taken a terrible chance here. You know, we people are all programmed to talk for 50 minutes if you give us .. (laughter). We'll manage somehow I suppose.
However, one thing I might say. People do ask me nowadays, and have for some time: How has Princeton changed in the time that you have been here? Well, it has changed in certain respects, clearly. We have girls now. That is the best thing that has happened since 1746. (laughter; applause) No question about it. We owe that, in large part, to Bob and his leadership at that time.
In another respect, however, I am expected to say something that I can't say because it appears, really, that Princeton has stayed the same more than it has changed. That is, my sense is that this institution still somehow involves students personally in the intellectual experience of their education in a way that no other institution in this country has ever succeeded in doing. How that has come about, I don't know, but I think it is extraordinary, (applause)
Hearing Bob Goheen, I'm inspired to think that the second motto of Princeton ... the first motto we all know: Dei Subnumine Viget. The second motto of Princeton: Mens Sano In Corpore Sana, that we've combined ... we've been very fortunate in our class to have a great number of athlete/scholars. So it might be appropriate if Ed Donovan would say if there are any Sammy Sosas or Mark McGuires lurking in the undergraduate body. Is Ed Donovan willing to come up and tell us a few things about the In Corpore Sana aspects of Princeton? (applause)
Well, this is my 55th year as some sort of a coach at Princeton. (applause) I came here in '43 and, of course, the football program was way down. Harry Mahnken had two years of football at that time as head coach.
Charlie Caldwell came in 1945. Well, Charlie's first year was 2, 3, and 2. In 1946, Charlie was 5 and 3. But, during 1946, what helped Charlie tremendously was the game when we upset the number two Penn team. Just to go on with Charlie for a second: he was 5 and 3 in 1948, but he beat Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth. In 1950 and 1951, he was 9 and 0. In 1952, he was 8 and 1. The only loss that year was to Penn. But, any way, Charlie went on until 1956, and, of course, Charlie had this terrible disease and died. Dick Coleman took over, and I helped him for nine or ten years. Then Dick left, and Jake McCandless came for three years. So I had all that time in football.
Let me explain today. Coach of football-one sport; assistant football coaches-one sport. When I came here, I was assistant in three sports and Phys. Ed. three days a week, (laughter) But it didn't hurt me anyway. But after that when we had this big rush of new men coming in, I got out of football and was appointed baseball coach in '51. I was assistant baseball coach for eight years, and I was head coach of baseball for 23 years. But, anyway, there was only one other sport, and that was basketball. In fact, I was head coach for two games in the war years because the coach was sick. But I was an assistant through Cappy Capon, Butch van BredaKolff, and two years with Pete Carrill. Besides that, I know I had a lot of you fellows trying out for Phys. Ed. in basketball, tennis, squash, or something else.
I enjoyed my wonderful years at Princeton. Thank you very much, (applause)
Everybody knows that Princeton University has rich, historical ties with Scotland. Maybe not everybody here knows that Scotland next year will, for the first time in centuries, have its own Scottish parliament. We are very fortunate that one of the distinguished historians of Scottish history is in our midst, and so, Maurice Lee, I don't know at what table you are, but I saw you earlier. How about coming up? (applause)
I feel that I am here under false pretenses because in 1948 I was not really a member of the faculty. I was what you might call a "T A" these days, toiling away for Jinx Harbison, Gordon Craig, Buzzer Hall, and other of those great men whom you all know and who are very dear to us all. (applause)
And I am among the few people, Ed is perhaps the only other in the room, who did not make his career here. I left after a while because Jinx, my mentor, was here after all, and I knew I would have to move on. I should point out that I have spent 30 years up the road at that institution that wears red and black, where the lectures are 80 minutes long rather than 50, so I can speak for a 1-o-n-g time, but I'm not going to do that.
What I really asked for the microphone for was not to talk about myself but to bring you all greetings from one of those who was invited to this dinner and who is not well but who wishes he were here and that is my very good friend Jim Smith, professor of philosophy, whom I am sure many of you know. He, as I say, is not very well just now, but I saw him this afternoon, and he is feeling pretty good. He sends you all his greetings and wishes he were here. He and I thank the Class of 1952 for this splendid occasion, (applause)
Thank you very much, Maurice. You evoke the name of Gordon Craig. I can't help but share with you the fact that this past year I was I was on sabbatical in a research center by Stanford University and I had the pleasure of inviting for lunch Gordon Alexander Craig. I had not seen him in a great number of years, and I can happily say that he is well and very active. He publishes very frequently in the New York Review of Books and looks exceedingly like Bismarck, (laughter) It is really amazing how he has incorporated, those of you may have taken Modern History with Gordon Alexander Craig knew he was, and is, one of the great figures in diplomatic history with special emphasis on Germany. I mean, he has really internalized Bismarck so much, you know, and is very vigorous, and so on and so forth. So, from the West Coast, I am sure his spirit is here also.
I would now just invite any guest who wants to make a very brief statement to just raise your hand, and we'll have our roving microphone come invoke you.
For those of you who don't know who I am, I am Ernie Ransome. (applause) I graduated in 1947 and came back to Princeton in 1948 as assistant to the dean of the college, Mr. Godolphin, and Dean Finch, and the President was Mr. Goheen. I coached Lacrosse and freshman football. I will tell you two stories.
One is, our Lacrosse team did pretty well, but we never, ever would have done as well as this gentleman right here, Bill Tierney, has done. It was just absolutely fantastic, (applause)
My one claim to fame was concerning two of the great members of this class, John McGillicuddy and Dick Kazmaier. I was the freshman backfield coach, and Dick Kazmaier was number four in the depth chart, and I almost cut him off the team. That was the last year I ever coached football, (laughter) And Dick Kazmaier and John McGillicuddy became great, great friends. How they met each other was, when I was assistant to the dean, my responsibility was to call people in for cutting classes and not going to chapel. Those two gentlemen sat outside my office one day and introduced themselves, and they have been great friends ever since, (laughter) That was my contribution to Princeton. Thank you. (laughter; applause)
You know, a lot of changes have happened in universities since we graduated. And on a little more serious note for just a couple of seconds, one of the things which I think has happened as I have observed it ... I have been at Duke since 1965, and I think it's not atypical of Duke... is that the relationship between the student body and the administration on the one hand and between the faculty and the administration on the other hand at many places has become very strained.
There has been, I think, more distancing, more lack of, in some ways, rapport. Whereas I think in our days, and I would say my days here on the faculty in the middle fifties, there existed a much greater kind of interaction and closeness between administration and students and between faculty and administration. I think one of the fine, wonderful things about Princeton that I can remember, maybe when you think about it we can remember, too, is the administration's rapport with the student body.
I think that we are very fortunate that Jerry Finch is here. He has had a lot of administrative experience and represents the kind of administrator that we could all relate to, so I would invite Jerry Finch, if he would feel like it, to come up and just say a couple of words. Isn't he here?
(He left.) Okay. Well, I'm sorry for that, but I would say that he is the sort of person that did crystallize linkage between the students and the administration. So, anybody else now? Who would like to come up? . . . Professor George Reynolds.
I just want to make three remarks:
One, I feel very privileged and honored to have been invited here tonight. I want to thank the Class of '52 for this good opportunity. It is a great pleasure for all of us faculty.
There is the problem, though, that I've become very loyal to Princeton since coming here to teach in 1946, so I have to tell you a blow I struck for Princeton. I was in a multi-disciplinary meeting, and someone asked, "Where are you from?" and I said, "Princeton." Well, I didn't care where he was from (laughter), but I had to ask. And he said, "You probably never heard of the place." I said, "Well, try me. I've heard of a lot of places." He said, "Well, it's Yale." I said, "Well, I know Yale for two reasons: one, I know it's north of Princeton, and the other is just last year one of our faculty left Princeton and went to Yale, and in that single move raised the average of both faculties." (much laughter; applause)
One last point: You have made us as faculty members feel very important. Now you may have thought when you were students we called them important enough, and I think it's wise to bring faculty down from their perch frequently. I am very glad tonight that I haven't recognized any physics majors here, which happened to be my field, which relieves me of a certain strain. There was a well known physics professor who claimed he remembered every student he ever had. And he actually was a Princeton professor. He got to be boring, so at one meeting of an alumni group, the group thought, well, we'll just test this fellow and see if he does remember everybody he ever had. So they brought up a member of the Class of '52 and said, "Do you know this fellow?" The professor said, "Yes, I know you. You took Physics 101 in 1949 or 8, and you didn't do very well because you sat too far up in the back. And, also, you had a bad mid-term. So, for a final grade in 101, you didn't do very well. You got a 3-. But the second semester you did better. You moved down to the first row, you got your assignments in on time, and you ended up with a 2+." And this Class of '52 fellow said, "Well, my gosh, that's amazing. Who the hell are you?" (much laughter; applause)
That's great. This might really be the time to end these little testimonials. I just want to wrap things up a little bit by touching on Professor Reynolds' last remark about a 2+ and Mac Fish's statements about the Jubilee because something which has been inside me for something like 45 years is that I majored in Sociology, and the only 2+ I got was by Professor Marion Levy. I have never forgiven him until tonight. I brought my course notebook with me. (laughter) I sent him a copy of my paper and asked for a re-grading, you know, so ... (laughter) If Washington can say "I'm sorry," you know, (laughter) but I do forgive you.... I do forgive you, Marion, (applause)
Professor Levy, did you have something to say about that report? Are we going to revise that grade or leave it?
A 2+ was a very high grade for me. (laughter; applause)
Ed and Bruce, thank you for conducting the educational part of the program. I am sure we have all learned a lot, and thank you, our guests, for participating. The evening is not over. We haven't had dessert, so we'll proceed with that, but the microphone is still on, and I think we'll be glad to have .... Here's someone who will speak: Hal Saunders, '52. The mike please, Bruce.
I move tonight to tell a Bob Goheen story, which I have never told to anybody except my wife.
When we were seniors and I was looking toward Graduate School from the English Department, I was interviewed for the possibility of receiving a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Graduate School. I was interviewed by Bob Goheen. He very wisely decided that I was not a mature enough scholar to deserve such an honor, and I understood that, and I think still today that he was right. But the irony of this is that in 1977 Bob Goheen became the United States Ambassador to India under President Jimmy Carter. And the way bureaucracy in Washington works, the performance reports on ambassadors are written by Assistant Secretaries of State, (laughter) Bob Goheen, of course, as the Ambassador to India in my part of the world, reported to the president through me, ostensibly. But I must say that it was a great pleasure to write a very high performance report on the Ambassador to India, and I have never held it against him for his absolutely correct judgment that in 1952 I was not a mature scholar worthy of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. (much laughter; applause)
Thank you very much, Hal. Now Hal did open it up, so if there are any other members of the Class '52 who might want to say something within the two-minute limit..... Here we have another candidate: Cliff Barr.
Do you remember Frank Notestein? I took a course with Frank Notestein, and, maybe 10-12-13 years later, I am now sitting in an office in New York City in real estate development. I was with a company called Uris Building Corporation, and the office of Population Council was looking for office space in New York. Frank left the university and was heading the office of Population Council. The broker brought him into my office. We talked preliminarily and so forth, and I reminded him that I took a course with him. We did sort of landlord/broker kind of conversation, and then we had another meeting. There were lots of people in that room, distinguished people and so forth.
I started the meeting. I was anxious to have them as a tenant; they were a very prestigious tenant. The meeting started off by Professor Notestein opening a book and saying, "Well, you seemed to do quite well. You did quite well at midterms, but I don't know quite what happened. You did very badly on the final, and you got a very low grade." (laughter) We did get them as a tenant. Ed was complaining about a 2+. I would have been delighted with a 2+. (laughter; applause)
Thank you, Cliff. Any other comments? If not, we will proceed to dessert.
I think we can conclude the formal part of the evening. I would like to thank '52 and, principally, to thank our guests for coming and for participating ... and thanks John McShane for thinking of this idea. It's been a great one. Let's do it again. I can't remember how we concluded our first meeting 50 years ago, but tonight we are going to sing "Old Nassau". We'll do that with the help, as usual, of Stokes Carrigan. So, Stokes, would you care to take the mike?
February 2, 1999