For all you networkers out there, the Princeton University Reunions weekend is a pretty good place to be. First be warned: if you try to crash one of the alumni class tents while the music’s blaring and beer’s flowing, you have about as much chance as Michael Moore getting into the Bush White House.
But if you drop by the campus during the day this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday you are welcome to sit in at any of several dozen intriguing alumni and faculty panel discussions, with some pretty good subjects and some pretty high powered alumni (otherwise known as old farts) holding forth.
There’s a career building seminar with Erna Adelson, Class of 1979, the CIO of Sony eSolutions, Lisa Drakeman, a 1988 alumna of the graduate school, president & CEO of Genmab Inc. on Route 206 (and a speaker at the 2002 U.S. 1 Technology Showcase), and Liz Duffy ’88, headmaster of the Lawrenceville School and a Princeton trustee, as well. And there’s a business building seminar for entrepreneurs with a keynote by Jack Bogle ’51, founder of the Vanguard Funds.
Interested in “Keeping World Peace and the Role of the U.S. in the New World Order?” You can hear Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, discuss the subject with a panel that includes Platte B. Moring III ’79, staff judge advocate in the Army’s “Office of Military Cooperation” in Afghanistan, and Bob Schwarze ’84, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who is commander of the 68th Electronic Warfare Squadron.
Want to meet some people in the healthcare industry? Try the panel on “The U.S. Prescription for Global Health: with Michael Viola ’59, director of Medicine for Peace, Lincoln C. Chen ’64, director of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, Alexander Sanger ’69, chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, and William H. Frist ’74, majority leader of the United States Senate (and a surgeon in his former life).
That’s actually one of two panels Frist is on, and Frist is one of two U.S. senators holding forth over the weekend. You can also catch Paul S. Sarbanes ’54 of Maryland who will appear on a panel entitled “The Corporation: Where Have All the Ethics Gone?”
Princeton, a place some might dismiss as a bastion of lily-white males, offers a panel on “Perspectives of Asian American Alumni,” with participants Andrea Jung ’79, chairman, president, and CEO of Avon Products Inc., and Yeiichi “Kelly” Kuwayama ’40, described as a highly decorated and honored veteran of World War II and among the first Asian American undergraduates of Princeton. A university that has no journalism school, Princeton nevertheless offers a panel on “Recent Developments and Challenges in the Field of Journalism,” with a cast that includes our old friend John Stossel ’69, the 20/20 co-anchor and author of “Gimme a Break,” and Josh Hammer ’79, Middle East bureau chief for Newsweek magazine.
Then there’s one that caught my eye: Friday, May 28, at 9:15 a.m. at McCosh 10: “(Sub)urban and Urbane: Smart Growth and Planning.”
Now for those of us who have to deal with stupid growth every day — sitting in rush hour traffic enroute to 21st century office parks tucked on 19th century roads, for example — smart growth is a subject that makes the eyes glaze over. But the university has assembled some major light for this subject. J. Robert Hillier ’59, who oversees one of the largest architecture firms in the country from his office on Alexander Road, is the moderator. And the panel includes Bill Hudnut ’54, now a senior fellow of the Urban Land Institute but perhaps better known as the four-term mayor of Indianapolis, who came to city hall after a career as a minister; James G. Stockard Jr. ’64, curator of the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Design School; James L. Shea ’74, an attorney who is chairman of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore; Alan J. Plattus, professor of architecture and “urbanism” at the Yale University School of Architecture; and Richard K. Rein ’69, editor and publisher of U.S. 1.
Caught my eye? More like poking a sharp stick in the eye. I looked again: That was me all right, and then I recalled the conversation back in January, when my college classmate, Jim Floyd, cajoled me into appearing on an alumni reunions panel. After unsuccessfully nominating our classmate Stephanos Polyzoides, a noted architect in Los Angeles, for the panel, I finally acquiesced. Now I am on the spot for Friday, May 28. What will the editor of U.S. 1 newspaper (which some will argue has carved its niche out of a jumble of rampant development) say about smart growth?
I dunno. Maybe something about Washington Road at rush hour. Or Nassau Park on a shopping day before Christmas. Or maybe the minister mayor can offer a divine plan that will save us all. Look for me at Reunions. I’ll be wearing orange and black.