Alumni Day highlights

Big day for ’64

On Alumni Day Feb. 20, former Rep. James Leach ’64 received the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor conferred on Princeton undergraduate alumni. But Leach wasn’t the only ’64 honoree: James Madison Medalist Gen. David Petraeus *85 *87 noted that he is an honorary member of the class. He was inducted at Reunions last May, the morning before he delivered the Baccalaureate address for the Class of 2009. Petraeus even brought his orange-and-black plaid ’64 blazer back to campus — though he confessed he had not yet found an occasion to wear it.

Heard on campus

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(Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications)

“The truth is that the surge of ideas was even more important than the surge of forces, though clearly, the increase in forces enabled us to implement the new ideas.”

– Gen. David Petraeus *85 *87, commander of U.S. Central Command, explaining the importance of “big ideas” in the success of the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq.

 

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(Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications)

“If 400,000 American soldiers sacrificed their lives to defeat fascism, if tens of thousands gave their lives to hold communists at bay, and if we fought a Civil War to preserve the union, isn’t it a citizen’s obligation to apply perspective to incendiary remarks that once summoned citizens to war? … Asserting that someone who prefers another approach or is a member of a different political party is an advocate of an -ism of hate that encompasses Gulags and concentration camps is out of bounds.”

– James Leach ’64, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, on hyperbolic political rhetoric that includes labeling opponents “fascist” or “communist” and raising the threat of secession.

Princeton numerology

At the Alumni Day luncheon, the Class of 1984 accepted the Class of 1926 Trophy for leading the way in last year’s Annual Giving campaign. In celebration of its 25th reunion, the class raised $5,848,484. The same sort of numerology was on display in the afternoon when the Class of 1976 awarded the prizes in its inaugural Green Business Plan competition: First prize, $10,076; second prize, $4,076; and third prize, $1,076.

Remembering Goheen

Before delivering his Wilson Award lecture, Leach recalled one of his first experiences at Princeton, a reception for freshmen held at the home of President Robert Goheen ’40 *48. Goheen welcomed each young man individually, offering personalized words of encouragement with every handshake. When Leach reached the front of the line, Goheen said, “Jim, pleased to meet you. I hope you continue with your math and your wrestling.”

Leach’s father, duly impressed, told his son that the Princeton president was “the greatest man in the United States of America.”

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