When Adam Sorensen ’01 began researching past traditions for the Alumni Council’s Committee on Reunions (COR), he hoped to find a link to the deep history and customs of Princeton that he so admired.
Founded by the Class of 1894 around 1912, the Society of the Claw had a short but notable life. Members, who pledged to attend Reunions for one year, five years, or for their lifetimes, received a gold-mounted tiger’s claw (1,000 genuine tiger claws were imported from India) and certificate. Some high-profile honoraries (including Andrew Carnegie and Woodrow Wilson 1879) also were elected to the society for “rendering exceptional service to Princeton.”
Fast-forward to 2009 when the COR, to honor high-performing Reunions leaders and volunteers as well as other individuals who have contributed to Princeton in a significant way, revived the Society of the Claw. A society pin was designed (tiger claws no longer being cool) and a new membership certificate was created. During Reunions 2009 and 2010, 47 men and women — including all the members of the COR and President Tilghman — were inducted into the society.
On Reunions weekend the society will welcome its 2011 members at class dinners and other functions. Presidents of major-reunion classes from the 50th to 65th and the APGA helped the COR identify potential inductees.
Sorensen hopes the Society of the Claw will grow and someday have a Reunions event of its own.