Looking Back on Alumni Weekend 2019

A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of alumni from the classes of the 4s and 9s who returned to campus for another wonderful Alumni Weekend, with alumni and their guests enjoying a round of parties, campus tours, faculty presentations, sporting events and special programs.

The festivities began on Thursday with the Fifth Form Dinner in Abbott Dining Hall, and dinners for the 60th Reunion Class of 1959 at the Hyatt Regency, the 55th Reunion Class of 1964 and the 50th Reunion Class of 1969 at the Nassau Club, the 45th Reunion Class of 1974 at Acacia in Lawrenceville, and the 40th Reunion Class of 1979 at Bell’s Tavern in Lambertville, N.J. The momentum built on Friday, when the John Cleve Green Society convened for a fabulous lunch; Science Master Shinae Park, History and Economics Master Regan Kerney H’49 ’95 ’98 ’03 ’11, and English Master Pier Kooistra P’19 invited alumni “Back to Class”; alumni and their guests delighted in campus tours and athletic events; the Classes of 1944, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969 held special dinners; and, of course, hundreds attended the Red & Black Soiree.

Saturday morning kicked off with a presentation on “Lawrenceville Today” by Head Master Steve Murray H’54 ‘55 ’65 ’16 P’16 ’21. Following the Service of Remembrance in Edith Memorial Chapel, the Alumni Induction Ceremony, led by Alumni Association President Ian S. Rice ’95, welcomed the Class of 2019 into the ranks of Big Red alumni. Rice also announced the new Alumni Selectors, James Laurance “Rocky” Barber, Jr. ’69 P’08 and Nina Mackenzie Kumar ’02, and Alumni Trustee, Jennifer Staikos ’91, and recognized the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus, Ralph C. Smith ’59.

After congratulating the Alumni Association and major reunion committees on a successful effort, Head Master Murray called attention to the many celebrations in recent years at Lawrenceville, highlighting the Bicentennial in 2010. He encouraged visiting alumni to “sit at a Harkness table, visit your House and watch our athletic teams.” He also cited recent construction projects, most notably the refurbished Bath House Café and the F. M. Kirby Math and Science Center, as well as the newly renovated Abbott Dining Hall and Bowl. He noted that efforts to improve the campus facilities continue, and that by the next time these alumni return for a major reunion, the Gruss Center for Art and Design will have undergone a major expansion to accommodate a creative design and maker space and construction on a new athletic and dining complex also should be well underway.

“I know you will be impressed by today’s students, what we’ve accomplished with your support, and by the spirit that resonates across this campus,” he said.

The Class of 2019 then officially joined the Alumni Association with the pinning of a symbolic rosette, followed by lunch with other alumni classes.

Thirteen classes named 26 honorary classmates during the weekend:

  • The Class of 1949 welcomed Piper Burrows H’49;
  • The Class of 1954 honored Stephen S. Murray H’54 ’55 ’65 ’16 P’16 ’21, Mrs. Marshall H. “Ginnie” Chambers H’54 ’58 ’59 ’60 ’61 ’62 ’66 ’73 ’80 ’89 P’77 and Zorela Jimenez H’48 ’49 ’54;
  • The Class of 1959 recognized W. Drennan Geer ’52 H’59 and Wesley R. Brooks ’71 H’59 ’09 P’03 ’05;
  • The Class of 1969 welcomed Benjamin F. Briggs H’61 ’63 ’69 and Mrs. Thomas A. “Ellen” DeGray H’69;
  • The Class of 1974 honored Alvin M. Philpet, Jr. H’13 ’74 ’75 ’77 ’78;
  • The Class of 1979 recognized Max A. Maxwell H’74 ’79 ’80 ’81 ’91;
  • The Class of 1989 welcomed Benjamin C. Atlee ’62 H’74 ’75 ’79 ’83 ’84 ’87 ’89 ’06 and Dr. Catherine Boczkowski H’80 ’89 ’92 ’93 ’11 P’89 ’91;
  • The Class of 1994 honored Herman Besselink H’88 ’94, Scott Albert H’92 ’94 and Christopher B. Maxey H’94 ’95 P’07 ’09 ’13 ’14;
  • The Class of 1999 recognized J. Regan Kerney H’49 ’95 ’98 ’99 ’03 ’11, Timothy C. Doyle ’69 H’79 ’99 ’09 P’99, J. Allen Fitzpatrick ’73 H’85 ’89 ’99 P’99 ’04 and Sally Fitzpatrick H’73 ’85 ’99 P’99 ’04;
  • The Class of 2004 welcomed Samuel G. Washington, Jr. ’81 H’04 P’14 ’17;
  • The Class of 2009 honored Timothy C. Doyle ’69 H’79 ’99 ’09 P’99;
  • The class of 2014 recognized John P. Sauerman H’84 ’14, Pieter B. Kooistra H’14 P’20 and Dana T. Kooistra H’14 P’20;
  • The Class of 2019 inducted John B. Gaffney H’19 and Jason J. Larson H’03 ’19.
The Alumni Association and Head Master Murray also honored the 2019 Masters Awards recipients: History and Religion Master Robert C. Ainspac H’76 P’77 ’85 (posthumously), English Master Joel Greenberg H’77 ’13 P’93 and Mathematics and Science Master Colonel David E. Schorr H’88 ’97 ’02 P’80 ’82 ’88 GP’97 ’09 ’12 ’17. The Masters Awards are presented to select retired masters for distinguished long-term service and exceptional classroom teaching at Lawrenceville.

Other Saturday highlights included Cleve House Coffee with Ginnie Chambers and Linda Hlavacek Silver H’57 ’58 ’59 ’61 ’62 ’63 ’64 GP’06 ’08; the annual Service of Remembrance, memorializing alumni who passed away during the preceding year; the Alumni Picnic; the alumni lacrosse game; a discussion on “How to Live to 100” with Dr. Gary Friday ’69 P’10 ’16 ’18 and talk on poetry by Herbert Kuhner ’54; simulcasts of the Kentucky Derby; receptions for both alumni and current students held by the Lawrenceville Black Alumni Association (LBAA) and Alliance of Black Cultures, Female Equity Matters at Lawrenceville (FEMALe), and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning alumni (LGBTQ); a Back to Class event on the trees of Lawrenceville’s campus with Science Master John Clark P’20 ’22; and major reunion dinners for the 4s and 9s, spanning classes from 1944 through 2019.

Alumni Weekend concluded on Sunday with a Farewell Breakfast for the Classes of 1964 and 1969 in the Chauncey Center, and a lavish Farewell Brunch for all alumni and their families in Abbott Dining Hall.

The Alumni Weekend programming continues to improve each year. Once again, we fall back on the old cliché, “A good time was had by all,” because we can’t think of a better way to put it.

Many thanks to all the Lawrentians who made this another exceptional Alumni Weekend. See you next year!

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Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.