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By the numbers

Alumni Day

Alumni Day, scheduled for Feb. 26 (see story in Nassau Notes), began 90 years ago this spring.

Alumni Day luncheon, 1946

This photograph from the cover of the March 8, 1946, Princeton Alumni Weekly shows that year’s Alumni Day luncheon held in Baker Rink on Washington’s birthday. The caption reads: “Alumni, parents and friends of the University to the number of 700 were well and expeditiously served.”

• The event was first observed on Lincoln’s birthday in 1915. It was organized to give alumni a glimpse of campus daily life when the University was in session. About a hundred alumni joined in what the Alumni Weekly called “an intellectual pilgrimage to their Alma Mater,” highlighted by a meeting of the Alumni Association in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall.

• The following year, Alumni Day took place on Washington’s birthday, the traditional date until 1955, when it began to be observed on the Saturday nearest Feb. 22. Gradually, attendance outgrew the Faculty Room, and since the late 1930s, Alumni Association meetings have taken place at formal luncheons (held successively in the old University Gymnasium, Baker Rink, Dillon and Jadwin gymnasiums), preceded by faculty panel discussions and lectures, and followed, since 1970, by the annual Service of Remembrance.

• This year, more than 1,200 are expected to attend Alumni Day.

Source: “A Princeton Companion” by Alexander Leitch