Alumni Council, The

Alumni Council, The, traces its antecedents to the Committee of Fifty, organized in 1904 to raise funds for ``the immediate necessities and future development of the University.'' Chief among the immediate necessities was Woodrow Wilson's newly announced preceptorial system. Aspiring to a broader function, the Committee of Fifty transformed itself in 1909 into the Graduate Council, which after almost fifty years changed its name to Alumni Council. The council has provided leadership for alumni activity through the medium of standing committees on alumni associations, athletics, class affairs and reunions, communications, schools, and undergraduate activities. Among its most significant contributions have been the institution of advisory councils for the academic divisions of the University, the launching of Annual Giving, and the development of the Alumni College.

In 1920 the council brought all of the Princeton alumni organizations into a centralized Alumni Association, replacing the Alumni Association of Nassau Hall, which had been founded in 1826 ``to promote the interests of the College and the friendly intercourse of its graduates.'' The Alumni Association, of which every alumnus is ipso facto a member, meets twice a year, as does the Alumni Council, which is, in effect, the association's executive body.

The Alumni Council is composed of presidents of alumni classes and regional alumni associations, and also includes all former chairmen who are life members, and a group of appointed members. The total membership is about 280.

Chairmen of the Committee of Fifty, the Graduate Council, and the Alumni Council have been: Cleveland H. Dodge 1879, Parker D. Handy 1879, Charles Scribner 1875, Francis Speir 1877, Walter E. Hope 01, Francis G. Landon 1881, Ambrose G. Todd 1884, Walter L. Johnson 1897, Lawrence G. Payson '16, Chauncey Belknap '12, Robert M. Green 13, Harold H. Helm '20, Lewis N. Lukens 17, Richard K. Stevens '22, John C. Williams '25, George E. Clark '29, Chandler Cudlipp '19, Dorrance Sexton '33, Walker W. Stevenson '35, George C. Denniston '27, William P. Wright, Jr. '33, Grant Sanger '31, T. Henry Dixon '40, D. Bruce Merrifield '42, Mortimer H. Chute, Jr. '56, Frederick L. Redpath '39, George Faunce III '47, and Donald P. Dickson '49.

Secretaries have been: George W. Burleigh 1892, Harold G. Murray 1893, V. Lansing Collins 1892, Alexander Leitch '24, Thurston J. Davies '16, Donald W. Griffin '23, Joseph G. Bradshaw '40, Charles L. Taggart '51, David G. Rahr '60, Daniel N. White '65.

In 1961, after a quarter of a century as secretary of the council, Donald Griffin was appointed general secretary, serving until his retirement in 1964. William D. Lippincott '41, previously dean of students, was executive director from 1968 to 1972. David Rahr has been director since 1972.


From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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