Lifestyle of Affluent Americans

P-rades: Parades of Princeton Alumni

Thanks to Einstein, Princeton is an excellent physics place. Otherwise, Princeton is known as an exclusive gathering place for affluent Americans.

Princeton University has its own unique culture called "P-rade." Every year, the day before the graduation ceremony, there is a parade of Princeton alumni in colorful costumes. It takes about three hours to complete.

I took this photo of Adlai Stevenson in 1962. He came to the 50th reunion of his 1912 class. Stevenson ran against Dwight Eisenhower for presidency in 1952 and again in 1956. He had his own liberal ideology and was widely respected even by those who did not agree with him. He served the nation well as the ambassador to the United Nations for the Kennedy administration, and did a superb job in defending the U.S. position during the Cuban missile crisis.

Here is a photo of Robert Goheen (without necktie) leading the 1962 P-rade. Goheen was the president of the University at that time. He was an internationalist and used to say that Americans should wake up from their traditional isolationism and get ready to face problems of the world. He later served as an ambassador to India. Here is the Goheen page in the Princeton website.

In June of 1987, William Bowen, as the president, was leading the P-rade. In June of 1988, Harold Shapiro was the president. He had to lead the 1988 P-rade. In June of 2000, Harold Shapiro was still the president. He was reviewing the P-rade of 2000. He used to say that Americans should take care of their internal problems first to lead the world.

In December of 2000, I had an occasion to meet President Harold Shapiro and Mrs. Shapiro.
In 2004, I had an occasion to have a photo with President Shirley Tilghman. She became the president in 2001, and she is doing very well, and I hope I can say more about her in the future.
In June of 2007, Shirley Tilghman is leading the P-rade of 2007.


Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Princeton in 1961 after his retirement from the White House. The occasion was the dedication of the John Foster Dulles room in the Firestone Library. Dulles was a Princeton graduate, so was his younger brother Allan. John Foster was Eisenthower's secretary of states, and Allan was the first director of a branch of the U.S. government known as the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). Indeed, the Dulles brothers played the central role during the period in which the United States emerged as the dominant world power from an isolationist country. They deserve a separate webpage. Please click here for Dulles-related photos and stories.

Princeton University produced many conservative politicians. Donald Rumsfeld used to be very busy in recent years. James Baker was also a Princeton graduate. He was the secretary of treasury for Ronald Reagan (1981-89) and was the secretary of state during the first Bush administration (1989-93). George Schultz was Ronald Reagan's secretary of state. It is not difficult to find future secretaries of state on campus. I was able to find a future secretary of state studying very hard at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs during the winter semester break of 2002. She seems to have her own political view, and she is entitled to.

Among the Princeton PhDs, Syngman Rhee was a very conservative politician. He was Woodrow Wilson's student and received his degree in 1910. Rhee was the founding president of South Korea, and weathered the tragic Korean war (1950-53). He visited the United States in 1954 in order to thank Americans for helping his country during the Korean War (1950-53). The New York Times printed his photo with Harry Truman the day after he died in Hawaii in 1965. One of the lecture halls at the Woodrow Wilson School is named after him. This world needs more leaders like him, especially in the countries with developing democracy.

I can write a world history book while writing stories about the P-rades, but let me resist this temptation. Indeed, I have many photos of Princeton graduates who came back to "Nassau Hall" in New Jersey, and I hope to be able to put their images on my webpages when I have time.

Since I live near Washington, DC (about 200 km from Princeton), Princeton is a very convenient break-away place for me. I hope to be able to meet you there, especially on P-rade days. If you plan to come, let me know. Here is the banner of PUB (Princeton University Band).

The P-rade has a long history, but I am very happy to observe that the P-rade culture is quite consistent with the internet system. Marconi invented wireless communication in 1895, and David Sarnoff developed broadcasting system. The radio broadcasting did not become consistent with news-casting until the radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh covered the 1920 presidential election. Indeed, it was not possible to anticipate the internet technology before 2000 AD. Let us see how some of those old photos are consistent with the WWW culture.

Here are more P-rade photos.

This man was drafted to the army right after his graduation in 1943 and was sent to Europe. He had to drive a Sherman tank looking like this.
I have seen many crazy-looking cars on P-rades over the years, but I have not yet seen tanks. In 2000, I ran into a group of senior citizens belonging to the Class of 1943 (WWII period). I then asked whether anyone knows how to drive Sherman tanks. One of them said YES. He drove around one of those tanks in Germany in 1944. He was very happy to meet someone who can appreciate his special talent. I posed with him in this photo.

I indeed like to see Shermans on P-rades. We have at least one driver. We just need one of those in proper working condition. Sherman tanks look like this. This is the 1944 model stationed at the Aberdeen army proving ground in Maryland. There is another tank which deserves to be on P-rade. It is the T-34 tank developed by Soviets. Those tanks were used against Hitler's troops in Stalingrad. General Erwin Rommel of Germany praised them as the best tanks in the world. This still does not explain why they should be on the P-rade.

From the engineering point of view, the basic difference between cars and tanks is that tanks are heavy and need a different suspension system. The suspension system for the T-34 was invented by an American engineer from New Jersey. This is precisely the reason why those tanks should be invited to the P-rade. How the Soviets got his technology is a complicated story. These tanks are quite meaningful to me because those driven by North Korean troops were un-invited guests to my house in 1950. In July 0f 2000, I was in Kharkov (Ukraine) where those tanks were produced. It was indeed a pleasure for me to pose with an un-scratched T-34 tank. I met two Ukrainian soldiers there and invited them to be with me in the photo. They told me I need also a lady next to me in the photo, and invited to the scene one of the neat-looking ladies passing by. They seem to know how to serve their generals. They are good soldiers! Click here for more tank photos.

P-rade of 2000

Graduate School Centennial Year

The P-rade is largely a business of undergraduate alumni (they are very rich), and Princeton PhDs are somewhat indifferent toward this "childish" event. However, the year 2000 was different. The graduate alumni were invited to lead the parade, in recognition of the 100th anniversary year of the founding of the graduate school. I was a full participant of the re-union and P-rade.

Cleveland Tower refurbished. The rededication ceremony took place during the centennial reunion.

The Cleveland Tower stands tall among Princeton's Graduate College buildings. This tower was built during Woodraw Wilson's time, about 90 years ago. It went through a major repair and reconstruction in recent years, and was rededicated in May of the year 2000.

The Tower was named after Grover Cleveland who was the president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. He spent his retirement years at a sleepy town called Princeton, and dedicated the rest of his life in initiating a graduate program for the University. Princeton's graduate program started in 1901. You can see this tower while driving on the US-1 and while on the AMTRAK or NJT train. Likewise, you can have a dreamlike view of New Jersey from the top of the Cleveland Tower.

The P-rade is still largely a business of well-to-do undergraduate alumni, and the graduate alums are somewhat indifferent. Princeton University is working very hard to bring in Princeton PhDs to the main stage of alumni activities. The University administration made a major effort in 2000. It is a pleasure to acknowledge three key persons in the administration. Both the president and the graduate school dean are Princeton PhDs.


Not over yet. You heard about the Princeton Campus. Looking like a toy town?


copyright@2010 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.