partyer Benn Jesser ’36 *41 with longtime organizer
and honorary ’36er Betty Constable w’36. Top,
the Tiger whale logo. (Courtesy Andy Cowherd ’74)
ALUMNI CONNECTIONS—PAANI Boys (and girls, men
and women) of summer
Can alumni keep their Princeton connections strong through a club
that’s composed mainly of summer vacationers and hosts only
one event a year? If that club is the Princeton Alumni Association
of Nantucket Island, then the answer is “yes.”
On Aug. 11, PAANI held its annual gathering at Sankaty Head Beach
Club, and then members bade each other farewell until next summer.
“We are like Brigadoon,” explains PAANI president Andy
Cowherd ’74. “We come together for one evening in the
summer and then vanish into the mist.”
The idea of gathering Princeton alumni on Nantucket is credited
to the late Jack Bitner ’38 and the late Bill Hewson ’33.
In the summer of 1970, the first PAANI clambake was held at Ward
Reighley ’41’s beach house — known locally as
the “Reighley shack” – in Cisco. Hewson, who worked
for the University’s development office, and a few others
ferreted out Princetonians from the Nantucket phone book and yacht
club directory. With additional word-of-mouth advertising, about
80 people attended.
Three incoming Princeton students were among the 105 Nantucket
residents and vacationers at this year’s gathering, which
has evolved from a simple clambake to a dinner with a raw bar, wine
bar, and live music. Reunion attire — always appropriate for
the summer gathering — now blends with clothing featuring
PAANI’s distinctive Tiger whale logo.
In 1988, PAANI began raising scholarship funds; in 1990 a schools
committee was established; and PAANI has sponsored three summer
interns through Princeton Project ’55. Recent gatherings have
featured speakers from the University (Kirk Unruh ’70, recording
secretary in the development office, was the latest).
Even with a mailing list of 300 names, PAANI still tries to attract
Princetonians to the event “any way we can,” Cowherd
says. He’s already drumming up business for the 37th Annual
Summer Gathering next August. Watch for the date.