Biographical / Historical
The Alumni Association currently consists of over 15,000 living alumni from 70 Lawrenceville classes. Every student who attended The Lawrenceville School for two or more terms is considered a member of the Association. In addition, several classes have elected honorary classmates, and they too are part of the Association. The Association is defined by a constitution and by-laws and provides valuable counsel and assistance to Lawrenceville leadership.
The Alumni Association has always played an important role for Lawrenceville. There are reports of alumni gatherings throughout the 19th century and, at the School’s Semicentennial in 1860, the Association organized the first celebration in the School’s history. According to reports at the time, “a large company dined together and Mr. John C. Green ’16 conversed freely and humorously about his schoolboy days. The Hon. Edward W. Scudder ’37, of the Supreme Court of the State, presided.” Others reported to have been present: Henry W. Green ’14, Chancellor of New Jersey; Charles S. Ogden ’14, Governor of New Jersey and Dr. Samuel D. Gross ’25, whose clinic was depicted in the 1875 painting by American artist Thomas Eakins.
One of the strongest supporters of the Alumni Association was Head Master McPherson. By the late 19th century he noticed a “gap” between those Lawrentians who attended Lawrenceville before its “refounding” in 1883 and those who were part of the “new” School built with the gift from John C. Green ’16. To reconnect the “old boys” with the new emerging Lawrenceville, he held a banquet on campus in February, 1901 followed by an event in New York hosted by General Horace Porter ’54 and a “get-together” in Philadelphia. These gatherings served to bridge the gap between old and new generations.
Prior to 1902, the Alumni Association of Lawrenceville held annual meetings on campus, smokers in New York and elected its officers at noon on Commencement Day. That same year alumni decided to create a “live and interesting affair” by creating Alumni Day and making it a rallying day for old friends. In 1903 a committee was appointed to draw up a constitution for the Association. Charles Bertram Newton ’89 and First Vice President A. P. W. Kinnan ’73 soon had the Alumni Association functioning at a high level and planning for Lawrenceville’s Centennial in 1910. The Association raised money to build a new Alumni Track and helped preserve the School’s history by creating a permanent list of School presidents, debate winners and also built an athletic trophy room in the Gymnasium.
In 1911, the Alumni Association secured legislation permitting the election of members of the Board of Trustees who were not from New
Jersey, and Samuel S. Stryker ’60 from Philadelphia was elected by alumni to serve on the Board of Trustees.
That year at Alumni Day, the Alumni Association dedicated Society Hall (now Kinnan House). Funds for the Hall had been raised by Alexander Kinnan ’73, and the dedication address was delivered by General Alfred A. Woodhull ’53. Waldron P. Belknap ’91 was elected president of the Alumni Association and he widened its activities to include dinners in Minneapolis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York and smokers at Princeton and Yale. Additionally, The Lawrenceville Club of Princeton gave an informal smoker for the masters, the Fifth Form, the “L” men, the House presidents and Upper. The Alumni Association also held a special dinner in the Upper Room in the Gymnasium to honor Assistant Head Master Charles Henry Raymond and Mathematics Master William James George for their 25 years’ service to the School.
Today’s Alumni Association is managed by an executive committee that includes three officers and nine members who meet three times each School year. They also oversee 70 Lawrenceville alumni classes, 26 regional clubs, four affinity groups, four alumni trustees and routinely hold over 100 events in the United States and overseas; as well as manage three major awards ceremonies and a three-day Alumni Weekend in May.