Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Obama’s press secretary, said in an e-mail that the first lady’s scheduling office has sent a formal letter of regret to the University explaining that Obama will not be able to attend. Margaret Miller ’80, assistant vice president for alumni affairs, said she received the letter, which she referred to as a “private correspondence.”
Regina Lee, co-president of the Class of 1985, said she had not heard from the first lady’s office but was not surprised by the outcome.
“My general feeling was that while I and my fellow 85er classmates were hopeful that she might attend, we also knew that her schedule has many challenging demands and she might be unable to join us,” she explained in an e-mail. “We are of course disappointed that she will not attend our 25th reunion, as the 25th has traditionally been seen as ‘the’ special time for classmates to reconvene on campus, and our hope is that she nonetheless will connect and reconnect with old and new friends among her classmates and the University in the years to come.”
Lee noted that if Obama were to come for her reunion, special arrangements would have been made.
“The class officers and our classmate volunteers working on the reunion certainly would have worked with the first lady’s staff to make arrangements as might be called for to accommodate the first lady’s attendance at our 25th reunion,” she added. “Please realize, though, that any such arrangements could not be made solely by the Class of 1985, as it is the University that ultimately is hosting Reunions.”
Adam Inselbuch ’85, Lee’s fellow co-president, referred an inquiry to Obama’s staff and declined to comment further.
Though recognizing the logistical difficulty of arrangements, some students and alumni have also expressed hope that Obama would return.
In December 2009, Molly Alarcon, a columnist for The Daily Princetonian, wrote an open letter to the first lady, inviting her to speak at Class Day.
“Just as your ascension to the White House has given our country cause to think about race in America, your comments as the Class of 2010’s Class Day speaker on May 31, 2010, could encourage our campus to look inward at our racial problems,” Alarcon wrote. “While racial dynamics here have improved since your time, we still have much work to do. It’s one thing if I write a column about racial issues on campus and quite another if you come tell us what we need to hear.”
Alarcon declined to comment on the news that Obama would not be at Reunions.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2010/04/27/26011/