Q&A with Norman “Norm” Carter, Princeton University Class of 1938

Norm Carter at the 2018 Reunions Weekend, being driven by Hamza Chaudhry ’19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Laurie Pellichero

A favorite highlight of Reunions Weekend each year is the P-rade, a parade of Princeton University alumni dressed in their class uniforms, from conservative to outrageous. It is led by a grand marshal and other dignitaries, followed closely by the Old Guard, those in classes beyond their 65th reunion. This year, the same as just about every year since he was a boy, Norm Carter is eagerly anticipating the P-rade and all the Reunions Weekend activities, including a Saturday reception and Old Guard Luncheon with President Christopher L. Eisgruber. At 102 ½, he is one of the oldest members of the Old Guard, and says he feels so fortunate to return each year. I asked Mr. Carter a few questions about his long history with the University.

Bill Coors and Norm Carter at the 2008 P-rade. (Photo by Beverly Schaefer)

Tell me a little about yourself. How did you come to attend Princeton University?

I come from a long line of family who attended Princeton University. My father graduated in 1901, and I attended the reunions with him when I was a boy. We lived in Plainfield, and I came in the rumble seat. I’ve always loved coming to Princeton. My older brother Howard Carter Jr. was in the Class of 1933. I went to prep school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and then graduated in the Princeton University Class of 1938 with a degree in politics. After graduation, I married and worked as a lumber broker, which became my career. I traveled all over the U.S.

What are some favorite memories of your time as a student?

When I was at Phillips Exeter, I roomed with Bill Coors of the Coors Brewing Company. I convinced Bill, whose family members had traditionally attended Cornell, to attend Princeton with me. I don’t think his family ever forgave me! We were roommates for four years in 1901 Hall in a suite of rooms with a huge fireplace. We also became lifelong friends. There are four people remaining in the Class of 1938, and two of the four were roommates, myself and John Hardy. Bill was the fifth, but he passed away last September at 102. I was also a member of the Cap and Gown Club. We loved going to the Tap Room at the Nassau Inn. Everything was so great during my time at Princeton.

How have you seen Princeton change over the years?

There are lots of new buildings. I get lost on campus because it is so different!

What do you like best about Reunions Weekend?

I absolutely like seeing old friends that I don’t get to see during the year. It is such a happy time with a great atmosphere. I attend with my son, Tom Carter, who graduated in the Class of 1966. He now lives in Virginia. My other son, Norman Jr., also attended Princeton. We are very proud of our Princeton tradition.

Where do you live now? What do you enjoy doing?

I am twice widowed. I spend a lot of time in Vero Beach, Fla., but come back every year to stay with my dear friend Angela Sinatra in Point Pleasant before Reunions. I like to read the New York Times every day, play Scrabble, and read history books, especially World War II. I am a WW II veteran — I was a lieutenant senior class in the Navy and served on a supply ship in the North Atlantic.

What advice would you give to today’s students?

Just go with the flow and get the most out of the experience. Princeton is such a wonderful place. I was so fortunate to go there and am so fortunate to go back each year.

This year’s Reunions Weekend is May 30 through June 2.