Thursday, May 21, 2015

Banquet Forecast

TigerBlog likes to say that the average temperature of the annual senior awards banquet is 70, since it seems like it's either 90 or 50.

He hadn't looked at the 10-day forecast for Princeton until just now, and he chuckled when he saw that the forecast for the banquet one week from today is for a high of 93. For the record, TigerBlog will take the under on that one and is predicting a pleasant, comfortable evening.

This year's banquet - the 18th such event - will be unlike any of the others in many respects.

For starters, it has a new official name: The Gary Walters ’67 Princeton Varsity Club Awards Banquet.

To TigerBlog, this is fitting. As someone who has been around for all 17 banquets to date, TB knows better than anyone that this event was Gary's from the start. His fingerprints have been all over it since Day 1.

It was his idea. He saw its growth. He was always the voice on the night of banquet.

Gary engineered its evolution from its small beginnings in Jadwin Gym to what it is now, a wonderful night of celebration of Princeton Athletics and the graduating seniors, with a crowd well over 500, in a pristine setting at the Grad College.

So that's one way this year's banquet will be different.

The other is that Gary is no longer the Ford Family Director of Athletics. His replacement, Mollie Marcoux, will be presiding - is that the right word? - over her first banquet.

Mollie herself is a former von Kiensbusch Award winner, after her career in soccer and hockey here. She was the lone winner in 1991.

She is, in fact, the second Princeton AD to have won one of the two major departmental awards. Royce Flippen shared the Roper Trophy in 1956.

There will be some subtle changes instituted by Mollie this year, such as only having one senior give a keynote address as opposed to two in years past.

Oh, and there will be one major one. A major, major one.

In the past, the Roper and von Kiensbusch winners were announced at the banquet. There could be one winner. There have been as many as seven.

This year, there will be a radical change.

The Department of Athletics will be announcing the finalists for the two major awards today. At the banquet, there will be one winner of each announced.

It's sort of like the Academy Awards, right? Everyone will know the nominees. Nobody will know the winner.

There will be four women and five men who will be finalists. At the banquet there will be a video feature with highlights and the accomplishments of each, and then the winner be named.

There will be other awards given.

The Class of 1916 Cup to the letterwinner with the highest GPA. The Art Lane Citizen Athlete Award, given to an undergraduate (or more than one) for outstanding contribution to sport and society.

And then there are the Bressler and Citizen Athlete Awards.

By the way, all of these awards, other than the Roper, von Kienbusch and Class of 1916, were Gary's brainchild.

There's a long description of the Bressler Award on the Princeton Varsity Club website. Basically it goes to a member of the University community who has done a great deal for the athletes.

This year's winner is Tara Christie Kinsey, the outgoing Associate Dean of the College. Trust TigerBlog. This is a very deserving winner.

Then there's the Citizen Athlete Award. This one goes to an alum for outstanding contribution to sport and society.

And this year's winner? Dallas Cowboys' head coach Jason Garrett. 

TigerBlog has the same feeling at each PVC banquet. Another year come and gone already? He's sure he'll feel the same way when he gets to the Grad College one week from tonight.

On a perfect late spring evening, right?

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