Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ping Kiang ’70

So there was TigerBlog, minding his own business, trying to figure out what to write for today, and then out of nowhere he got an email from BrotherBlog.

And then, just like that, a topic appeared.

The gist of the email was that someone was offering someone else congratulations for new responsibilities at work. TB had to read it a few times before he realized that it's BrotherBlog who has the new gig.

Apparently, BrotherBlog is now the Executive Director of the Asian Law Center and the Center for Law, Science and Global Health at the University of Washington School of Law. Who knew?

TB certainly didn't. So he called his brother, who was walking across the UDub campus on what was a sunny, 59 degree day in the Pacific Northwest, which made it 30 degrees cooler there than here at the time.

Interestingly, the two brothers both work in college education, and yet they do such wildly different things. Even more interestingly, one went to college to be an engineer while the other went to college thinking about being a lawyer. Neither one followed the original plan.

Anyway, as BrotherBlog walked, he and TB had this actual conversation:

TB: Hi.
BB: Hi.
TB: What's new?
BB: Nothing. What's new with you?
TB: Nothing.
BB: Good.
TB: You have new responsibilities?
BB: Yes.
TB: For how long?
BB: A week and half.
TB: Mazel Tov.

The interesting part isn't BrotherBlog's new title, though TB is proud of him. No, it's the person who emailed BB - and the attachment to the email.

The person was Ping Kiang. Turns out that Ping is a member of the Princeton Class of 1970.

Beyond that, he was also a member of the tennis team, with a pretty good story to tell. He was the No. 18 player on the ladder as a freshman and then was the manager his sophomore and junior years, both of which were championship seasons for Princeton men's tennis. Then, as a senior, he earned a spot in the starting lineup.

The attachment to the email was a picture of a life pass that Ping was given at graduation. TB isn't exactly sure what the qualifications were for those life passes, but he remembers them from when he first started working here. Actually, he's pretty sure that Chuck Yrigoyen, who worked in the Office of Athletic Communications before TB, signed them.

There's one fairly subtle but fairly fascinating thing on the pass. It has "Mr." imprinted on it next to a blank space for the name of the person. That was the exact time, of course, that Princeton first admitted women, and women's athletics would begin within a year. TB surmised that the pass was from the last batch printed with "Mr." on them.

The one that Ping has has two signatures on the bottom. The pass is from the "Princeton University Council on Athletics," which is a term that TB hasn't seen used in his time here.

The title of the person who signed it on the right is "Chairman." TB can't make out the name.

The other signature is above where it says "Director of Athletics." TigerBlog recognizes that signature: R. Kenneth Fairman, who was the AD here from 1941-1972. In fact, he was the first of five people to have the title of Director of Athletics, followed by Royce Flippen, Bob Myslik, Gary Walters and now Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

According to Ping's email, he's used his pass once, at a men's basketball game against North Carolina. That was on Dec. 6, 1971, and Princeton defeated the top-ranked Tar Heels 89-73 at relatively new Jadwin Gym.

Ping's email to BrotherBlog mentions that he's attended many sporting events here through the years, in fact most recently just two weeks ago, when Princeton defeated Dartmouth 24-13 in men's lacrosse.

TB was doing stats at that game.

BrotherBlog of course mentioned his niece, who will be in the Class of 2022, and of course Ping was excited about that.
Hopefully next time Ping is around, he'll stop in and say hello. Lifetime pass or not, TB will find a way to get him a game.

Ping is a loyal alum. That much is obvious.

This is what Princeton breeds. No matter where you go or what you do, it's always with you.

TigerBlog has said this many times before. If you went to school here, you take it for granted. If you didn't (and if you haven't spent nearly 30 years on this campus), then you can't really understand it.

1 comment:

Tad La Fountain '72 said...

Ping (who was...and may still be...6'7") was also a dedicated rider of the pine for the basketball team; we didn't know way back then that it should have been Pingsanity.