Pandemic pushes Prize Day online

Publication Date

On the morning of Wednesday, May 18, 1932, members of the campus community filed into Memorial Chapel to celebrate Union’s first Prize Day. Complementing the annual Block U Dinner for athletic achievement, the new event honored 20 seniors for their intellectual accomplishments.

For nearly 90 years, the ceremony took place in Memorial Chapel, whether it was part of Parents Weekend starting in 1964 or until it moved to Steinmetz Symposium weekend in 1990.

The disruptions caused by COVID-19 means this year’s ceremony must shift online. On Saturday, May 9, at 11 a.m., the campus community will gather virtually to watch as 116 prizes honor students for achievement in academics, research, service and governance.

Among the top awards given are the Josephine Daggett Prize to the senior for conduct and character and the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.

The ceremony will stream live via a Zoom webinar. It is open to all.

Presenters include President David R. Harris; Strom Thacker, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; and Simon Bohn ’20, president of Student Forum.

The event also features musical performances by the Union College Chorale and the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir.

Steinmetz Symposium, now marking its 30th year, will also feature presentations online beginning May 22.