Paul E. Gunderson '65, of Leverett House and Enumclaw, Wash., captain of the superhuman heavyweight crew, has received the 1965 William J. Bingham Award, Harvard's highest athletic honor.
Gunderson, a three-year letterman and member of the four-oar crew from Harvard that represented the United States in the 1964 Olympics, is only the second oarsman to earn the Bingham Award since its inception in 1954. The other was Perry Boyden in 1959.
The Bingham Award is given annually to "that member of the graduating class who, because of his integrity, courage, leadership, and ability, has best served the high purposes of Harvard as exemplified by former athletic director William J. Bingham."
Gunderson was presented with the Award yesterday in a special ceremony at the Dillon Field House Lounge. His name will be inscribed on a plaque in Dillon along with those of other recipients of the Award.
Though he never rowed in high school, Gunderson, still won the stroke position in the freshman boat. He moved up to the varsity at the No. 6 seat the next year and has been rowing there ever since.
Gunderson weighed only 175 pounds as a freshman, but he has since burgeoned to 192 pounds spread out over a 6 foot 4 inch frame.
Varsity Coach Harry Parker, who was also Gunderson's freshman coach, said of him, "His effectiveness and deep love of the sport are so manifest that they are universally acknowledged by his own crew and all other oarsmen as well."
During Gunderson's tenure, the Harvard crew has terrorized the Eastern Seaboard. The 1964 eight compiled an undefeated season in intercollegiate competition, captured the Eastern Sprint title, and finished second behind the Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia in the Olympic eight-oar trials.
This year, the crew has again swept past all collegiate opposition with only Yale remaining on the schedule. They have set new records over the Charles and Princeton courses, and have once more won the Sprints. Gunderson's Harvard career will close when the eight travels to England this summer for the Henley Royal Regatta.