Plimpton Named Class Day Speaker
New Selection Process Used
George A. Plimpton '48, writer and editor, has been selected to deliver the Class Day address in June, members of the Class Day Committee confirmed yesterday.
Plimpton is best known for his exploits on the football field and in the boxing ring as a "professional amateur." From these experiences Plimpton wrote commentaries about the role of sports in American society.
Plimpton chronicled his stint as a quarterback in the Baltimore Colts-Detroit Lions exhibition game in 1963 in "Paper Lion."
This study of football training camps and locker rooms sparked Plimpton to write about the life of a professional baseball player in "Out of My League" and the trials of a professional golfer in "The Bogey Man."
The process that culminated in Plimpton's selection differed from past years, Felicia Marcus '77. Radcliffe First Marshal and a member of the committee said last night.
Previously, the Class Day Committee provided the senior class with a list of ten or so candidates. "This process would allow a minority to prevail over the wishes of a wider range of students who might prefer a certain type of speaker rather than a particular individual. The committee's objective was to come up with a speaker that the class would enjoy most rather than trying to get a big name." Marcus said.
This year each House representative canvassed the seniors for candidates in addition to presenting a list of suggested names and delivered the preferences to the committee. The committee then made a consensus list and selected the candidates according to their broad appeal.
Closer to Wishes
"This process provided a list that was closer to the wishes of most students." Marcus said. "There was a trend towards a speaker noted for levity and unusual experiences," Marcus said. Plimpton, besides being very popular within the class, has a familiarity with Harvard that will enable him to speak in a more personal manner to the class than someone unfamiliar with the College, she added.
Plimpton could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Plimpton's selection by the Class Day committee prompted Peter A. Anton '77 to say that "it will not be a very scintillating presentation because Plimpton's humour is aimed at the mobile middle class and is more suitable for a talk show."