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In 1925, a Crimson squash player by the name of W. Palmer Dixon accomplished one of the most phenomonal feats in the history of Harvard athletics. Playing one individual and one team match both morning and afternoon for several days, he won the National Individual Championship and led Harvard to the National Team Championship.
This achievement involved defeating three or four of the top players in the country and playing against teams from Canada, the West Coast, New York, Phila-delphia, and other powerful aggregations. After graduating, he repeated his victory in the individual tournament of 1926, to establish himself as one of Harvard's greatest players.
Thirty years later, Dixon's influence on squash in the University is still strong. In 1951, he heard that Coach Jack Barnaby had an unusually strong team which he wanted to take to the Nationals. Dixon got in touch with a few other graduates, and raised sufficient funds to send the players. His support was well rewarded when the varsity, led by Charlie Ufford, won the team title.
Squash Fund Established
Dixon was determined to see that the sudden need for expenses should never arise again, and consequently, in 1951 gave $5000 for the establishment of the W. Palmer Dixon Squash Fund. Income from the Fund totals over 250 dollars per year, and at the present time serves as a broad financial base for an organization known as The Friends of Harvard Squash and Tennis.
This group is made up of Harvard graduates who played squash or tennis while undergraduates. Each year Barnaby mails out newsletters to all these men, giving information about the teams and players and asking if they would care to contribute to the support of these squads. A man may earmark his gift for either squash or tennis and also specify whether or not the money is for immediate use or to be used to augment a permanent, interest-gathering squash or tennis fund.
The Palmer Dixon Squash Fund put the permanent squash fund on a firm footing, and in 1956, seeing the need for a similar gift to aid tennis, Dixon established the W. Palmer Dixon Tennis Fund.
Funds Enable Travel
These two funds, in conjunction with the Friends of Harvard Squash and Tennis, enable the squash team to travel to the Nationals each year and permit the tennis team to make its annual spring tour to play southern colleges. It may also be used for special events, such as the Oxford-Cambridge vs. Yale-Harvard tennis meet, which is held in England every four years, or for individual needs which may arise from time to time.
The Harvard Department of Athletics, which generally restricts its budget to meet strictly league expenses, cannot provide funds for such undertakings.
The Fund, administered by prominent graduates and members of the Athletic Department, is gradually being built up by donations, and it is Barnaby's hope that there will eventually be enough money in the permanent fund so that the teams can function on the interest alone.
If this financial Utopia is ever attained, Harvard will have, in large part, the spirit and generosity of W. Palmer Dixon to thank for it.
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