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Germany, Sotomayor receive 1976 Pyne Prize

By Adam Gilinsky

Feb. 28, 1976

J. David Germany and Sonia M. Sotomayor are the joint winners of this year's M. Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest honor the university confers on an undergraduate.

The prize, given to the senior or seniors who have "manifested in outstanding fashion...excellent scholarship and effective support of the best interests of Princeton University," carries with it an award equal to a year's tuition, $3,900 this year, which will be shared by the two recipients.

The Pyne Prize is not the first recognition of Germany's scholarship-he has won both the Freshman First Year Honor Prize for the highest grades during freshman year and the Class of 1939 Princeton Scholar Prize for the highest academic standing prior to senior year.

Two years ago, after winning the freshman award, Germany said, "There's a choke factor on every final exam, and I'm really due for a big one. But I'm going to enjoy this as lon as I can." Today, his transcript shows 21 A+s and 9 A's.

Teaching assistant

An economics major, Germany has been employed as a teaching assistant in upper-level economics courses. He has also served as editor-in-chief of the Nassau Herald, co-direct of Campus Fund Drive and transportation coordinator for the Student Volunteers Council.

Sotomayor, a history major, has maintained almost straight A's for the last two years, but is especially known for her extracurricular activities.

Her dedication to the life of minority students at Princeton has been illustrated by her service on the Governance Board of the Third World Center and in her efforts to form the Latino Students Organization.

She also has worked as a volunteer at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital and has served on the student-faculty Discipline Committee.

Former winners of the prize, awarded since 1921, have included former Princeton president Robert F. Goheen '40, Nixon adviser H. Chapman Rose '28 and House Judiciary Committee member Paul S. Sarbanes '54 (D-Md.)

Secret membership

The recipient of the honor is chosen by the president, the dean of the college, and the secretary of the university from a list of recommendations prepared by a committee chaired by the dean of student affairs, and consisting two faculty members and three juniors. Last year the members were announced, but this year the group decided to keep its membership secret.

Commenting on the selection process, 1974 prize-winner Thomas A. Barron said, "It's always been a source of puzzlement to me how I won. Things I had no idea I'd said or done were brought to my attention. To my chagrin, my freshman preceptors were asked about my participation in class."

President Bown said the selection process is a detailed one, involving interviews with department chairmen, faculty and students who have had contact with nominees.

"We try our best to find people who excel," he said. There are no set criteria for the prize, Bown added, saying, "There are many ways to contribute-sometimes not through any organized method."

Community service

Nominees for the prize this year numbered "20 to 30," according to Dean of Student Affairs Adele S. Simmons. She said nominations had not only come from the selection committee, but also from responses to advertisements placed in The Daily Princetonian in January.

 

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