Hiram Hunn Awards

Six alumni will receive this year’s Hiram S. Hunn Memorial Schools and Scholarships Awards, presented by the Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Hunn ’21 recruited and interviewed prospective students for more than 55 years in Iowa and Vermont; this year’s winners, who are recognized for their work on schools and scholarships committees worldwide, have collectively performed more than 192 years of service. They are to receive their awards at an October 17 ceremony.

Elinor Bernstein Balka ’62, of Forest Hills, New York. Balka first interviewed for Radcliffe College in Washington, D.C., in the late 1960s, then carried her experience to New York City. She also promotes the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative in high schools that have had few, if any, applicants to the College over the years.

Jonathan Baskin ’61, of San Marino, California. Having served the admissions office as an interviewer in Southern California for nearly three decades, Baskin is a current cochair of his local schools and scholarships committee, through which he helps oversee more than 700 alumni interviewers in the Los Angeles area. He still takes great pleasure in the “exuberance and joy of admitted applicants as they describe their reaction to getting the big news.”

Deborah Gelin ’79, M.B.A. ’83, of Washington, D.C. Gelin began interviewing applicants in New York City shortly after finishing business school; since 1989, she has continued that service in the Washington area. Her nephews and niece are current Harvard undergraduates and, she notes, “future interviewers, whether they know it or not.”

Philip S. 'Flip' Koch ’78, of Bellaire, Texas. Koch “learned the ropes” through his early interviewing experiences in Los Angeles, and even recruited international candidates while working for a year in Malaysia. Since 1995 he has served Harvard in the Houston area, which has seen a rapid rise in applicants; he is a current committee cochair. Koch, who is also co-secretary of his class, says he expresses affection for Harvard by giving what he values the most: his time.

Stanley E. Niebruegge ’50, of Franconia, New Hampshire. For nearly four decades, Niebruegge has encouraged and interviewed applicants, and in recent years has focused on those from the St. Paul’s School, in Concord. He marvels at the quality of the students who apply, and trusts that Harvard will continue to attract “these hopefuls with their infinite variety.”

Elsie Wilson Thompson ’72, of Charlottesville, Virginia. Three decades ago, Thompson was mentored in schools committee work while living in the Houston area; since 1984, she has shared her wisdom with interviewers in her current hometown. Because Texas and Virginia both have excellent state-university systems, Thompson has enjoyed the challenge of wooing talented students for this private college in “chilly New England.”

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