Andrea Madsen Gilmore ’70 has presented the Archives with her White Blazer. It is a gift of special significance, not only because it fills a gap in our collection, but because Ms. Gilmore carefully cherished and preserved it for the 42 years since her graduation. More formally known as the Sarah B. Whitaker Award, the White Blazer honors the co-founder and co-principal (served 1924-1962) of Northampton School for Girls. It is one of the two most prestigious prizes awarded to Seniors at Commencement.
The citation for the White Blazer specifies that it “is given to the young woman who has distinguished herself with the greatest contribution to the academic, athletic, and community life of the school while exhibiting exemplary leadership and integrity.” The origins of the prize go back to the 1920s, when the outstanding Northampton School senior was awarded a White Sweater. Then, as today, it was awarded by vote of the faculty. In the ‘thirties the sweater was replaced by a blazer because, as Miss Whitaker noted in her memoir, “styles change.” The prize was renamed in her honor following her retirement. (Also shown is 2011 Whitaker Award winner Sarah Fay, receiving her White Blazer from Head of School Robert Hill III at last year’s Commencement.)
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