This prize will be awarded for the best essay or research paper written by a student in any of the courses offered by the Jewish Studies Program during the academic year. The prize may also be awarded for a submission on a Jewish Studies theme that may have been written for a course other than one offered by the Jewish Studies Program. The selection of the prize winner and the amount of the award will be determined by the faculty associated with the program. If there are no qualified student papers in any year, the faculty may decide not to award the prize.
The deadline is the May 1st. Spring term papers will be eligible for the following academic year.
History of Gary H. Plotnick
Gary Plotnick came to Dartmouth following his graduation from the Horace Mann School in New York. A history major, Gary was an accomplished student-athlete. He initially pursued a pre-med academic interest, but later decided that business was a greater calling. At Dartmouth Gary showed his athletic skills leading his fraternity, Pi Lambda Phi, to intramural championships in football and softball, a precursor to athletic talents he later developed in golf and tennis.
Following graduation, Gary enlisted in the Naval Reserve, flying missions for the anti-submarine service. He entered his family's shoe-manufacturing business and led its growth to a highly successful international company with factories in Italy, Brazil and the Far East. He was asked to give advice to Congressional committees on international trade and the US balance of payments challenges.
Gary carried his Dartmouth experience with him for the rest of his life. He continued his love of learning with a voracious appetite for a wide variety of information, including history, Judaism, current events and the wonders of the English language. Friends and family often received his hand-written notes or clippings with his commentaries in the margins and his impatient demands that they had to read and understand the articles. If people ever used a word improperly, they would be corrected or, worse, sent to a dictionary or a book on English Usage to figure it out independently.
Jewish tradition and the State of Israel, where he had spent time as a teenager, were of primary interest to Gary. He led the effort to raise funds to build a YM-YWHA in Bergen County, NJ, insisting that it adhere to Sabbath, Holiday and dietary laws. He also ensured that it contain a library to develop the mind as well as a gym to develop the body. Many other Jewish causes in Israel and locally also benefited from Gary's philanthropy.
Gary was also the perennial Social Chairman. He was the "go to" guy for organizing mini-reunions, road trips or any festive occasion. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave because he would not want to miss a minute of a good time.
When he passed away at the age of 57, Gary had been married to the former Margaret(Peggy) Harris, a gifted artist and decorator, for 32 years. His spirit was shining as their daughter Jennifer and Gregg were married, and it continues to shine on his grandchildren, his namesake Garrett and Nina.
Funds for the Gary H. Plotnick '62 Memorial Prize in Jewish Studies were donated by Gary's family and his friends to perpetuate his commitment to Jewish education and humanitarian causes through talented Dartmouth students.