Gus Blagden room celebrates 50 years of Good Guys

A look into the selection of a special lawn room

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Friends surprise Henry Crochiere upon learning he would be the occupant of the "Good Guy" Lawn room in the 2017-18 school year.

Gracie Kreth | Cavalier Daily

For the last 50 years, current fourth-year students have selected an upstanding rising fourth-year to live in West Lawn Room 15 — commonly called the “Good Guy” Lawn room after Class of 1963 alumnus Gus Blagden. 

Blagden was known as an all-around good guy when he attended the University from 1959 to 1963. He was a respected, hard working student both inside and out of the classroom, having been voted co-captain of the lacrosse team despite being described as a “mediocre athlete, at best” by former Athletics Director Gene Corrigan. Stories from his life reveal how thoughtful and kind he was.

Blagden and Fred Scott were first-year roommates and good friends during their time at the University. When Blagden passed away in 1966, Scott was devastated and wanted to do something to remember him. Two years later, the Scott family — of Scott Stadium — endowed the room in his honor. However, Blagden actually never lived on the lawn.   

“He didn’t have a lot of leadership roles on Grounds, wasn’t the best student, but he was the guy that everyone on the team, that everyone looked up to,” Conor Kelly, committee member and Class of 2017 alumnus, said. “He was just selflessly and naturally someone people gravitated towards, someone who would help people do the right thing.”

The selection process begins in February when a committee made up of approximately 10 people solicit nominations for the next Good Guy Room recipient through social media, posting flyers and reaching out to ListServs. The selection committee includes Dean of Students Allen Groves, the current Good Guy Room recipient, a representative from the IMPs, president of student athletes, resident staff co-chairs and representatives of the four Greek councils — the Inter-Fraternity Council, Inter Sorority Council, National Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council.

In 250 to 500 words, people are asked to explain how the person they nominate “selflessly commits their time to serving the University community; maintains good moral character; conducts themselves according to a high standard; displays genuine concern and care for fellow students; may be distinguished by academic merit (but not need be); may be in a recognized position of leadership (but not need be); and carries these fine qualities with the utmost humility,” according to a letter distributed by the selection committee. 

“Reading all 400 to 500 submissions was honestly heartwarming,” Lauren Truwit, Class of 2017 Curry alumna, chair of last year’s selection committee and 2016-17 Gus Blagden room resident said. “You would hear so many great things about what people were doing on Grounds but no one knows about so it was kind of cool.”

After reading all of the nominations over spring break, the committee returns to discuss their top picks — with each person selecting their top eight to 10 people. While some students received nominations numbering in double digits, Groves said the quality of the nominee is what matters. 

“One of the ones that sticks out in my mind was the person who offered a kidney to a complete stranger,” Groves said. 

The committee then narrows the final pool down to about 10 people. In teams, the committee members interview people who know the nominees well. 

“Interviewing people about their friends was also really fun because you get to see the passion of people’s friends — of this is why they’re so great and how they’ve cared for me,” Truwit said. 

The committee then reconvenes and after much conversation and deliberation, makes a selection and picks a creative way to surprise the recipient with the news. 

“That’s actually the coolest part,” Kelly said. 

Around late March, a committee member invited this year’s resident, Henry Crochiere, to get coffee on the Lawn where the whole committee then surprised him with the news  and celebrated in Lawn Room 15 with champagne and candles. 

“When we opened the door, there were about 30 people there, his friends and his family. At that point, he really started crying a bit,” Kelly said. “That was just incredible. It was a great way to cap off the entire process.”

Crochiere, a fourth-year College student, IFC president and co-chair of Pancakes for Parkinson’s, was completely clueless that he was going to be the recipient. 

“I really don’t know how I ended up here but I’m super thankful for it. I think I’m the luckiest person ever,” Crochiere said. 

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