CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard Athletics has announced the 22nd endowment of a head coaching position: The Sheila Kelly Palandjian Head Coach for Harvard Women's Tennis.
Made possible through the generosity of Peter Palandjian '87 MBA '93, the position is named in honor of his mother and in recognition of his 30th College reunion. The endowment will enable Harvard to continue to compete at a high level both within the Ivy League and nationally.
"This is a tremendous day for Harvard Athletics, and I am delighted that Peter has provided the leadership to endow this position," said Bob Scalise, the John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics. Peter's long standing commitment to Harvard, our athletic program and Harvard Tennis will enable us to continue to pursue excellence while staying true to the ideals of Harvard and the Ivy League."
Palandjian was a two-time captain and four-year letterwinner for the Crimson, earning first team All-Ivy honors in 1987 in both singles and doubles. He also won the ITA Northeast Regional Indoor Championships doubles title, along with teammate Arkie Engle. Harvard captured two Ivy League titles while Palandjian was a student-athlete.
Competing professionally following his Harvard career, Palandjian earned six ATP Tour Challenger titles in doubles, and played main draw at each of the four Grand Slam events while earning a world ranking of 175 in doubles and 280 in singles. He is currently the chief executive officer of the Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation.
"I owe everything to my parents and my schooling. My parents made education possible, and throughout they encouraged competitive sports from a young age," said Palandjian. "They supported my decision to turn professional and really go after tennis once I graduated from Harvard."
"It is important for me also to acknowledge how fortunate I have been to have had great mentors: Dave Fish, Joe O'Donnell, Tom Stemberg and Jack Reardon. They have been there for me at formative and critical stages in my life," continued Palandjian. "No one has been there for me more than my mom. She read every book, every poem, and every play with my brothers and me, and she encouraged our studies as the highest priority. More than any of this, she modeled kindness and generosity for us. Both my mom and Harvard have given me more than I could ever hope to give back to them. It is the greatest honor for me to be able to endow this position in her name.
The Harvard women's tennis program has won 19 Ivy League championships, the most recent coming this past weekend. Earlier this season, head coach Traci Green became the second head coach in program history to reach 100 career victories.
"The endowment is wonderful news not only for Harvard women's tennis, but also for Harvard Athletics," said head coach Traci Green. "Peter is one of Harvard's great benefactors, as well as a truly outstanding former Harvard tennis player. He is dedicated to making the experiences of our student-athletes second to none, and this amazing gift emphasizes his commitment to Harvard's mission. I am honored to become the Sheila Kelly Palandjian Head Coach for Harvard Women's Tennis."
The Sheila Kelly Palandjian Head Coach for Harvard Women's Tennis is the fifth women's head coaching position to be endowed.