Larisa Vaynberg remains a permanent fixture in the Princeton area tennis community, having worked at the Princeton Tennis Program for almost twenty years and teaching countless of students. Larisa was a passionate teacher and player. In her youth, she was the #1 ranked junior tennis player in the Ukraine. In a tennis-loving community, it was nearly impossible not to hear her name.
Larisa was known by her students to be a tough and demanding teacher but one who was exceptionally caring, patient, honest, and fully committed to a player’s success. She pushed others forward so that they could become the best versions of themselves. At the same time, she was exceptionally modest. She rarely considered, and was unlikely to admit, the type of influence she held. Her impact on her students and the community cannot be overstated.
Larisa passed away in June 2013 from complications of pancreatic cancer. In 2014, she was posthumously named Teaching Professional of the Year by the Middle States section of the United States Tennis Association. Although she never needed recognition to motivate her, the award is fitting for a person who could have won the honor every single year, but flew under the radar in her typically understated style. She left an indelible mark in Princeton that we wish to perpetuate. Her friends and supporters decided to honor Larisa’s memory by establishing the “Larisa Vaynberg Memorial Scholarship Fund.”
Each year PTP awards a scholarship to at least one graduating high school senior who has committed to enrolling in college beginning in the fall of the award year. Applicants will be selected based on how well they represent the spirit of Larisa Vaynberg. We look for juniors who love tennis, work hard both in and out of school, show good sportsmanship and are goodwill ambassadors for the game. Each scholarship awarded will provide $1,500 to be put toward the awardee’s college tuition.