Friday at 10 a.m., Provost Don Randel will be hoisted by crane to the top of McGraw Tower to cut loose the bright orange object at its peak.
Administrators have decided to end the pumpkin's reign, as a safety measure. There was considerable concern that, as the warmer weather arrives, the gourd would disintegrate and fall from the tower.
Randel's mission also is to retrieve a sample of the pumpkin for the competition he has sponsored for undergraduates.
The provost will be hoisted aloft in a crane bucket, accompanied by James Bucko, Cornell project manager for the masonry repairs to the tower. The pumpkin sections will be placed in a large cooler and brought down to the waiting hands of John Kingsbury and Henry Munger, professors emeritus of plant science. The two will then whisk the cooler away in a campus emergency vehicle to the plant science building for analysis. The analytical team will include Dominic Paolillo, chairman of the section of plant biology, Margaret K. Jahn, associate professor of plant breeding, and Anu Rangarajan, assistant professor of fruit and vegetable science. The team plans to keep the contents of the cooler under wraps until the winners of the competition are announced at a ceremony in early April.