The 10th class of the UR Sports and Recreation Hall of Fame was inducted exactly one month after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
Master of Ceremonies Jon Hunter, Class of 1972, who earned his bachelor?s, master?s and doctoral degrees at UR and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996, spoke about the importance of sports in the wake of tragedy.
?Sport is one of the many critical elements that enrich freedom in our culture,? Hunter said.
He listed some of the most important aspects of sport ? teamwork, leadership, loyalty, commitment and passion.
To find people who exhibit those qualities, you need look no further than the 17 newest members of UR?s Hall of Fame.
When you think of teamwork, you do not usually think of track and field. However, Atlas Evans, Class of 1971, was most proud of the 440-relay team that won the State title. John Cogar, Class of 1971, a member on that relay team and a 1996 Hall of Fame inductee, presented Evans with his plaque.
?It was an honor and a privilege to have not only been a teammate of Atlas, but also a fellow student and a friend,? Cogar said. ?My life was enriched here for having known him.?
What better form of leadership is there than an athlete becoming the coach of his team while still playing? That is exactly what Michael Cirrincione, Class of 1969, did during his senior year on the baseball team. ?It was a difficult transition at first,? Cirrincione said. ?The same guys I was partying with I had to give curfews and rules on the road.?
The best loyalty to a teammate is friendship, and friendship is what Carolyn Misch and Lesa Hojnicki-Sayer, both Class of 1989, gave each other. Hojnicki-Sayer and Misch were best friends when they ran together at UR, and they remain close friends 12 years later.
Pat Stark, the Director of the Hall of Fame, told a story about Dr. Sam Shatkin?s commitment to his football team.
Shatkin, Class of 1979 broke his nose on the first play of one game and Stark, who was the football coach at the time, thought for sure that he had lost his best player for the rest of the game. However, Shatkin?s father was in attendance, so he reset Sam?s nose and Sam got right back into the game.
It is hard to think of anybody who showed more passion for sports in this area than Louis Alexander Jr., Class of 1951, whose father was inducted into the first Hall of Fame class.
?My only regret tonight is that my father and my brother, Neil, could not be here,? Alexander said. ?The university has always held a special place in my heart.?
Alexander was not alone in praising the time spent at UR.
?My experience at Rochester I remember so fondly because of my experience with sports,? said Pamela Church, class of 1985, who played lacrosse and field hockey for four years.
Even those who had forgotten much of their time here were grateful for their athletic careers.
Thomas Gibbons, Class of 1956 told how his younger sister put all of the newspaper clippings from his college football career in a box, which he kept on a shelf in his house. When he was nominated this year ? 45 years after his last collegiate game ? he opened the box and relived his four years here.
To borrow the words of Athletic Director George VanderZwaag, Meliora Weekend provided ?good fellowship, good fun? and a chance ?to celebrate our rich tradition.?
It is a tradition that is well represented by the 17 men and women who were inducted into the Hall of Fame last Thursday.
Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com.