As the new inductees and award winners gathered together in the Dodge Ballroom, pleasantries were exchanged and stories rehashed of their days on campus. The latest crop of Springfield College alumni to take their rightful place in the college’s history books were all smiles as they soaked up every minute of the Athletic Hall of Fame and Awards Dinner held on Oct. 13 as part of Homecoming Weekend.
For many of the award winners and inductees, their nominations came as a surprise.
“I was stunned. I never thought about what I was doing,” Robert W. Hamill, graduate of 1964 and winner of one of the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, said. “This is an incredible honor. It’s very exciting to come back.”
Robert J. Lasorsa (’82) was just as surprised when he received the notification from the Office of Alumni Relations.
“I was in an airport getting ready to board a plane, [and] I see a 413 area code come up, and I thought, ‘Oh, it must be somebody calling to ask for some money,’ and it was the Alumni office,” Lasorsa said.
The dinner and corresponding ceremony were hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, which plays an important role in the process of the distribution of the honors. The four alumni awards – the Young Alumnus/Alumna Award, Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, Tarbell Medallion and the Athletic Hall of Fame induction – fall under the direction of the Alumni Council, which according to Director of Alumni Relations, Tamie Kidess Lucey, is the premier volunteer organization of the Alumni Association. The Alumni Relations staff serve as facilitators for the processes involved with the awards and induction honors.
This year, there were four award winners and six Hall of Fame inductees. They may have ranged in graduation years and occupations, but one factor was common across the board: they all achieved a level of excellence.
The program, emceed by Dean of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Charles Redmond (’68, G’71), kicked off with an opening prayer by Fellowship of Christian Athletes senior Julie Zapata and then quickly progressed to the awards presentations. Jaime L. Domaingue (’02, G’06) started off the acceptance speeches after being awarded the Young Alumnus/Alumna Award.
“To be honest with you, I had heard about the award before, but I would have never even thought about it,” Domaingue said in an interview. “It was hard to believe, one that I was 10 years out, and then two, that they were honoring me.”
The Young Alumnus/Alumna Award is “presented to a graduate in the Tenth Reunion class in recognition of professional excellence and outstanding service to the College, community, state and/or nation,” according to information included in the program packet.
Domaingue currently works at Boston College in the Athletics Department for fundraising.
“I’ve stayed pretty connected to the [SC] Athletic Administration program for graduate school, and we’ve been fortunate to be able to have a lot of Springfield College students come in and work as interns within the athletic department.”
Domaingue has opened her doors to SC students because of the impact that the college has had on her career. By maintaining her connection to SC, she is giving back to the school that helped get her started.
“It did so much for me. I got to study under people like Coach [Joel] Dearing, Dr. Craig Poisson, Dr. Cathie Schweitzer, and what they did for me, I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the Springfield College connection,” Domaingue said. “I recognize the fact that some doors have been opened because of Springfield College, so if I can help do that for someone else, I’m more than happy to.”
Theodore F. Patlovich (’50) and Hamill were then presented the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, which recognizes “professional excellence and outstanding service to community, state and/or nation.”
Patlovich joined the Loctite Corporation in 1956 as the company’s first salesman and went on to become the longest-tenured employee with 34 years of service. He rose to president of the Pacific Group and International groups, corporate senior vice president and eventually vice chairman until his retirement in 1991.
Hamill is currently the chair of neurology for the University of Vermont Medical Center, where he has been teaching and training future neuroscientists and neurologists for 20 years. He came to SC as a Physical Education major, but after two years, he switched into the Biology major. He attributed his time in the PE major as the spark that got him interested in biology and his career in neurology.
“The way Springfield taught Physical Education was it aligned the science of physical education with the practical. So it wasn’t just learning to swim or learning how to be an instructor in swimming, it was learning how the body decided how your arms went in the water on a crawl stroke,” Hamill said. “It was those connections between the actual performance of athletics and how the body did it, coordinated it [and] made it happen [that] got [me] more interested in how it all worked, and that’s essentially what led me eventually to change my major.”
J. Mitchell Finnegan (’82) rounded out the award winners. He received the Tarbell Medallion, which is “given annually to an alumnus or alumna out of school at least twenty years who has demonstrated outstanding service to his or her alma mater.”
Finnegan is a member of the David Allen Reed Society, Eastern Massachusetts Alumni Association Executive Committee, served on the Leadership Training Conference Reunion Committee and served nine years on the SC Alumni Council, to name a few of his involvements over the years.
After some remarks by President Richard B. Flynn, the program shifted to the athletic portion of the night, where six inductees where enshrined in the SC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Greg Wright (’72, G’74) represented the deceased William K. Anttila (’42). Anttila was a renowned water polo coach who, in 38 years at the University of Pacific and San Joaquin Delta College, won 759 matches with a .691 winning percentage. He never experienced a losing season.
Robert M. Ford (’59, D.P.E ’70), the longtime head football coach at the University of Albany, gave his induction speech next. Ford has been coaching for 43 years, and is still going strong with 247 career victories entering this season. That number ranks him first among active NCAA Division I Football Championship subdivision head coaches.
Lasorsa continued the trend of coaches being inducted this year. He earned All-American status in the shot put and held the SC shot put record for around 15 years during his time on campus, but it was his coaching career in which he had the most impact.
Lasorsa is the founder and president of the National Throws Coaches Association [sic] and served as the U.S. Track and Field men’s shot put coordinator from 1998 until 2008, a decade during which they had a good amount of success. Similar to many of his fellow inductees, Lasorsa attributes his career to his alma mater.
“Every position that I’ve received had some type of Springfield connection,” Lasorsa said. “Whether it was my first job or jobs after that or things that I do now, it was always a Springfield connection.”
Paul M. Daly (’82) was an assist-dishing machine during his time at SC. He holds several SC records, including a career mark of 6.0 assists per game, and in 1981, he handed out 242 assists (8.3 per game). Daly averaged 167 assists per year, which has yet to be even approached by another SC player.
Angela H. Schofield Ayres (’93, G’97) is considered by many to be the best player in SC women soccer’s history. After visiting the college as a prospective student, she knew it was the right fit for her.
“I just loved it. Loved the feel. Felt like it was home. It was where I was going. In fact, my parents couldn’t get me to apply anywhere else,” Schofield Ayres said. “I just think the tradition, the philosophy, how people care about people, the leadership piece, the community service piece, it was just all me.”
Schofield Ayres is the leading scorer in SC women soccer’s history with 51 goals, 25 assists and 127 points. She was a three-time NCAA Division II First Team Collegiate All-American and led her team to a 17-3 record and Northeast-10 championship.
Last but not least, Lindsay A. Moore (’03) rounded out the Hall of Fame inductees. Moore was named the 2002 NCAA Division II Women’s Diver of the Year after winning the national title in 1-meter diving. She was an eight-time All-American and four-time NCAA Division III national runner-up.
Throughout their acceptance speeches, each award winner and inductee kept coming back to the impact that SC had on them. Although they were the ones being recognized by their alma mater, the recipients expressed their gratitude to the college that they called home.
“The impact is immeasurable,” Lasorsa said. “There’s no way we’d be doing the things we’ve been doing the last number of years if it wasn’t for the people at Springfield.”