How the Board Originated

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1972 The Alumni organization was a loose group of grads, held together by a newsletter published 3-4 times per year with the sole purpose of getting together for an alumni match. in 1972 the first alumni match was held. It was a huge success and the group decided to do it annually. For the next 10 + years the alumni kept in touch via a regularly published Newsletter (database keeper and editor was Harry Laws 69).

1982 We began to feel a strong drive to support the team by making an effort to get a clubhouse. That effort fell flat, as we were without any clout on campus, a situation that would hinder us for a long time....

1982 status.jpg
1982 Status 1.jpg

Dr. Laws was stationed at the Academy in 1984, the same year the AOG was moving their data into a new database, and they agreed to accept his collected data and create a data field going forward that would keep track of participation in intercollegiate rugby. We began to be more official in 1985 when we organized as an Affinity Group within the Association of Graduates.

We began to initiate fund raising via the AOG and through that vehicle provided thousands of dollars of support to both men’s and women’s teams. We had several funds: LaTorra (an Endowment put in place by the LaTorra family in remembrance of their son, which is still in existence), a Men’s Fund and a Women’s Fund.

In 2004 Col Mike Cartney put pen to paper and codified much of our structure into formal policies and procedures as an affinity group under the AOG. In 2005 we created a board structure that aligned with those guidelines and had our first board meeting that year. In about 2008, our fund raising efforts were thwarted a bit due to a rift within the AOG regarding fund raising. In 2010, this rift was sorted out and working with Jimmie Martello, an ex-rugger (00) at the Endowment, we set up a Rugby Excellence Fund. The Endowment required a minimum of $25,000 in pledges to start this fund, so our board recommended each board member be required to gift to the best of his ability, and the target was met.

After the year (2011) was deemed successful, the Endowment allowed us to set up two additional funds without the need for a minimum starting amount. The board was thinking to set up an operational fund for both teams (men’s and women’s) and use the Excellence Fund to support long term strategic activities. We had another successful campaign year, with over $100,000 in pledges and cash raised in the two years.

In 2012 the sequestration hit the teams hard, and only through the generosity of our donors were the men’s team able to sustain the experience. (due to some misunderstandings, the men’s team were the only ones to tap into the Excellence Fund for these operational needs). The idea behind the Excellence Fund was to use those monies for projects that would benefit BOTH clubs (like a lighted field, common storage space, competition field used by both, etc... ) But given the rules at the Endowment, however, it just did not work; the Endowment has a rule that says if the funds are available, and they are requested, they will be dispensed, without regard for why or who asks. Realizing the Excellence Fund would not meet the intended long term intents of the board, in 2013 the fund raising efforts would be directed to only the Men’s and Women’s funds, leaving the Excellence Fund to drain down to nothing.

Also in 2013, Rob Dam, ’93, challenged his reunion class to come up with $25,000 in cash/pledges to start an endowment at the Endowment that would spin off funds for men’s team operations. He was successful, and has issued a challenge to each reunion year team to meet or beat the $25,000 challenge. Once the cycle of reunions has completed, we should have more than $1.0 million in an endowment at the Endowment to help sustain the annual needs of the team. In 2014 through the generosity of the women graduates, we created a mirror Perpetual Fund for the women, with the same goal in mind.

The two endowments at the Endowment were renamed "The Vern Frnacis perpetual Fund for Men's Rugby" and "The Alan Osur perpetual Fund for Women's Rugby" in honor of the two most successful coaches in our history. Take these links for the history of Alan Osur [1] and Vern Francis [2]

In 2015 we rewrote our 2015 Rugby Affinity Group Charter that clearly outlined our strategy and focus.

Late in 2018, the board began a 5 year, $10.5 million campaign to build up an endowment that would fully fund both teams in hopes that self funding would make the teams more acceptable to the Athletic Department and make them a true intercollegiate sport.

We maintain an alumni website where we attempt to preserve our robust history, as well as the accomplishments of our graduates through a Hall of Fame (created in 2015):