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Great times for good sports

Rob Grow ’88 (marketing), RIT’s baseball coach since 1990, has joined the Office of Alumni Relations as director of reunions and affinity groups. He’s working on a project that is especially dear to his heart: helping organize gatherings for RIT’s former athletes, as well as Greeks and other groups.

The annual baseball reunion is among RIT’s most well-established sports reunions. Among those who gathered last fall are, from left, Rick Vattimo ’89, Rob Grow ’88, Ralph Van Peursem ’58, and Lou Dickinson ’89.

“The Alumni Relations Office started designating class year reunions in 2001,” says Grow. “That provides extra incentive for members of particular classes to come back for Brick City/Reunion Weekend in October. Now we’re adding even more reasons to get alumni together.”

Baseball, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer have organized reunions on their own in the past. Baseball has been doing this for 12 years, says Grow.

“We have guys who have made all 12 and others that are coming for the first time,” he says. “It’s great for alumni who played together to see each other again, but it’s also wonderful to see those who have never met become instant friends because they have that common bond.”

Bill Garno ’88 (printing management), director of RIT’s Printing Applications Laboratory, has been the men’s soccer coach for seven seasons. Like Grow, he knows that reunions help continue a special bond with friends and with RIT. Last year, about 50 former players returned. As a coach and former player (’83 to ’86), Garno appreciates what that connection can mean.

“The soccer program is able to do a lot of things because of support from alums,” says Garno.

Athletic reunions provide alumni the opportunity to meet current student athletes and discover what’s different – and what remains the same. And everyone gets to throw on an RIT jersey and take the field for one more game.

You never know who will come to reunion. At last October’s women’s lacrosse reunion, Magic Johnson was a surprise guest. With the basketball legend are, from left, senior Amber Mescher, senior Sara Maneri, Coach Carly Peters and junior Kelly Martin.

“These reunions are just so much fun,” says Grow. “But they also provide the chance to come back to campus on a regular basis during one of the most dynamic periods of RIT’s history. Our alumni have come back to see a new student life center, new academic buildings, Java Wally’s, Crossroads, the new RITZ-ESPN Zone, and all the other changes on campus. In 2004 the new Gordon Field House is going up and will allow for even more possibilities for activities and entertainment during Reunion Weekend.

“RIT is not just for four or five years of your life,” he adds. “This is a lifelong relationship.”

The following athletic reunions are being planned. If you would like to help organize one or have questions, please contact Rob Grow at 585-475-2601, rcg1221@rit.edu, or visit the Web site at www.rit.edu/reunion.

• Sept. 13-14: baseball.

• Oct. 3-4: men’s soccer.

• Oct. 9-12: Reunion/ Brick City Festival Weekend, men’s and women’s crew, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s hockey.

• Date to be announced: women’s hockey.