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Sally Shaw Veitch Track and Field Opens for its First Season

With warmer weather approaching, Colby-Sawyer spring athletes are eager to take their practices outdoors for the first season on the Sally Shaw Veitch Track and Field. The new artificial turf field allows Colby-Sawyer teams, as well as area high school and youth sports teams, to practice earlier in the spring than ever before.

Colby-Sawyer students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustee members gathered last fall to dedicate the Sally Shaw Veitch Track and Field and to rechristen the Kelsey Athletic Fields as the Kelsey Athletic Campus.

Tom Csatari, chair of the Board of Trustees, thanked everyone who recognized the need for the athletic facility and supported that need with gifts of thoughtful input, financial resources and enthusiasm. The new field will be used by Colby-Sawyer soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams, but its foundation was laid with the 1999 gift of the Kelsey Athletic Fields, which included a baseball field, a soccer field and the original grass field replaced by turf. Pat Kelsey, trustee emerita, founding member of the Chargers Club, member of the Legends Society, former athlete and physical education teacher at Colby-Sawyer, and her late husband, Robert, were instrumental in the conception and completion of the 30 acres of fields and supported the turf field project.

“Though it took many inspired hearts to make today's dedication a reality, there is one name that has been, and after today will always be, associated with this tremendous new resource for our students,” said Chair Csatari. “Sally Shaw Veitch is a Legend not only in the Colby-Sawyer community but across the country and to all who know her generous spirit ... we are so appreciative of her support.”

Veitch is a member of the Board of Trustees, the Class of 1966 and the Legends Society. She is the general partner of Marca Associates, a privately held residential property management firm, and a member of the board of Vail Valley Medical Center Health Services as well as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo. Colby-Sawyer knows Veitch as a loyal and supportive alumna who has returned to campus for reunions and President's Alumni Advisory Council meetings. She has been a leadership donor to the Colby-Sawyer Fund for more than 20 years.

Time and again, Veitch has stepped up to meet the college's needs and to improve the campus and students' educational and athletic experiences. When Chargers pound down the court to sink a basket, they run across a field house floor made possible in large part by her 2007 gift. When students take a seat in a new state-of-the-art theater someday to watch friends perform on stage, it will be because Veitch was an early lead donor in the campaign for the arts center. And when our athletes are able to train and compete outside this spring earlier than ever before, they will have Veitch, especially, to thank. These are extraordinary, transformative gifts with profound benefits for our students.

Every project needs a champion, and this project's champion was former Director of Athletics Deb Field McGrath '68. McGrath has always supported her college, but her gift to help fund the construction of the turf field and track surpassed them all.

“This project has been the dream of so many alumni,” said McGrath. “It was a shared vision by alumni donors who made the dream take shape; the Advancement team and administration that committed to funding the project; and the input of coaches, current student-athletes and athletic department personnel who created a track and field for the future.”

The new facility will transform the daily experience of student-athletes and invigorate the athletic and academic programs at the college.

“For the first time ever, our track and field athletes will be able to practice all their events on campus on a daily basis. They no longer will have to be shuttled off campus to practice a few days each week,” said Lyndsay Bisaccio, coach of the cross country and track and field teams.

“Our spring teams will be able to get out and practice on an actual field and not be confined to the Hogan Sports Center where both time and space are limited,” said Co-Athletic Director and Women's Basketball Coach George Martin. “Baseball Coach Jim Broughton will be able to take infield practice out here. Our coaches will be able to bring recruits and watch their eyes widen as they envision themselves competing as a Charger at this facility.”

“It's not just our teams that are going to benefit from the Veitch Track and Field; so will our students, faculty and staff,” said Coach Martin. “Our club teams will be able to play and practice here; our intramural program will be able to offer new and exciting options as well. Anybody will be able to come down here to walk, stroll or run around this beautiful facility.”

Co-Athletic Director and Men's Basketball Coach Bill Foti pointed out that the facility supports student-athletes both on and off the field. “With a field that we can plow … we no longer have to travel off campus for a home game,” said Coach Foti. “Hopefully, someday we can have night games, which will eliminate class conflicts that our students may encounter. As much as this field supports our athletic mission, it also supports our academic mission.

“The new facility supports outstanding student-athletes like Rebecca Hashem of Webster, N.H., a second-year Nursing student. I can envision a scenario where Rebecca no longer has to rush back to campus from a clinical rotation at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center because practice can take place later in the day.”

A two-sport athlete, Hashem competes in the shot put, discus and hammer throw for track and field, while playing defense and midfield for field hockey. She has been on the Dean's List every semester, is an associate member of Alpha Chi, and holds a job on campus. She and her fellow athletes see the new facility as an opportunity to strive for greater success.

“All of us know that the building of this facility would not have been possible without the support of many generous people. We are aware of the time, energy and cost,” said Hashem at the dedication. “On behalf of my fellow athletes, I'd like to thank all of you who were able to make this a reality.”

The advantages of a turf field are many. “What we won't have to do is fertilize the grass or water the grass or cut the grass or worry about runoff from storms rushing those cuttings and chemicals into our waterways. Instead, the drainage under this field will release filtered rainwater over time, which will help prevent erosion and other damage to our home. This field is not just painted green, it is green,” said President Thomas C. Galligan Jr.

“Good, clean, functional, comfortable, safe spaces make life better. Beautiful spaces inspire. Our students need and deserve beautiful spaces,” said President Galligan. “Great and beautiful spaces like our LEED-certified Windy Hill School, the renovated Ware Student Center, this athletic facility and the proposed Fine and Performing Arts Center will help Colby-Sawyer become an even greater college, which will provide an even better education for our students. Go Chargers!”

-Michael Clark, Associate Director, Admissions