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  Alumni / Advancement    
         
   

Gifts Grow the Fleet

By Elizabeth Walker

“God is smiling on Holy Cross crew,” Athletic Director Richard Regan, Jr. ’76 told the crowd of nearly 100 student and alumni rowers, and coaches, parents and other supporters gathered in April near the boathouse on Lake Quinsigamond to dedicate two new sleek, black racing shells. “This is the first time we’ve seen the sun all month,” Regan said, giving full credit for the sunny afternoon to the special guests, present in person or spirit, whose great generosity provided the two new boats, plus another on its way.

The team and their head coach, Patrick Diggins ’86, were smiling just as broadly back at the heavens. Their fortunes were looking even brighter than the day thanks to very generous gifts made recently to the Holy Cross crew program, including several that will provide endowed funds for purchasing and replacing shells when those boats can no longer race competitively. To provide replacement boats and funds for full-time coaches, Diggins and long-time coach Tom Sullivan ’70 put together a plan to provide such funding through endowed or other gifts to the program. The new plan, worked through with Regan and the Development Office, is already showing results, thanks to the great generosity of crew alumni, parents and other supporters of the program.

One of the new boats, recently dedicated, was purchased with funds from an endowed gift from Thomas and Gerri Henwood, parents of former Holy Cross champion rower Christine Henwood ’99. The Henwoods named their boat, the Emil and Eunice Henwood, in honor of Tom’s parents. Henwood, a crew coach himself, spoke of his “immense pride in Christine” and her accomplishments at Holy Cross. He also told the crowd that his late father, Emil, was a national champion rower, who competed both before and after World War II.

In fact, rowing to victory is a Henwood family tradition that includes championship individual and team performances by Tom and his brothers, Joe and Jim, who were present, and by Christine and her sister, Patricia, who also attended the ceremony. Tom Henwood took a moment to recognize the woman “beneath their oars,” his mother, whose name is emblazoned on the new shell.
“I would like to introduce my mother, Eunice, and recognize her for the great role she played supporting our efforts,” Henwood said. The two then “launched” the gleaming Emil and Eunice Henwood with a thorough dousing of champagne.

The second boat dedicated, the William L. Hennrikus Jr. ’78, was purchased with a gift from its namesake. Hennrikus, today a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in California, coached the men’s novice team after graduation. That year, he rowed with Tim O’Connell ’78 to a gold medal in the Canadian Henley. He was unable to make the trip for the dedication. These days, Hennrikus is investing his spare hours in another sport—his children’s soccer teams.

Diggins announced that a third boat has been purchased with endowed funds provided by a young alumnus rower who preferred to remain anonymous. That shell will be named the Dr. Bud in honor of former coach Francis P. “Bud” Ermilio ’81, a Worcester chiropractor, who also attended the ceremony.

“Thanks to that endowed gift, a Dr. Bud will always be on the water for Holy Cross,” Diggins said.

If all goes according to plan, the Holy Cross men and women’s crew team will be rowing to victory for seasons to come in boats as young, agile and fast as the athletes who power them.

 

 

Tom and Eunice Henwood

Tom and Eunice Henwood

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