November 12, 2018
Penn Champions Club Announces FY18 Fundraising Awards
The Penn Champions Club has announced the winners of two fundraising awards for fiscal year 2018. The awards were handed out at the Fall Athletics Board of Overseers’ Meeting held over Homecoming Weekend on November 9, 2018.
The Sports Board of the Year, awarded annually to the Sports Board that exhibits outstanding dedication, leadership, and commitment towards the success of their sport, was presented to the Grapplers Club, Penn’s Wrestling Sports Board.
The H. Hunter Lott, Jr. Award, awarded in recognition of continued service, dedication, and support of the University of Pennsylvania and its Athletic Department, was awarded to Michael B. Aronson, W’78, a member of the Penn Basketball Sports Board.
Sports Board of the Year – The Grapplers Club
The Grapplers Club is comprised of 22 alumni and friends of the Penn Wrestling program lead by Board Chairs Brett Matter, W’00 and Steve Brody, C’89 who accepted the award on behalf of the Penn Wrestling’s Grapplers Club.
When Roger Reina returned to the helm of the program in the summer of 2017, the board mobilized to ensure he would have the support needed to reestablish Penn Wrestling as a national powerhouse. The Wrestling annual fund goal for fiscal year 2018 increased to $500,000 (up from $290,000 the year prior), and the Grapplers Club rose to the challenge by raising over $600,000, more than doubling previous annual fund totals for the program and seeing a 26% alumni participation rate in support of the Grapplers Fund.
Additionally, this board continues to lead the effort for non-annual fund initiatives, including raising funds for a locker room and wrestling room renovation project in 2017, sustaining a head coaching endowment, leading mentorship efforts of Penn Athletics teams through Grapplenet, and holding events in conjunction with competitions in Palo Alto, Cleveland, Long Island, New York City, and Chicago.
As Penn Wrestling looks to establish itself as a national power under Head Coach Roger Reina, the Grapplers Club will continue to provide the necessary support, framework, and passion to get the program to that next level.
H. Hunter Lott, Jr. Award – Michael B. Aronson, W’78 (Basketball)
Michael Aronson was instrumental in helping Penn Athletics raise the necessary funds to rebrand the Tse Center Atrium, connecting The Palestra corridor with Hutchinson Gym, as “The Class of 1978 & Class of 1979 Atrium,” honoring the highly decorated 1978 and 1979 men’s basketball teams.
In addition to making his own generous commitment to Penn Basketball in support of the Atrium Project, Mr. Aronson dedicated much of his time and resources to helping the basketball program make The Class of ’78 and ’79 Atrium a reality. In all, thirteen families contributed to support the project, and Mr. Aronson’s efforts to mobilize the basketball community from this era were instrumental in achieving these successes.
The dedication for The Class of 1978 & Class of 1979 Atrium took place on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 where Penn Men’s Basketball honored the 40th Anniversary of the 1978 Ivy League Championship and Sweet Sixteen team. For this 2018-19 season, a similar reception will take place in the Atrium on Saturday, January 12, 2019 as Penn Men’s Basketball welcomes back the 1979 Ivy League Championship and Final Four team for their 40th Anniversary.