During Homecoming and Family Weekend, Hobart and William Smith officially dedicated the Colleges’ newest athletics facility — a $3.5 million state-of-the-art, air-supported sports dome — in honor of Hobart soccer legend and one of the institution’s longest serving trustees, Thomas B. Poole ’61, P’91, L.H.D. ’06.
“There’s a phrase I’m sure everyone knows: it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it is not a child. It is a needed facility and community resource for the Colleges,” said Poole during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Thomas B. Poole ’61 and Family Sports Dome. “First and foremost, I want to thank my wife of 57 years and our family, 21 strong, that shared my conviction that this dome could be a difference maker for the Colleges I love. The structure has the Poole name on it, but in truth the village has made it possible.”
Poole and his wife Mary Jane Poole P’91 — whose leadership support kicked off the facility’s fundraising campaign — joined President Joyce P. Jacobsen, Chair of the Board of Trustees Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68, L.H.D. ’18, and many HWS alums and athletics staff members to celebrate the dome’s grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 28.
“The building not only enhances our athletes’ ability to compete at a higher level and to practice in a space protected from the elements, it also provides much needed facilities for all of our students for recreation and intramural sports,” Bozzuto said. “This Dome is literally a game changer for Hobart and William Smith Colleges. This shouldn’t be a surprise however. The family behind this project have long been game changers. For six decades Tommy and Mary Jane Poole have contributed extraordinary amounts of time and money — and more than anything else — love and dedication to the Colleges.”
“When I accepted this position in February, I did so in part because of the extraordinary community that is at the heart of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Today gives us all a very real sense of that community and of the unique character of the Colleges,” said Jacobsen. “By investing in the Colleges, you are saying to our students that they matter, that you support them, that you believe in them.”
William Smith Athletics Director Deb Steward began the ceremony by reflecting on the legacy of “a beloved member of the Statesmen community” and the namesake of William C. Stiles ’43 Field, which is sheltered by the Poole and Family Sports Dome.
A Hobart Hall of Famer, “Bill was the athletic director at Hobart for 15 years and he had a powerful impact on the Colleges and our nation,” Steward said. “Among his many accomplishments, he was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star for his service to his country.”
Terry Corcoran ’78 and Jerry Hanley ’75, who were mentored by Stiles, shared their memories of the late Statesmen athletic director.
After significant planning and months of construction, the dome opened its doors this spring. Originally two side-by-side, full-length natural grass practice fields, the new, nearly 86,000-square-foot FieldTurf surface is lined for all of the Colleges’ field teams, including field hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer. The patio of the Poole and Family Sports Dome, located just outside the facility, also pays homage to Stiles’ legacy of contributions to HWS sports. The dome is also available to HWS club and intramural sports as well as to other campus groups.
Additional funding was raised through an initiative to name the stadium at the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation after legendary Hobart Lacrosse Head Coach Dave Urick. Now known as Boswell Field at David J Urick Stadium, it is the home of the Colleges’ football and lacrosse teams.