By Caitlin Carr ‘23
On Saturday, September 24, members of the Hobart and William Smith crew teams, alumni, friends, and family gathered along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal to dedicate the Colleges’ brand new, state-of-the-art rowing center, the Miltenberger and Bennett-Hooper Rowing Center.
Hobart Rowing Alumnus Randall Hooper ‘20, whose family was a crucial donor to the project, says both teams desperately needed an improved training center. “We needed the new boathouse because both of our teams compete at a high level. Our men’s team is a top 20 competitor in the country, which makes us the smallest liberal arts college to consistently race at the IRA’s (Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta).”
Hooper also speaks highly of the Herons, emphasizing the importance of unity. “When our teams were working together, that was when we were at our highest caliber. Building this boathouse reunites the team in line with the goals that Coach Bugenhagen has had since taking over the women’s team.”
More practically though, rowers have complained of having no consistent area to change clothes during practices, and the inconvenience of having to hold practices on campus, ten minutes away from the boathouse, where equipment may not always be available. The MBH Rowing Center has over fifty brand new rowing machines in a spacious room overlooking the canal, in addition to a kitchen area for meal preparation, a coach’s office and sitting area, men’s and women’s locker rooms, clothing warmers and wringers for wet unisuits.
Over 400 alums, parents, and friends of HWS Rowing contributed to the project. Hooper and the rest of the alumni are excited for what the new boathouse means for the future of both teams. “Having a home for a family like this is what can unite us to continue the historic legacy of HWS.”