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A Festive Opening for Floren Varsity House

At the Nov. 16 dedication of the Floren Varsity House, Doug Floren '63 had a chance to sit back and soak it all in. He listened to the speeches, watched a video about the Dartmouth athletic experience, and marveled at the standing-room-only crowd of student-athletes who came by Alumni Gym to celebrate the official opening of the facility that he and his family helped make possible with their $10 million gift.

Susan DeBevoise Wright and President James Wright with Doug Floren '63 and Livvy Floren
Top, from left: Susan DeBevoise Wright and President James Wright with Doug Floren '63 and Livvy Floren at the Nov. 16 dedication of the Floren Varsity House. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

"It was so impressive to see so many of them there," said Floren, a former tennis captain. Speaking at a gathering at the dinner that followed, Floren explained, "Our hope is that this beautiful new facility will not only help with the training, teaching, and preparing of Dartmouth athletes, but will also make the College the perfect choice for gifted students who happen to be top athletes. In today's competitive recruiting world, Dartmouth now offers a great choice: the best academics, the best coaching, the best campus, and the best athletic facilities."

The Floren Varsity House boasts a 10,000-square-foot varsity strength-training center, a "smart" classroom with 130 tiered seats, meeting rooms, a study lounge, a football locker room, equipment and training rooms, and offices for football, baseball, women's lacrosse, and softball. President James Wright—who has overseen a remarkable commitment of more than $80 million in athletic facility improvements over the past decade—said, "This is a moment we have eagerly anticipated, and it is worthy of our loudest cheers! It's not often that you get to quote Emily Dickinson at an athletics dedication. But I am reminded of her line, 'I dwell in possibility' ... We do indeed. And our students extend possibility. The College is deeply grateful," the President continued, "for the wonderful gift and for the critically important leadership of the Floren family, the generosity of key supporters, and the contributions of scores of loyal Dartmouth graduates."

The varsity house
The varsity house, as seen from Memorial Field. (photo by Mark Washburn)

He recognized several individuals and families who were instrumental in making the Floren Varsity House a reality through their support: Trustee Brad Evans '64 and his wife, Barbara; Barbara and William Connolly '84, Tuck '88, Polly Bowden and Murry Bowden '71, who was captain of the 1970 Dartmouth football team and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame; Andrea and Christopher Jenny '77; John Engelman '68; Kerry and William Holekamp '70; and the late William C. Mercer '40. "All of these donors and their support affirm and substantially advance the Dartmouth story," said Wright.

After the dedication ceremony guests got a chance to share in the wonder of the building, taking in the bright and airy football locker room and baseball offices overlooking Red Rolfe Field, and visiting Crouthamel Study Lounge with its enormous windows overlooking Memorial Field with a glimpse of Baker Tower.

Athletes at work
Athletes at work in the new weight room. (photo by Mark Washburn)

"Dartmouth," said President Wright, as the group prepared to tour the new facility, "is an extraordinary community of learning. As you walk through the new Floren Varsity House, remember the deep friendships formed, the learning gained, the joyful wins, the honing of competitive spirit against any and all odds. We have great athletes, and our supporters have given them a facility that befits them. Like all great athletes, our students want to do more and to do better. Floren Varsity House will help them do just that."

By BRUCE WOOD

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Last Updated: 5/30/08